Jesus sitting with all the children, scary lions pacing around Daniel, Joseph in his beautiful coat, Moses parting the Red Sea, all images that graced the walls of my childhood Sunday School class. We would sit and listen to the amazing stories of the Bible, they were told much in the same way as my fairytale books were read to me each night, filled with adventure. It wasn’t until just a few weeks ago I realized I had allowed myself to skip over many of these stories. I knew the premise of the story and had not bothered to go back and delve deeper into the truths hidden there.
For the past year I have been a part of a Bible study group, doing a new devotional book every few months and though we had learned a lot from them, I know I was hungry for more. Hungry for the Word of God to speak directly. So, we eventually decided to begin reading the book of Daniel.
I confess I am not a theologian or a scholar. But I was so excited when I began reading this book, I just had to share some of my thoughts with you. So first off I encourage you to get out your Bible and turn to a passage you may not have read since you read it in your children’s Bible so many years ago. Read with me Daniel chapters 1 and 2.
- Daniel 1:17: God gave Daniel and his friends, wisdom and understanding, but he also gave Daniel the ability to interpret dreams. Have you ever looked at a gift or talent and wondered, when on Earth will I ever use this? I just wonder if Daniel did the same thing. I’m sure he was glad he was able to understand the unexplainable and have knowledge of many things even while he was held captive by this people, but I wonder if he thought his ability to understand visions and dreams was odd. Was he surprised when the day came that his gift was actually needed? (skip to Daniel chapter 2) The King was determined to kill all his wise men if they were not able to tell him what his dream meant. Daniel had a choice to make. He could watch he and his peers die a brutal death. Or he could try to interpret the dream and if he succeeded all would live. Their lives lay in his hands. Sometimes I feel myself shying away from something God has called me to do because the thought of others’ lives being dependent upon me is almost unbearable. It’s too much pressure don’t you think? But Daniel knew he had a gift and he decided to ask God if He could use it so these people would be saved.
- Daniel 2:17-18 – I love this. “Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends…He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning the mystery…” He knew the challenge, he accepted the challenge, then he went straight to his friends so they could all go to the throne of God to plead for mercy. And God listened. So many times we think we have to go through a situation alone and we hide our struggles because we think we have to take care of it. We have to keep control of the situation. Daniel admitted right up front he wasn’t in control and knew only God could bring about the salvation of the wise men of Babylon. And so he went to his friends and asked for prayer. When was the last time you went to a good friend and confided in them a specific prayer request?
- Daniel 2:30: “As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, because I am greater in wisdom than any other living man. I was able to interpret the dream, O king so that you could see my greatness….” oh wait, that’s what I would have said, not Daniel! (just making sure you’re paying attention, seriously go read the book of Daniel!) Daniel 2:30 actually states: “As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.” How hard is it for you to give credit to the one who deserves all the praise? For me, at times it is like pulling teeth. I want to believe it is my abilities, my talents, my creativity that has succeeded, not God. But, who gave me those abilities? Talents? Creativity? Who gave me the opportunities to use them? God. He deserves all the glory and all the praise.
- Daniel 2:39-49—Daniel interprets the king’s dream. The statue the king dreamed about was to prophesy the coming kingdoms that would crush each other until the ultimate kingdom, not made of man, would rule over all of them for eternity. God, through a dream to King Nebuchadnezzar, revealed Jesus’ coming! How cool is it that God, throughout all of the old testament revealed the promise of an everlasting kingdom, of a savior to come, to different people, prophets and even to those who did not know the Jewish God, Yahweh, Jehovah.
Challenge: My Bible study group and I are memorizing the following verse, feel free to join us! (be sure to print it out and put it on your mirror or refrigerator, tweet me a picture if you do! @morningreveals)