Friday, September 23, 2011

Daniel, a man for the ages

Reading portions of Daniel takes me back to my days in Sunday school at Strasburg Union church.  Those Sunday school ladies made the Bible come alive as they told us the stories of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refusing to bow to a false god and being cast into a fiery furnace after telling Nebuchadnezzar that their God could save them from the fire, but even if he did not save them, they would never bow to a false god.  God did save them, but who was that 4th person in the fire?  Was it an angel sent from God to protect them or was it Jesus, as some commentators claim.  I don't know but It is marvelous to think that Jesus walks with us in our most difficult times.

Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and Daniel were some of Judah's finest young men carried off to exile in Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar first subdued Judah.  The were taken into Nebuchadnezzar's court because of their good character, intelligent acumen and their trustworthiness.  They were among the remnant that Jeremiah predicted God would use to rebuild Israel and the destroyed city of David, Jerusalem.

They were devout Jews, living in a foreign land and yet the prospered because of the righteous quality of their lives.  They were trusted by foreign kings and protected by a Sovereign God.  Even when Daniel discovers that he will be thrown into a den of lion's because he prays to someone other than the king,  his first response is to pray to Jehovah-Jireh and God does provide a way for him.

This book is filled with prophecy.  Some of the prophecy relates to the rise and fall of Israel.  Some relates to the coming King, Jesus Christ.  Some authorities point to Daniel's revelation as the first prediction of the actual date of his coming.  Other prophecies are about end times and parallel John's Revelation.

The book is a great and adventurous read and it is a window into future times.  But even if the mysteries of the prophecy are difficult to understand, it is sufficient to know that God honoring people will always find comfort in the knowledge that our God can save, both now and for eternity. 

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