Daniel 1 [Read]
Daniel 2 [Read]
1 John 2 [Read]
Daniel is a fascinating book. Any child grew up in church knows about the lion’s den, and most adults in church heard about the fiery furnace of Nebuchadnezzar. The author of Daniel has a special way of conveying theological truth so that people would not forget easily. Therefore, it is important for us to extract such truth as we read these interesting stories.
Daniel lived till the reign of Cyrus of Persia (Dan 1:21), which is dated by historians to be 539 BC. Thus, we can conclude that he must be very young when taken to Babylon around 605 BC (1:1). The king wanted to feed them with the best food he ate, so they might enter his service (1:5). But even as a young man, Daniel had the resolve not to defile himself with the royal food and wine (1:8). He asked and was granted a period of 10 days to show the efficacy of his own diet, and the result vindicated his resolve. It’s good for us to ponder on how we face the pressure exerted onto us by the environment and culture we live in. Should we bend easily to go with the flow or should we have the resolve to demonstrate the truth of our faith? Should we try to fit in with the world by sacrificing biblical principles or should we take the biblical teaching of striving for holiness seriously and live it out in our daily lives? Daniel’s experience should give us the answer.
Nebuchadnezzar was totally unreasonable. Although he wanted someone to interpret his dream, he refused to tell about the dream. But being reasonable was never his concern. Instead, he was looking for someone with divine wisdom. The answer of the astrologers actually brought out the essence of the episode. “No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men” (2:11). They were right about the limitation of human knowledge, but they were wrong about the divine presence in his people. Certain things are beyond human being, and only God can reveal deep and hidden things (2:22). More importantly, the same God shall crush all kingdoms and establish one that will endure forever (2:44). It’s good to examine our hearts about whether we acknowledge our limitation before the almighty God, and whether we believe that his kingdom shall come and shall endure forever. Daniel’s experience should confirm those for us.
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