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Daniel

The Book of Daniel: Chapters 1-6, Biblical study by Beth Moore

I completed the Biblical “Daniel” study by Beth Moore, and I thought it was fantastic. Since I learned so much, and thought it was so valuable, I want to type up my notes for quick and easy future reference. It was a long study, and took a lot of my time, so I’m going to count it towards one of my books for the year. I’ve emitted most of my personal thoughts and reflections from these notes. Beth’s “Daniel” study is divided into 12 weeks, one week per chapter. I’ve divided my post into 2 sections. Section 1 is chapters 1-6, which primarily deal with Babylonian captivity. Section 2 is chapters 7-12, which are primarily apocalyptic, dealing with the end times. My last post on Daniel is a quick summary of all chapters.


Chapter 1 (started first week of April)


The goal of this study is to be able to live in an extravagant and excessive culture without being poisoned by it. Beth wants us to develop “alarms for Babylon’s charms.” Throughout the first part of the study, she stresses the parallels between our current culture and Babylon’s culture. We place immense value of physical health, appearance, and intelligence. The Babylonians, once they captured a city, only took captive the young men who appeared physically superior (without physical defect), handsome, and intelligent. The Babylonians valued the same attributes that our culture values. Often we tend to disregard people that are not blessed with these qualities. Our culture is about obtaining what is best for the self. Babylon only wanted the young men that would most benefit their society. I only want the things are going to benefit me. Me, me, me. We are addicted to pleasure and power. The Babylonian motto is, “I am, and there is none besides me.”


Nebuchadnezzar -> King of Babylon

Jehoiakim -> King of Judah


Nebuchadnezzar removed articles from the temple of God and put them into the temple of his own people.


Jeremiah says that the prophets and priests were greedy and deceitful, yet they felt no shame. They were so engrossed in their wickedness that they did not even know “how to blush.” We should be blushing with embarrassment when we observe the sinful and indulgent world around us. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Habakkuk are Daniel’s contemporaries.


Merodach-Baladan was a Babylonian prince. He was the son of Baladan, the king of Babylon. King Hezekiah, one of Judah’s kings, showed all his wealth and storehouses to the Babylonian prince, Merodach-Baladan. Isaiah prophesized that in the future Babylon will carry off all of Judah’s wealth, and the Lord’s people will be captive inside Babylon (Isaiah 39:1-8). In Daniel 1, this prophecy is fulfilled when King Nebuchadnezzar overthrows Judah and raids their treasures. Because Hezekiah showed his wealth to Babylon, he invited them to usurp it. However, Hezekiah responded that Isaiah’s prophecy was “good,” because it would not occur during his lifetime. This is a “me” centered attitude.


The King of Babylon wanted the young men who met the following criteria: from the royal family, without physical defect, handsome, quick to learn, and well-informed. The selected men were to be trained for 3 years before entering the king’s service.



Each of Daniel and his friends has his name shifted from a focus on God to a focus on a Babylonian god. Changing names was a common practice at this time. Names carry a great deal of significance. One of the major themes in Daniel is that names are important.


Another major theme of chapter 1 is resolve. How do we resist the temptations of this world? We resolve. Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal food. Resolve is a promise that we make to ourselves, and it takes daily commitment. How do I practice resolve in my life? Every meal by not indulging, every day by avoiding sexual misconduct, and daily by waking early to read, pray, and journal. Godly training will never be wasted! Godliness and victory are not accidental. The devil knows our weaknesses and temptations, and only through consistent living will we be able to deflect his blows.


The king’s man, Ashepenaz, was told to teach Daniel and his friends language and literature. God granted tremendous learning of language and literature to Daniel and his friends. God gave them much, because he knew they could handle it, and consequently he expected much in return. Learning is a gift from God. Learning, when done with noble intentions, is God-given and should be used to glorify him; it is a gift. This is encouraging to me!


Chapter 2


What is evidence that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was impactful? He demanded that it would be interpreted. When his wise men failed to reiterate the dream, he ordered that they should be executed. The dream impacted the King so immensely that he was willing to kill his wise men to get an answer.


Magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers were called to interpret the King’s dream. In verse 4, the astrologers answered the King in Aramaic. This point of the text is where the language switches from Hebrew to Aramaic. The Aramaic text was written so that more than only the Israelites could understand it. The words of Aramaic were intended for Gentiles and Jews alike.


