Prophet Daniel wrote about his story and visions from God between 605-530 BC while God's people were ruled by the powerful Babylonians.
Daniel also wrote around the same time Prophet Jeremiah was writing. He studied Jeremiah's writing diligently.
Why did God allow His people to suffer?
God told His people that they must obey His Word and gave them a long time to repent and return back to God. But they only became more evil. So God allowed a foreign king, the king of Babylon called Nebuchadnezzar, to take His people captive. Nebuchadnezzar enslaved the people and took them from the land given by God.
Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian Empire had no interest in honouring the one true God. He set up many false gods and forced his people to worship them. But Daniel and his friends were devoted to God, even when the king threatened to burn them alive and throw them to the lion den! God miraculously rescued Daniel and his friends from harm. Both the king and the people saw Daniel's God was the one true God.
What should God-fearing people do while facing captivity, abuse, and prosecution?
Prophet Daniel himself was at the center of all these. His story shows us God's will for His people in these times of suffering at the hands of oppressors: to pray and look up to God.
1. Daniel pleaded for mercy and wisdom
In Chapter 2, the Babylonian king threatened to kill all wise men as no one could tell him about his dream and interpret it. What could Daniel do? The first thing Daniel did was to summon his friends to pray together for God's mercy concerning the mystery. This was no trouble or mystery to God. And God listened to his prayer and revealed it to him.
Then they praised God. Notice the character of God Daniel emphasized:
"Praise be to the name of God forever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom tot he wise and knowledge to the disconcerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and the light dwells with him."
2. Daniel pointed to God when he spoke of the unknown future
God listened and gave Daniel the vision to see through the king's heart and future. But Daniel did not take revenge or physically fight the authority that was threatening him. God's will for His people is to speak powerfully to their generation about God's power. Daniel admitted that he was powerless without God, so he pointed to God's power and sovereignty when he spoke to the king, "But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries."
3. Daniel fasted for forgiveness for the sins of his people
In Chapter 9, although Daniel was innocent, he knew his people had done a lot of evil things. But Daniel was not only thinking about himself. He begged for God's mercy and forgiveness on behalf of his people. This was because Daniel knew God's heart and love for all the people. As he prayed, he focused on the holiness and righteousness of God, not his own.
4. Daniel's faith was not moved by fire or lions
Because Daniel feared God, he did not need to fear any threat from man or nature. He only needed to look up to God for His salvation plan.
As a result of Daniel's faithfulness to God, God's wisdom and prophetic visions stayed with Daniel throughout his life.
Daniel waited for God to deliver in God's way and timing. The book covers 75 years of revelations, and accurately predicted numerous significant events in world history, including the rise and fall of three historical empires (Babylonian, Persian, Greek), and it saw 2400 years into the future!
The whole book reveals the sovereign and triumph of God over all human authorities and kingdoms. The prophetic and apocalyptic visions God gave Daniel testify how the rise and fall of kings in history are all in God's hand. Click here for more
Listen to God and Pray
1. What is God teaching me through the story of Prophet Daniel?
2. Have I grown closer to God and listen to His message in times of oppression and uncertainty?
3. God gives His visions and wisdom to all people who fear and ask Him. Do you think God will do the same to His people today?
Living in Exile
Prophet Daniel lived in a time when God's people were in exile. Being in exile means they were taken far away from home (Palestine) by their enemies for centuries with no freedom.
Many people today are living in exile when they are driven far away from home because of political or economic reasons. Many of us are exiles in spiritual terms as we are driven away from God and His holiness by our own sins.
The Bible is full of messages of hope for both kinds of exiles.