Why does God give Daniel this revelation? How would an ancient Israelite have received it? Remember that Daniel is writing during a time when Israel is under the rule of foreign powers. Folks have started to return to Jerusalem. The walls and the temple will soon be rebuilt, but they will still be under the rule of the nations. They would not know the world that their fathers had known. They would not see Israel fulfilling her Abrahamic destiny of being the blesser of the nations. Instead they would only know life under foreign occupation and rule. And Daniel writes somehow to encourage them…to encourage them not to give up or to give in because God wins.
Knowing that life would not return to “normal”, how would this be an encouragement? This is where it’s good to remember that Daniel 7 occurs chronologically before Daniel 5 & 6. Daniel has this vision of the four beasts several years before both the handwriting on the wall (Daniel 5) and the lion’s den (Daniel 6). So when Belshazzar calls Daniel in to interpret the handwriting on the wall, what was Daniel’s response? Fear…uncertainty…concern? No. Daniel boldly rebukes King Belshazzar for his blasphemy and unwillingness to humble himself to the God of heaven. God is not to be mocked. Don’t give up even when the “ king” mocks God, whether that king is an employer, teacher or government. Judgment comes for the wicked. Our job is to be available to be used by Him, and then to boldly yet compassionately point them to Jesus. Some will respond like Nebuchadnezzar and some won’t like Belshazzar. That’s up to God. We’re called to be faithful. Don’t give up.
When Darius consents to the edict that forbids his subjects to pray or make supplication to any man or god for 30 days, Daniel does what Daniel had always done…he continues to pray to God 3 times with his windows open towards Jerusalem. Daniel feared God more than the king and was willing to face the consequences of his choice. Don’t give in when following Jesus becomes hard, when persecution comes your way, because it will. Like Daniel we’re called to be uncompromising in our faith. Our God can, our God will, but even if He doesn’t… God may choose to rescue us through situation, not always from it, but even if He doesn’t we trust that He is working things out for our ultimate good and His glory. Don’t give in.
The beasts have dominion for a season, but each one ends in a moment of time. Don’t invest in kingdoms that are fleeting. Invest in the eternal kingdom that will not fail or fade. The kingdom that the Son of Man will receive from the Ancient of Days. You can do that by trusting in Jesus today. I would love to talk to you about that.
Don’t give up. Don’t give in. God wins.
Until next time…stay salty.
This post is based on our Daniel series entitled Reclaimed. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster