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Daniel was “uncompromising” and had a “made up mind” that he would not be defiled! Are you as resolute as Daniel in your commitment to the things of God?
Daniel asked the commander of the officials for his assistance in helping him not to defile himself toward the things of God. Reluctantly, the commander agreed to implement his plan at the risk of losing his own life, if things did not go as Daniel hoped. God granted Daniel, both favor and compassion with the commander of the officials. Daniel’s “made up mind” not to be defiled by the ungodly culture, provide him blessings and promotion.
Life has an uncanny way of catching up with us and producing hardships and difficulties that challenge our firm resolves! Following Daniel and his friends’ success in chapter one, you had to turn the page to chapter two and things don’t look good at all. From captivity to the royal court to a death sentence. The Hebrew youths could only pass this challenge through prayer and Yahweh’s/God’s intervention. What would happen? Would they live or die?
Having received the dream and its interpretation from God, Daniel was prepared to provide the king with the answers he sought. Time was of the essence to save his life, the lives of his three friends, and all of the wise men of Babylon. Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon; and told him “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon! Take me into the king’s presence, and I will declare the interpretation to the king.” Arioch and Daniel, with haste, made their way to King Nebuchadnezzar.
After describing Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to him, Daniel is now prepared to interpret the king’s dream. Daniel informs the king that it was the God of heaven who has given him the Babylonian kingdom with all of its power, strength, and glory. Nebuchadnezzar would not be king if God had not allow it. Every follower of Christ has to understand that God has a plan and everything that transpires has a reason. You may not presently understand it, but you eventually will. “Having done all to stand, stand there in.” Have patience and wait upon the Lord!
Living life is like reading a book, you are forced to turn the page to encounter the next event. With the turning of page, things do not look good for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. How do you go from freedom and nobility in your home country to being a captive in Babylon, and soon after chosen to serve the king, then given a death sentence, then promoted, given wealth, and recognition only to receive a second death sentence? Life really is like a box of chocolates!
Nebuchadnezzar's high regard for the three Hebrew young men was changed and filled with such wrath toward them, his facial expression was altered. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than normal. The king was unprepared for what he was about to witness and it moved him to make a startling proclamation.
You never know what awaits you in life, until you turn the next page. Obviously, one cannot control the events in life, but you must understand that choices have consequences. In navigating through life, if your not mindful, you can attempt to function on auto pilot, just going through the routine and the mundane aspects of life. You can lose the vigor and enthusiasm that it takes to maintain a winning and godly attitude. You can forget the teaching aspects of your past while trying to advance your future. King Nebuchadnezzar sure did!
Life just keeps coming at you. You never know what a new day will put in your path. Making the decisions of how to navigate through life, is where the great difficulty lies. Sometimes, people make very wrong choices. Every choice has a consequence. King Belshazzar made a really, really bad choice. The horrible choice was induced by his intoxication by alcohol. Alcohol in any form is bad news and only produces horrific consequences. It sure did for King Belshazzar!
Where life finds you today, is it because of your faith or a lack of faith? Sometimes it is difficult to know the answer to the question. Not for Daniel and his three friends! They knew exactly what was going to happen because of their faith and had made up their minds not to compromise their faith, obedience, and commitment to God.
Chapter seven of the book of Daniel turns from events in Daniel’s life to a series of visions and revelations that he received. It marks the beginning of a new genre. Chapters 1–6 are narrative, and chapters 7–12 are categorized as apocalyptic literature. Each new vision that Daniel had adds further revelation and looks futuristic to a time beyond Daniel’s life. Daniel transitions from being a statesman and begins functions as a prophet. Daniel begins offering instruction peculiar to the Church. To this point in his life, God had appointed him an interpreter and instructor to hedonistic kings. But he now commissions him a teacher/prophet to the Church, to instruct the sons and daughters of God.
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What Daniel had been shown by the Spirit of the Lord, made a deep impression upon him. It greatly troubled him and he was distressed.The experience continued to alarmed him. Though Daniel had demonstrated the ability to interpret dreams on previous occasions, he could not interpret this one. Therefore, he asked the angel (Gabriel) to interpret and explain to him what he had saw.
