Friday, November 2, 2012

Daniel (Bible in 90 Days)

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The world is full of tragedy, heartbreak, social pressures and seeming chaos. But through it all God is in control. He watches over those who love him even in the gravest circumstances. When Jerusalem fell, Daniel was among many faithful Jews living in captivity under King Nebuchadnezzar’s rule of Babylon.  Daniel found favor with the king by interpreting a dream that no one else could decipher. He was granted a prominent position in the Babylonian government thanks to his trust in God and delivering his message.

Daniel wrote about three of his friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and their encounter with the burning furnace. I love this story, and thanks again to Veggie Tales, I have a fun visual when I read it.
King Nebuchadnezzar placed a huge idol of gold for everyone in his kingdom to bow to. However, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego lived faithfully for God and would not worship an idol. Nebuchadnezzar became furious and ordered the three Jews to be thrown in the blazing furnace.

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This is their response: “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18

I cannot even imagine how much faith that response takes. They basically say you can kill us, but our God is stronger than this situation. Our God can save us, but even if he doesn't we still serve him. God is in control. They stand above pressures of society and do what is right—even if it means death.

They were thrown into the blazing furnace and God did save them:
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers “ weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly o King.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unburned and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Daniel 3:24-25

It was a miracle. Even Nebuchadnezzar recognized that. He promoted the three in the Babylonian government and gave praise to God. (The entire story can be found in Daniel 3:1-30.)

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But that is only one of the incredible stories found in Daniel. He interprets dreams and writings, he plays an important role in the Babylonian government, he survived a night in the lion’s den and he sees visions of the future, the Messiah and the End times.

Daniel sees a vision foretelling the Messiah:
“In my vision at night I looked and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the ancient of days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory, and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is and everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14.

Daniel ends with a vision of the end times, which is more detailed in Revelations. He also provides the allusion to the rapture, which is not mentioned in Revelations. Details are found in Daniel 12: 1-13.

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Daniel was a fierce man of God who stood up for his beliefs even in the worst of times. God saved Daniel from destruction and relayed a message threw him to four different leaders of the time. Even though the world can feel chaotic, God is still in control directing nature and nations and caring for his people.

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