Isaiah predicts the fall of Babylon (Isaiah 47:12-15). He says that the sorcerers, spell-casters, and astrologers will all fail. These are the wise men of the King’s court. But even the wise men will be consumed by fire. They will fail. In Daniel 2, the wise men admit that they cannot answer Nebuchadnezzar’s request. They have failed the king, and as a result the king orders their deaths; they are burned up in fire.


The King’s wise men claim that what the King asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the King, except the gods, and they do not live among men. Our God lives among us! Oh, these “wise” men were so wrong. Our God is amazing. God says, “I will dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). The Babylonian gods did not dwell among the common people.


Arioch is the commander of the King’s guard. He was the head executioner. Daniel approached Arioch with “wisdom and tact.” He asked Arioch the reason for the executions using a tone of voice that was humble and did not offend the guard. Tact and wisdom are critical when approaching difficult and sensitive situations. Beth says that when we disagree with someone, we are tempted to be rude. Daniels’s life was at stake here. Being tactful and not rude was more important at this time than ever.


Daniel’s words towards Arioch were filled with grace and “seasoned with salt.” Paul says that our words should be salt (Colossians 4:6), meaning that they should taste good and encourage further conversation. Nice! Our words should be tactful and prompt further conversation about Christ.


Daniel used his additional time to plead for God’s mercy. Daniel pleads, asks God, and prays. To be like Daniel, we too must pray to God and ask for his mercy, wisdom, and power. Ask God for mercy!


The King’s dream was revealed to Daniel during the night in a vision. This means that the dream was not revealed to the other 3 (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah). They all prayed, but the dream was only revealed to one person, Daniel. The others had to trust in Daniel’s vision and trust in God’s answer. Daniel thanks God for answering the “we” prayer, not the “I” prayer. He recognized that God’s answer was because all of his partners prayed to God. It was a team effort. This makes me immediately think about the marriage union. The man is expected to lead, but the husband and wife must pray together. God, at time, may provide insight and wisdom to only one partner. If one clearly hears God communicate, in a response to the couple’s prayer, then the other person’s role is to trust and follow. Just like the wise friends followed Daniel’s lead. Daniel heard God’s response to their prayers. Daniel acted, he led, and the others trusted and followed.


Memorize Daniel 2:20-23. Done.

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
Wisdom and power are his;
He changes times and seasons;
He sets up kings and disposes them;
He gives wisdom to the wise,
And knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things;
He knows what lies and darkness,
And the light dwells in him.
I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers.
You have made known to me what we asked of you;
You have made known to us the dream of the king.

Urgent prayer requires urgent praise! Is anything sweeter than the ecstatic joy of an answered prayer? I think not. Make sure to praise God for his answered prayers. “There is nothing more appropriate than jumping up and down for joy over answered prayer” (Beth Moore). To receive an answer to prayer, first you have to pray. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete (John 16:24). What prayers has God answered in my life?


Providence -> This word can be defined as God’s plan and purpose for the world. Providence is not a principle of orderliness or reason; rather, it is the will of the creator who is actively involved in moving his creation towards a goal. History is not a process of endless repetition; history is being moved toward the predetermined end. I like this definition. It’s abundantly clear to me that history is not an endless cyclical process. Never has history seen a world pandemic like COVID-19, and never have we had such incredible technologies to combat it. The world is progressing toward something. But what? Jesus’s return. The world is not moving in circles. Providence is moving us towards God’s ending.


Daniel praises God for: wisdom and power, control over the seasons and times, setting up and disposing kings, dispensing knowledge, dispensing wisdom, revealing what lies in the darkness, giving himself wisdom and power, and making known the King’s dream.


Major theme of Daniel: It is a book about God’s sovereignty. How does God’s sovereignty apply to my personal life? And to current events?


Whoever has, will be given more, and he will have abundance. Whoever does not have, it will be taken away from him (Matthew 13:12-13). This is so true! Daniel prays for wisdom, he gets it, and he continues acquiring more and more. It becomes abundant and overflowing. Peterson also talks about this concept with regard to earthly successes. People who have success and money continue to accumulate it. It seems to pile on more and more. It’s called the “Matthew Principle.” Once you have a little bit, it is easier to accumulate more. Hence a small portion of the population owns a majority of the wealth. The idea of the “Matthew Principle” has been on my mind a lot recently, as I consider dating and career.


