What can we learn from the book of Daniel
Things were going wrong in his personal life. He was immersed in a society that valued everything that he stood against. He was pressured to bow down and worship things that he knew were wrong. There was constant temptation to succumb to the worldliness around him.
Sound familiar? No. I’m not talking about the world in which we live today, but rather a young man from the Old Testament who was captured and taken into captivity in Babylon. I’m talking about Daniel.
The prophet Daniel is widely considered one of the greatest men in the entire Bible. In fact, unlike many others heroes of the faith, n’t here is nothing negative said about him at all.
In Daniel, we see a young man who was going through difficult tribulations.:
Daniel’s home of Jerusalem had been overthrown, and he’d been carried off into a foreign and godless land as a slave of Babylon’s King ng Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel endured a “reeducation program“ that was meant to brainwash Daniel and the other young men to assimilate them into the Babylonian culture and prepare them to serve the king. He was taught astrology and magic, as well as Babylon’s Chaldean language.
He was given a new name. No longer would he be called Daniel (God is my Judge) but now he would be called Belteshazzar (Bel protect my life) a pagan name.
Daniel was expected to eat the king’s meals, which were certainly gourmet. This was an indulgence that many would have happily accepted.
A new home, new education, new language, new name, new food… All these things were an attempt by the Babylonians and King Nebuchadnezzar to indoctrinate the young Israelites, including Daniel, into their culture. And I’m sure that many of them were more than happy to enjoy the spoils.
Daniel could have gone along with all this by compromising his convictions as well. He could have said, “Everyone else is doing it,” or “I better obey the king!”
However, Daniel “purposed in his heart” that he would not disobey God (Daniel 8) even amid the pressure and temptations. He even convinced that powers-that-be to allow him eat a diet of vegetables and water rather than the king’s royal feast.
Because of his faithfulness and obedience, “God gave them [Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mischael and Azariah] knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had u understanding in all visions and dreams” (Daniel: 17)
Let’s fast forward through the centuries to today. We haven’t been captured and carried into a few-away land, but the society around us perhaps looks unfamiliar and troubling. Young people – like Daniel in his day – are especially being let astray by a culture that is largely opposite of the life we’re called to live as followers of Christ.
With so many prevalent temptations all around us, it would be easy to assimilate and enjoy all the world has to offer, but like Daniel, we must purpose in our hearts to serve Jesus and Him alone. We must feast on the things of the Lord rather than the evils of this age. As we do, God will not only give wisdom and understanding to share His hope with those around you.
It’s difficult to find peace in this troubled world, but Christ came so that we may have life and have it abundantly.
I asked this question many times during my life. It seems to be the most urgent and most difficult, questions to ask about God. There is no easy answer. The book of Psalms acknowledges that the faithful do ask this question, with many psalms accusing God of negligence, inaction, or absence in times of difficultly or despair. Jesus himself cries out one of the most haunting lines, as he hung dying on the cross: “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 22:1)
This may not be a comfort – but it does send the signal that Jesus knows intimately and deeply, the pain of abuse. And for those who believe that in Jesus we find the most profound, even divine incarnation, the becomes a remarkable reality. God, at the core of divine Love, understands the experience of abuse, abandonment, and suffering.
For many years I thought God hated me, because he let me be abused. That he didn’t care what happened to me. And so I came to believe that I didn’t care what happened to me either. During the Alcohol abuse, the drug abuse even the abusive relationships I found myself in. There was no point in looking for something better. I felt I was alive to suffer and die.
I cannot say where God was, during experiences of abuse. But I can say God understands, God knows, and God can help you move forward. Sometimes the past, with its wounds and scars, is hard to understand, and feels unjust. But we can always look towards the future, and we ask how God might redeem the pain. I know we can trust that God meets us in our brokenness, and wants to bring hope and healing to our lives.
For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. John 6:33
Hope is what energized the soul, and promises are what feeds our soul to get hope – just like we energize our bodies by eating food.
Human beings are specifically designed to eat a particular kind of soul food: God’s Word. That’s why in both the Old and New Testaments God empathized that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4)
When God speaks, it is much different than when you and I speak. When we speak, we describe or defend our perceptions of reality. When God speaks He speaks reality into being. Our words describe life and action. God’s word is living and active. (Hebrews 4:13)
When God speaks creation things other than Himself come into being: angels, galaxies, gnats. But when God speaks Himself, He speaks uncreated, eternal deity. That is His Son, who called Himself the life. ( John 11:17, John 14:6)
That is what the Apostle John was getting at when he says, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) Of course the Word is God. When God speaks Himself, He cannot be any other.
And when the Word of God speaks, He speaks the Words of eternal life. (John 6:68)
That is why Jesus called Himself “thr bread of life” and said, “ the bread of God is He who come down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:33)
God has given human beings one source of true soul food: His Son. Jesus Christ, the Word of God, God the Son, is the great Promise. for “all the promises of God find their Yes in Him.” ( 2 Corinthians 1:29) He is the soul’s bread, and “whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” ( John 6:58)
What could possibly give more hope to our sinful souls than Jesus’s promises of complete forgiveness of our sins. The removal of all the Father’s judgment and wrath against us, anti always be with us, (Matthew 28:20) and give us eternal life in God’s presence with full joy and pleasures forever? (Psalm 16:11) Nothing!
