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Breezin’ Through The Bible, #18 – Daniel and Friends

February 18, 2014

For God is great and performs wonderful deeds. (Psalm 86: 10)

Perhaps nowhere in the Old Testament is there a better example of God’s wonderful deeds than in Daniel, for God remained in the hearts of his people even in exile, and was faithful to those who believed in him.

Although the Book of Daniel may have been written when the Greek culture was sublimating that of the Jewish people, its message has a timeless quality. Daniel has become a symbol of the oppressed believer, tortured for his faith.

Daniel and his friends were exiled to Babylon in 605 BC. Their names were changed; Daniel to Belteshazzar and his friends to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. They were selected to live in king Nebuchadnezzar’s courts where they were seeped in the culture of the land. They remained faithful to God and his rules, even refusing to eat the rich food and drink the wines of the Babylonian court. They refused to bow down to Babylonian gods and idols and the king. Daniel’s friends were tied together and thrown into a fiery furnace, from which they emerged without a hair singed. The all powerful God performed a wonderful deed.

Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and he won a place of honor as an administrator of the land. He placed his friends among other satraps (rulers of provinces). In  prominent positions, they served the king well and honestly. When Darius became king, other satraps became jealous of Daniel. The king built a large gold idol of himself, insisting everyone bow down before it. The envious leaders invoked the king’s law to trap Daniel. Daniel could not bow down to the image. The king, who had grown fond of Daniel for his wisdom and his work, was forced by his own edict to throw Daniel into a lions’ den. But the Lord muzzled the lions, and Daniel emerged unharmed. King Darius sent those who had accused Daniel with their wives and children into the lions’ den where they were not rescued. With this awesome deed, God honored Daniel’s resolve to keep his laws in a strange land.

Furthermore, King Darius was impressed by Daniel’s God and issued a decree — the God of Daniel is the living God and he endures forever: his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves–“

Babylon fell to Persian invaders in 539 BC, and the Persian king Cyrus issued a decree permitting the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple to worship God.

Cultures may change, and we may end in places where we did not start, but adhering to the principles of a loving God will help us endure adversity and be at peace in this ever-changing world. Amen?

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