Learning from Daniel 1-6
1:1-2:16 - ‘Daniel resolved not to defile himself’ (8). Daniel was devoted to the Lord. It was not easy to live as the Lord’s faithful servant. His dedication to the Lord was put to the test - ‘Test your servants’ (12). Our faith is put to the test. We ‘suffer many trials’. Why does God allow our faith to be tested by ‘all kinds of trials? - ‘The testing of your faith produces steadfastness’. ‘These have come so that your faith, which is much more precious than gold, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed’ (1 Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-3). Knowing that ‘every trial falls from above, traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love’, may we learn to ‘trust God fully’ and ‘find Him wholly true’ (Mission Praise, 421).
2:17-49 - ‘In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed’ (44). There is only one Kingdom which stands forever - the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom is eternal. Through Christ, ‘the Kingdom of God has come near to us’ (Luke 10:9). Christ is the ‘King of kings’ (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). ‘His throne will last for ever and ever’. ‘His Kingdom will never end’. ‘He will reign for ever and ever’ (Hebrews 1:8; Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15). Christ is ‘triumphant... ever reigning... enthroned for ever’: ‘Sin and death and hell shall never stifle hymns of love. So, our hearts and voices raising through the ages long... this shall be our song: Yours the glory and the crown...’ (Mission Praise, 77).
3:1-30 - ‘We want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up’ (18). We have no other king but the Lord. He alone is King. He alone is to be worshipped. We are to ‘have no other gods before Him’. We are ‘not to make for ourselves an idol’ which takes the place of the Lord (Exodus 20:3-4). The Lord must come first in our lives. He is to be our ‘first love’ - ‘the love of our heart: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart...’ (Revelation 2:4; Mark 12:30). Jesus asks us, ‘Do you love me?’ He waits for our reply: ‘I love You’ (John 21:15-17). ‘I love the Name of Jesus. King of my heart, He is everything to me’. ‘I love You, O Lord, You alone... my God who shall have all my praise’. (Mission Praise, 285,286).
4:1-37 - ‘His Kingdom is an eternal Kingdom; His dominion endures from generation to generation’ (3). The generations rise and fall - ‘You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning... by evening it is dry and withered’; ‘As for man, his days are like grass... the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more’ (Psalms 90:5-6; 103-15-16). The Lord is ‘the everlasting God’: ‘From everlasting to everlasting You are God’. His love is an ‘everlasting’ love: ‘From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him’. The Lord ‘has established His throne in heaven, and His Kingdom rules over all’. He is ‘our dwelling-place throughout all generations’ (Isaiah 40:28; Psalms 90:1-2; 103:17,19).
5:1-31 - We are not to ‘praise the gods of gold and silver...’ (4). Material possessions must never take the place of God. Seeking material prosperity is not to be the most important thing in our lives. We are to ‘seek first His Kingdom...’. We are to ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ (Matthew 6:33; 2 Peter 3:18). ‘I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold, I’d rather be His than have riches untold...I’d rather have Jesus... than to be the king of a vast domain and be held in sin’s dread sway. I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today. I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause, I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause; I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame, I’d rather be true to His holy Name’ (Mission Praise, 319).
6:1-28 - ‘He is the living God and He endures for ever; His Kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end’ (26). He is the living God. He is also the loving God - ‘His love endures forever’ (Psalm 136). He is the King. He is a very special kind of king. He is ‘the King of Love’. The coming of God’s Kingdom will be the victory of His love: ‘Kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of the Lord: Love has the victory for ever!’. We enjoy the victory of His love as we lift our hearts to Him in worship: ‘Who can see Your greatest Gift and fail to worship You?’. We enjoy the victory of His love as we give our lives to Him in service: ‘Let us labour for the Master... Let us talk of all His wondrous love...’ (Church Hymnary, 388; Mission Praise, 86,759).