In his vision Daniel saw himself in the palace in Susa, one of the Persian royal cities, more than 200 miles east of Babylon on the Ulai Canal. A century later the Persian king Xerxes built a magnificent palace there, which was where the events recorded in the Book of Esther took place (Es. 1:2). Also, Nehemiah was King Artaxerxes’ cupbearer in the Susa palace (Neh. 1:1). This second vision of Daniel began with him seeing a ram with two long horns near the canal.
Daniel’s vision concluded and he was troubled by what he had experienced, just as he was in his vision two years earlier. He did not understand what it meant and was seeking clarity and needed an interpretation of his vision. God had the angel, Gabriel, on hand to explain to Daniel the meaning of his vision. As a follower of Christ, I want you to know with great certainty that God has the interpretation for your situation in hand. God knows you by name and He knows the way that you take. I understand that trusting and waiting on God to speak can be extremely difficult and demanding. But, be encouraged that the personal presence and power of the Holy Spirit is with you.
Chapter 9 occurs during the first year of Darius (ch. 6). Today's verses show Daniel as a diligent student of Scripture who built his prayer life on the Word of God. Daniel read the passage in the book of Jeremiah that spoke of the restoration of the Jews from exile. He was stimulated to pray because he knew from the writings of the prophet Jeremiah, the number of the years of the captivity. Daniel was spiritually and emotionally moved and pleaded with God for forgiveness on behalf of his people. He appealed to the great name of God and His covenant faithfulness in hope that He would return the captives to Jerusalem.
In our study of the first part of this chapter we were given insights into the character of Daniel. During the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, Daniel recognized that the seventy years must be completed (vs. 1-3). He was a man that had a true heart for prayer. His prayer was rooted in his study of the Holy Scriptures. He was reading Jeremiah 25 concerning the prophecy that Jerusalem would be desolate for seventy years. This stimulated Daniel to pray for the forgiveness and deliverance of the Israelites. As Daniel was praying, he had another encounter with the angel Gabriel. What Daniel had witnessed in his vision was so important that God sent Gabriel to inform him “At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.”
In the final three chapters, Daniel records his fourth and final vision. Daniel received a vision that greatly terrified him. The Jewish Exiles had returned from Babylon and had begun rebuilding the temple that had beed destroyed. Jerusalem was being reoccupied, and the nation seemed to be at peace. This revelation given to Daniel shattered any hope the prophet might have had that Israel would enjoy her new freedom and peace for long. For God revealed that the nation would be involved in many conflicts, including a great war.
Today’s sermon will be a history lesson on the first 35 versus. Why this is so important to us, is because what Daniel was shown in these verses were still futuristic. For us, all of this information is historic. For believers to be able to confirm that these incredible events that Daniel prophetically described allows us to place great confidence and trust in God’s holy Word. These confirmations of fulfilled prophecy assures us that prophecy yet to be fulfilled will certainly take place. This section outlines the succession of kings during the transition period from Persian dominance to Greek dominance which is represented by the third and fourth beasts of Dan 7, and the ram and goat in chapter 8.
The prophecies in 11:1-35 have all been fulfilled. The events described thus far in chapter 11 are historical. The intricate details of the conflicts between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies were fulfilled literally, exactly as Daniel had predicted. So detailed are the facts that skeptics have denied that the book was written by Daniel in the sixth century b.c. They conclude that the book must have been written during the time of the Maccabees (168–134 b.c.) after the events took place. However, the God who knows the end from the beginning, was able to reveal details of forthcoming history to Daniel.
The final chapter of Daniel details the persecution of the end time/last days. The good news is those whose names are found in the book will be delivered. Daniel also provides the clearest OT reference to the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked, revealing that there are only two eternal destinies for humanity: righteous everlasting life or disgrace and everlasting contempt. Jesus made the same statement in John 5:28-29. The angel instructed Daniel to seal up the vision until the end time, until it is relevant. The chapter and book conclude with words of hope for Daniel, the man who was “uncompromising” and did not “defile himself” while in exile in a foreign land. He is a great example of how to live an exemplary life for the glory of God.