1 – 1:1-14 / Resolve, not defiance.
2 – 1:1-14 / Proposal, not demand.
3 – 1:1-44 / Reasonableness, not resentment.
4 – 1:17-20 / Application, not apathy
Daniel and his friends did their homework
5 – 2:14 / Prudence & discretion, not knee-jerk reaction.
In the midst of madness and chaos!
6 – 2:17-18 / Prayer in the practical.
7 – 2:24 / Intervention, not just escape.
He thought about the others, not just himself.
8 – 2:30 / Humility, not opportunism.
He openly acknowledges his Lord in his success and does not keep silent so as to simply make himself look good.
9 – 2:48 / Willingness, not elitism.
10 – 3:17 / Courage, not compromise.
Daniel’s companions – There is a deafening silence on Daniel’s part.
11 – 3 / Daniel’s restraint versus intervention
12 – 6:10 / Private consistency, not public display.
No need to push buttons.
13 – 6:22 / Profit, not treading water.
Acting in the best interest of those over us. Jer. 29: 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to God on its behalf…
2 – “ “You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:31-35, ESV)
RAF: There is no more sweeping overview of things to come than this passage before us. Whatever the various interpretations of the individual kingdoms mentioned, one thing is certain – Christ is the “Rock” made without hands who at last conquers and destroys them all, ruling and reigning over all at the end.
3 – “ King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.” (Daniel 3:1, ESV)
RAF: How like us all. He has just received a revelation from God of things to come. In that, he is confronted with the fact his own kingdom is temporary and that there is a kingdom from God yet to come with will destroy all that has come before, and rule and reign forever. Yet his interest is only in his own temporary place. His “head” of gold, now becomes the entire image. All of what has been said has been distorted to magnify and focus upon himself. Father forgive me. I know Christ is coming. I know He will come to rule and reign over all. I know all things will be put under His feet. And I am so preoccupied with my little portion, as that is all there is. Enlarge my vision to be overcome with Christ.
4 – “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”” (Daniel 3:16-18, ESV)
RAF: Note the absence of an attempt to intervene by Daniel. He allows his brothers to stand on their own in their decision and he does not use his power to circumvent the difficulty. We must all learn to depend upon God for ourselves. One of the most disabling things we can do to our children is to teach them to depend more upon us, than the God we depend upon.
5 – “And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.” (Daniel 3:27, ESV)
RAF: No matter what your trial Christian – no matter how severe, intense, naturally painful and frightful – when at last we do emerge, it will be seen to have done us not the slightest harm. Our Christ has been with us in the very midst of it, not observing from some far off place. And we will not even smell of smoke afterward. Not a single harmful effect. No scars. Only symbols of His faithfulness. The bonds removed, freedom granted, and the life everlasting. It may be unbearable right now, but He is here, and He will bring us through.
6 – “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4:3, ESV)
RAF: See what a shift has occurred here in the heart and mind of Nebuchadnezzar. His eyes are now off of his kingdom, and on to Christ’s. But oh what he went through to get there. May it not be so in me Father. May I learn these truths by seeing them in your dealings with him, rather than needing to enter fully into them myself. Teach me your ways. Make me know your paths. Keep me from myself. Let my heart drink you in.
7 – “ All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”” (Daniel 4:28-30, ESV)
RAF: No matter how grave, supernatural or personal the warning, human attempts at moral reformation are temporary at best, and no means of deliverance from the hand of God. We must be brought to an end of ourselves. Sin must be dealt with from the inside out. Bu the Spirit of God.
8 – “ At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;” (Daniel 4:34, ESV)
RAF: The only reasonable response to seeing God for who He is – is worship. We worship so little and in such half-hearted and paltry ways, because we have seen so little of Him. Ultimately, it is unreasonable, lacking in sanity to fail to do so. Father – give us eyes to see, ears to hear, minds to grasp, and hearts to love you in all your ineffable glory.
9 – “There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers,” (Daniel 5:11, ESV)
RAF: I wonder how many of us would have been too “righteous” to serve in such a capacity? Should God put us there, we would rebel and say we won’t do it. To be over these pagan occultists. Yet what a place of ministry is to be found there. Perhaps you find yourself in the very thick of the most lost and anti-God people one could imagine. Is this not your ministry? Are you not there to reach them for Christ? Is this not your mission field? Don’t run from it, seek fruit in it. Father, give us such courage and willingness.