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057 The Prophet Daniel

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s food, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore, he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself’ Daniel 1:8

Key Verse:

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)

(Daniel 1,6)

In the last lesson, we looked at the book of Jeremiah. The prophet Jeremiah lived some six hundred years before the coming of the Messiah. We saw how Jeremiah warned his fellow Jews, telling them that if they did not repent of their sins and turn back to God, the army of the nation of Babylon would destroy the city of Jerusalem and take them captive. Sadly, most of the Jews listened to

the false prophets

and refused to heed Jeremiah’s message. Thus we read how

the Babylonian army came,

destroyed Jerusalem, and carried the Jews far away to Babylon. Everything happened exactly as God had predicted through the mouth of Jeremiah, His prophet.

But the destruction of Jerusalem did not mean that God had abandoned the Jews, the people He had chosen long beforehand. God could not forget

the covenant

that He had made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, when He said to them, 

“All the peoples of the world will be blessed through you.” 

God had not forgotten His plan to send the Redeemer into the world through the nation of Jews which descended from Abraham. Thus the Scriptures relate how God took care of the Jews in Babylon

for seventy years

until He brought them back to Jerusalem, just as He had promised. However we will read that story in our next lesson.

We plan to read about a young Jewish man, who was one of the captives taken to Babylon. That young man is

Daniel.

The name Daniel means

God is my judge.

That was Daniel’s testimony in short. Daniel feared no one except Almighty God before whom every person must give an account one day. Daniel wasn’t concerned about what men thought of him.

Only God’s thoughts mattered to him.

God was Daniel’s judge. Daniel believed what the prophet Solomon had written long before, saying: 

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” (Prov. 29:25)

God inspired Daniel to write a book. The book of Daniel contains many revelations (prophecies) which the human mind could not invent.

Only God knows what will happen in the future.

Yet the prophet Daniel wrote about the history of many nations of the world–and he wrote their history before those nations even existed! For example, Daniel wrote how the kingdoms of Persia, and Greece and Rome would come into existence and what their kings would do. And he wrote it hundreds of years

before most of these nations even existed!

Also, like so many of God’s prophets, Daniel wrote concerning the first coming and the second coming of the Messiah. Daniel prophesied that at the Messiah’s first coming He would be “cut off”— that is, killed as a sacrifice for sin (Dan. 9:26), but when the Messiah returns to earth He will judge the world in righteousness. Listen to the vision Daniel had concerning the Messiah’s second coming: “I beheld till the thrones were placed, and

the Ancient of days did sit,

whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth before him; a thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the judgement was set, and the books were opened”. (Dan. 7:9,10) What a fearful judgement awaits those who reject the Messiah!

Now then, since time doesn’t allow us to think of the deepest thoughts of God contained in the book of Daniel, we will look at the story of the prophet Daniel himself. In the first chapter of the book of Daniel, we see how Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, selected some of the Jewish young men in order to train them

to serve in his government.

He chose those who were the most handsome and intelligent—with an aptitude for every kind of learning, capable of learning the difficult alphabet and language of Babylon. Daniel was one of the young men whom the king chose.

Thus, Daniel began to study in the schools of Babylon. However, on the very first day,

Daniel faced a dilemma.

The great King of Babylon had decided that the young men who were part of his school must drink the best wine and eat the best food. However, this wine and food had been offered to idols. Could Daniel participate in the worship of idols? Absolutely not! Why not?

Because Daniel feared God.

Daniel preferred death to doing something that was not pleasing to God, his Lord. Thus, the Scripture says: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s food, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore, he requested of the chief official that he might not defile himself” (Dan. 1:8)

The Scriptures relate how

God rescued Daniel

from that dilemma, blessed him and gave him deep knowledge and wisdom, so that the Scripture says: 

“And in all matters of wisdom and understanding that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm” (Dan. 1:20)

Thus for about seventy years, Daniel worked for four different kings, and

God was with him.

We would like to look at a story from the life of Daniel–a story that shows how Daniel feared no one but

God alone.

We will see how Daniel was very different from the other officials who worked for the King. They were the kind of men who habitually twisted the truth and received bribes–because the fear of God was far from their heart. However, Daniel refused all unrighteousness and falsehood, because

the fear of God filled his heart.

He preferred to be thrown into a den of lions rather than to displease God.

Where our story begins, Daniel was now an old man and was serving faithfully under his fourth king. The Kingdom of Babylon was no longer called Babylon, but Persia, because two nations, that is, the Medes and the Persians, had conquered the Kingdom of Babylon and divided it into two,

just as the prophet Daniel had prophesied.

In chapter six, the Scripture says: “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, who should be over the whole kingdom. And over these, three presidents, of whom Daniel was first; that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above presidents and princes, because

an excellent spirit was in him;

and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no fault, forasmuch as he was faithful,

neither was there any error or fault found in him.

Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said unto him, King Darius, live forever. All the presidents of the kingdom, and governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal law, and to make firm a decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, except of thee, O king,

shall be cast into the den of lions.

Now, O king, establish a decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore, King Darius signed the writing and the decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God,

as he did previously.

Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spoke before the king concerning the king’s decree, Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any god or man within thirty days, except of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The King answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, who is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed,

but maketh his petition three times a day.

Then the king, when he heard these words, was very much displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, that no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spoke and said unto Daniel, Thy God, whom thou servest continually,

he will deliver thee.

And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords, that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting; neither were instruments of music brought before him; and

his sleep went from him.

Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel. And the king spoke and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live forever.

My God hath sent his angel,

and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me, forasmuch as before him innocence was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him,

because he believed in his God.

And the king commanded, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and broke all their bones in pieces

before they came to the bottom of the den.

Then King Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel;

for he is the living God, and steadfast forever,

and his kingdom which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus, the Persian.”

Did you hear what the heathen king said, after he saw how God had saved Daniel from the lions? He said, “I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and stedfast forever!”

Friend, do you fear the God of Daniel?

Perhaps you are asking, “Who is the God of Daniel?” The God of Daniel is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God of Daniel is the God of the prophets Moses and David. The God of Daniel is the God who has given us the Holy Scriptures. He is the God who promised to send down a Redeemer who would save sinners from a power that is stronger than the power of lions, that is, the power of Satan, and sin, and hell! The God of Daniel is God

the One True God!

Do you fear the God of Daniel? We are not asking whether you fear your friends and their thoughts, or whether you fear your ancestors and their customs, or your witchdoctors and their demands! What we are asking you is:

Do you fear God?

Do you want to please the LORD God and obey His holy Word? Daniel feared God, which was why he did not fear man. Daniel preferred to spend a night in the den of lions than to displease the LORD his God!

How about you?

Do you fear God? Do you fear Him as Daniel feared Him? Do you hate unrighteousness as Daniel hated it? Do you cherish the Word of God like Daniel cherished it? Or are you like most of the sons of Adam who twist the truth, and are motivated by money, and neglect the Holy Scriptures?

Do you fear God?

In our next lesson, we plan to look at some amazing prophecies written by Zechariah, a prophet who came after Daniel.

God bless you as you meditate on this important truth: 

“The fear of man bringeth a snare; but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe” (Prov. 29:25)

We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have