Daniel - Integrity in Tough Times
Individual lessons & Bible Study Guide
Daniel was faithful to God despite his difficult circumstances! While living in Babylon he not only prophesied concerning times that are yet to come, he also showed us how to live a life faithful to God even in an unreceptive and often intolerant culture. In this lesson we look at Daniel's arrival in Babylon in chapter 1 of his book.
No matter what Daniel faced, he seemed to meet it with a quiet assurance that God was in control and could be trusted. God involves Himself in the affairs of the world. He is not distant or uncaring. He governs among the nations and yet is quick to hear the least of us when we call upon Him in faith.
Daniel's three friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah became known by the Babylonian names of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. When commanded to worship the golden image Nebuchadnezzar had set up they refused to obey. They knew the risks, but they believed it was more important to obey God's Word than the command of a mere man. Irrespective of the eventual cost, they were willing to stand for the Lord.
About 35 years had passed since the golden image on the plain of Dura and by now Daniel had genuine concern for this man that he had served for so long. When Nebuchadnezzar had a second troubling dream Daniel was asked to interpret it. Knowing the message would not be an easy one for the King to hear, Daniel was greatly concerned but he knew that to honor God he must speak the truth in love no matter how difficult!
God's word to arrogant king Belshazzar was immediately fulfilled under rather remarkable circumstances! The city of Babylon's defenses were thought to be impenetrable but when God acts who can reverse it? Judgment fell on the king that every night! God is on His throne and His promises shall be fulfilled irrespective of what the world believes - this should give us great confidence in facing the times in which we live! Daniel maintained his courage and his integrity through all the changes in his lifetime. He shows us that faithfulness to God is possible; and that we, too, can remain true to God regardless of the situations we face.
God did not spare Daniel from the lions' den and He may also call us to a place in life that we would far rather not go! But no matter what we face, no matter what may lie ahead, we need to remember that we are in the Lord’s care! He will work out His purposes in our lives just as He did in Daniel's! Daniel looked to the Lord in times of difficulty, and we should too for He is able to make us prosper even in the most unlikely circumstances, if only we will keep our eyes fixed on Him!
Daniel remained useful to the Lord well into his 80's, in fact the Lord only gave him his first vision in his mid-sixties! Daniel’s vision of the four beasts warned Israel that there would be a procession of enemies and world rulers holding authority over them; however, they should not lose heart. And nor should we! In the end, as it has been from the beginning, God is in control. Jesus will come to defeat the kingdoms of this world and He will establish His throne forever!
Daniel's second vision was just as detailed as his first. When we studied the truth of Scripture compared to historical fact, we realized that much Daniel's vision has already been fulfilled with incredible accuracy. However, a part of the prophecy will only be fulfilled at "the time of the end" when Christ returns to earth. Though we may not fully understand all that God is doing in the nations of our world right now, we do know that He is most certainly working according to His detailed plan that has been in place for millennia! The end of which results in the victory of God and His people!
Daniel's third vision came as he was interceding for his people. Known as the Prophecy of Seventy Weeks or Seventy Sevens, this complex and amazingly detailed prophecy forms a type of clock for the nation of Israel and her future. One thing is certain: God is working to His schedule. He knows the end from the beginning! Christ is coming and who knows, we may yet be here to see all this fulfilled!
Daniel's forth vision detailed great conflict that lay ahead for his people the Jews, but his vision also revealed the reality of a far greater war, a war in the spiritual realm that influences what happens on earth! Scripture makes it plain that Satan does have influence over the earthly kingdoms of men and there is a hierarchy of demonic overlords that influence the politics of various regions. It is important that we understand that as those who belong to the Lord, we do have a part to play in this battle as Paul clearly states in Ephesians-13.
Over the course of history, battles have raged and God's people have often been caught up in the middle of the chaos. However, the truth remains: "the people who know their God" will stand firm until the end!
In the midst of the inexplicable, perhaps the most important words we can hold to from Danielare: “Blessed is the one who waits”. We are to wait on the Lord for Him to reveal the prophecy’s full meaning at the proper time. The angel told Daniel twice to “go his way” … to continue to live his life with what he had been shown and to leave what he didn’t understand with God and Daniel did exactly that! Perhaps that should be our final take-away from this amazing book too!