I suppose as a teenager I was disinterested in studying. I liked English when Mr. Peacock brought a painting along and we needed to tell the class what we saw. He taught us how to “read” a painting to capture what the painter’s intent was. I would want to say I hated Mathematics the most, but History was the one. Strangely, not because of the content but because in exams they always wanted dates and names and places … and why on earth ought I to know such things? However I regret that because I actually love history and I cannot imagine why anyone (me) would have hated history at school or even after that. Although we have just resumed our Notes in Daniel, we have come a long way … one verse short of the end of chapter six of twelve chapters. Halfway! This is where the historical portion of Daniel ends with:
Da 6:28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian
Amazing … Daniel whom the satraps tried to destroy, yet they were destroyed and Daniel prospered. Notice that his prospering was not only through the reign of king Darius the Mede, it continued through the reign of king Cyrus the Persian. These two rulers were, as you are able to see from different nations (ethnicities), whilst the kingdom is one and the same.
1) These chapters seek to show the awesome, wonder working power of the God of Creation. We see He is sovereign. His people are in captivity [largely because of their own doing], but God is busy preparing them for deliverance at a later stage. The prophet Jeremiah receive a prophecy about the Exile in 605 BC. This was Nebuchadnezzar’s first year and the start of Judah’s phased exile to Babylon.
Jer 25:1 The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.
The writer of Chronicles tells us:
2Ch 36:20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah.
The exile would last for a full seventy years and Daniel would have gone into exile in 605 BC and remained there for the full seventy year period. Thomas Myers, who is the editor of Calvin’s Commentary on Daniel, says:
Throughout these lectures (chapter 1-6) we are taught that we can see God only by being pure in heart. The preparation for spiritual insight into holy mysteries is purity of conscience and singleness of eye. But even these able comments do not clear up everything. Our lot on earth must be to walk more by faith than by sight. This is the chief exercise of the soul, which is essential to its vitality and growth. We must have at times our mountains of vision as well as our valleys of the shadow of death. Never let us doubt the essential permanence of justice, and righteousness and truthfulness. By this we shall be borne up through regions of cloud into realms of light. Thus will our spirituality be strengthened and refined: thus we shall we be permitted to obtain lager perceptions of God’s character and maturer judgments of His purpose.
To see God at work through Daniel and his three friends under the reign of the three kings ought to encourage us as believers to be more prudent in faith. God wants us to see as much of His almightiness, majesty, glory and power at work, not just in reading through Biblical Books like Daniel, but even in our own lives as we depend upon Him for all of life, by faith. Far too often we don’t see God at work because we are not people of prayer like Daniel was. The theme … “Dare to be a Daniel” is not intended to be a catchy title but a challenge to exercise faith like Daniel did. If Elijah was a man like we are men and women, would not Daniel be too?
Jas 5:17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
I write this Note at the moment of a flash thunder storm. I know I cannot be so foolish as to pray that it will not rain for three and a half years! But I do know that if Elijah and Daniel were men of prayer and through prayer saw God worked in the most amazing ways, what is my prayer life like? God does amazing things daily in response to the prayers of His holy prayer warriors. Let us “Dare to be a Daniel” … or are we scared of the results?
2) Non believing people are aggressive towards the faith we have in the One, True, Living, God. Did you notice that it was the people not the king that were the real danger to the people of God? People agitate and influence leaders against the People of God. Very subtly and quietly, those in opposition to the Bible, drafted plans to attack Biblical morality, largely using the basis of Liberal Theology Schools (who are happy to “educate” any one from any religion in their persuasion). During the almost 28 years of democracy in our country I have witnessed (like you have), a progressive assault on the delicate morality that kept the country Christianized. In no way am I saying that Apartheid was good. It was evil … but there was a morality that kept the fiber of society intact … and this is being eroded. There are many issues, but I will use six to show how subtle it is, but how active it is in destroying Biblical morality.
(1) We are a secular state. Even with the three kings that Daniel worked under, there was a belief in deity or deities who were trusted and depended upon. Freedom of religion is not the problem in our country. Removing Biblical Christianity’s God and dependence upon Him as the true King of the country is the problem. Look at our schools, colleges and universities.
(2) We are no longer a male / female citizenship in our country. You can be whatever you want even though God made you either a male or a female.
(3) Pornography was banned, now it’s a booming business.
(4) Prostitution was illegal, now it’s freely available.
(5) Cannabis sativa … Marijuana or Dagga was seen as an entry drug into mainline drugs. Now it is freely available for recreational use. (I am not denying the medicinal value as a medication).
(6) Abortion was seen as murder, today it is a way to remove unwanted children. Dump Biblical values and morality and these and other things creep in and erode the morality of society. The years ahead will show those alive then the mistakes of this era.
O God, have mercy on us. Amen.