There are the “precious and very great promises” (2 Peter 1:4) that are designed to nourish our souls.
Once we grasp this, it helps us make sense of Jesus’s strange-sounding words, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” ( John 6:53)
For Jesus, eating in believing
Never forget how far you’ve come. Everything you have gotten through. All the times you have pushed on even when you thought you couldn’t. All the mornings you got out of bed no matter how hard it was. All the times you wanted to give up but you got through another day. Never forget how much strength you have learned and developed along the way.
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restored my soul : He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me; thy rod and they staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen
This is a high-strung, neurotic, impatient age. We hurry along for no reason- just to be hurrying. This fast paced age has produced more problems and less morality than previous generations, and it has given all of us jagged nerves. Impatience has produced a new crop of broken homes, or more ulcers, and had set the stage for wars.
We all seen the headlines about attacks on our country and a spiraling political conflict. It can all be scary and unnerving. Some days it seems the threats and violence are only getting worse, with no end in sight.
Whether we’re angry, anxiously bracing for what’s next or just sick of all fighting remember this:
God has already won the battle between good and evil. “In the world, you will have tribulation, but take heart I have overcome the world. He overcame the world when He died for the sins of humanity, giving us inner peace when we put our faith in Him.
There is always going to be wickedness because of the sin inside us, yet we don’t have to be afraid. When Christ is in our lives. He is always with us. Whether it’s persecution and suffering or death and devastation – no matter how much bad news you hear, He has the final say.
Yes, the world is broken. Yes we have destruction, violence, and endless battles. But you can have peace through it all – a lasting peace stronger than any fear or anxiety that comes your way. Why not trust the One who knows everything, even the things we cant understand.
God asks us to believe in Him. Repent from our sins, pray and follow Him. Find peace in Him today.
It’s difficult to want to believe the Bible is true, but differing viewpoints, the noise of this word and the trails of life. I sometimes doubt when I’m suffering from excruciating migraines that last for days. Or see things that are happening in society today. Life is hard and confusing and filled with wandering and wondering about the goodness of God and the promises found in His Word.
Doubting God’s goodness can be an ongoing challenge, even though we can recount the amazing, miracles we have witnessed His hand at work.
You name it, I’ve been well acquainted with trouble of every kind. But when I think about it, it sounds exactly like what God has already told us we will be in against.
There are some days I tell God I wish trouble would find someone else to hang out with. Even while my feeling are hurt and confusion tell me otherwise. I wouldn’t wish these migraines and my troubles on anyone.
I know the truth deep down that God is still our sovereign Lord, who has not removed His hand from our fallen world.
When trouble abounds, God is still on the Throne
The challenges we face daily Will tempt us to despair, making it hard to trust His ways are indeed perfect. We can’t skirt around pain. We can’t control the future. But we can trust God when the trials of life are breaking upon us like ocean waves before a storm.
Isn’t that what we truly crave?
Not necessarily a faith that is insurance policy against suffering – because that just doesn’t exist – but rather, a deeply rooted faith that is deep,y rooted faith that is unwavering through trials?
No matter our story, no matter what is happening presently and no matter what the future holds, God is who He says He is and will honor His promises to us until kingdom come.
May you be inspired to begin every day with unblinded faith in those promises.
One of the benefits of being a follower of Christ is that in moments of trouble p, we can process the Divine assurance that God Sees us. He is with us in our pain and and sorrow. Instead of sinking in the quicksands four own fearful thoughts or the inscrutability of the situation m we can know that we aren’t alone, ever.
Isaiah 9:1-6 says that the people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in the land of deep darkness a light had dawned. When we live in the deep darkness or disease or death, we’re not beyond hope. Light always penetrates darkness. Darkness no matter how deep doesn’t stand a chance against light.
In verse 6, Isaiah proclaims the good news that a child would be born, and a son given. He would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. God stands ready to be all this for us today.p, whether you’re walking in light or deep darkness,
Living in peace and hope isn’t living problem free. It’s living a life in the presence of a living God. God can and will provided divine order in our broken world if we invite Him into our deep darkness.
Before Christ came as a baby, we were doomed to darkness. But now we live in the light of salvation through Jesus the King. The dark gloom of judgment is past. The bright light of salvation is ours. Yet, there are so many who choose to live in darkness in our world today.
Christ’s birth doesn’t just impact all of our tomorrow’s in eternity. His hope and peace is for us today. He can increase our Hope and joy right now no matter what burden we may carry, because He is our Wonderful Counselor. If we put in His hands each of our concerns weighing on our heart and minds. We can entrust them into His loving care. Let us set our eyes on the everlasting Faith during this season, confident He will come to our rescue in our time of need.