When King Nebuchadnezzar asked Daniel if he could interpret the dream, Daniel responded that no man can interpret such a dream. Only God can do that. And God will show Nebuchadnezzar his dream. Here is the dream. God’s kingdom will crush all the world powers and never be destroyed. The toes of the statue are the European Union, which we have today. It is divided and struggling to hold together. We are living in the age that is preparing for God’s kingdom. Wow, hurray, and yikes!



Nebuchadnezzar praises Daniel for his wisdom and lavished many gifts on him. He said that Daniel’s god must be the God of all gods.


Chapter 3


Beth begins by talking about image building. Girls tend to build their images by focusing on their beauty and waist lines. They want to beautify themselves. They care largely about their physical images, and they compare themselves to other women. I think that men also build their images. But this not an image of beauty. For men, I think it is an image of power and authority. Men want to craft an outward appearance that radiates power and authority. Whereas women seek an image of beauty, men seek an image of power. Both seek other people to affirm this image.


To dedicate Nebuchadnezzar’s image to himself, he summons the satraps, prefects, governors, advisors, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all other provincial officials. The Babylonian culture was focused on self. Jesus says to serve. Babylon says to seek power and affirmation. Christ says to be a servant and not strive for these things. The epitome of Babylonian mindset is having important people bow down to you, like Nebuchadnezzar. The King sought affirmation by getting high-class, important people to worship him. Do we strive to surround ourselves with important people? Do we like it when important people praise our actions?


In addition to pride, we can also struggle with feelings of inferiority. God does not want us to assume feelings of superiority, but he also does not want us to feel inferior and low-class. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are godly examples of characters who exemplified neither pride nor inferiority.


Do works in humility, not selfish ambition. Do not boast about your accomplishments. Do not deny God’s truth. Selfish ambition is given by the devil. It is earthly and not spiritual. It is evil and leads only to disorder. Selfish ambition is not worthy. Selfish ambition is not wise.


Words bite. The words of the astrologers were condemning the Jews in Babylon. They were tattling to the King that Daniel’s friends refused to bow down before the great statue. Why are biting and devouring words most common within family walls? We feel like these people must love us regardless; they are the people that we spend the most time with. Biting and devouring words are easy to hide when in public, but we cannot be stellar movie actors all the time; people at home see us the most frequently, so they see our vicious side. The astrologers denounced the Jews. Whoever messes with the Jews, who are God’s people, are poking the apple of God’s eye. Ouch! And God will raise his hand in defense of his people, and cause the Jews’ antagonists to be punished. God will protect his people like the apple of his eye. When something touches our pupils, we react immediately and violently; it’s a sensitive part of our body. In the same way, God will react when his people are wronged.


The King accuses 3 Jews (Daniel’s friends) of not serving his gods. They respond that they do not need to defend themselves. What the King says is true. The Jews will worship only the Christian God. Therefore, no defense is needed for true words. Daniel’s friends did not make any excuses or compromises about worshipping God alone. “For people with true conviction, certain decisions have already been made” (Beth Moore). I love this quote.


“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent” (1 Chronicles 29:17-19). David prays that the Israelites always honor the Lord and remain loyal to him.


Loyalty

  • to be firm, to be established, to be steadfast, to be faithful, to be sure, to be reliable

  • signifies initial preparation for a future event. Loyalty can be thought of as preparation.

  • Loyalty is answering the question before circumstances impose the question. A loyal mind is already firmly decided on its course of action.

  • Resolve your loyalty to Christ so that the devil struggles to threaten us. I resolve to remain loyal to Jesus. This means avoiding sexual temptation, practicing daily reading, and openly declaring my faith.


Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are thrown into the fire, but they are withdrawn from the fire without a single singed hair. They were entirely unharmed. Beth gives 3 scenarios:

  1. We can be delivered from the fire. Dividend: Our faith is built.

  2. We can be delivered through the fire. Dividend: Our faith is refined.

  3. We can be delivered by the fire into his arms. Dividend: Our faith is perfected.


What is example from your life where you were delivered from the fire? And through the fire?


John Hus, Hugh Latimer, and Nicholas Ridley were all loyal to God until death. They never once renounced their convictions. They were prepared to face any situation and stay calm in the midst of it. We can be tempted, while in the midst of the fire, to ask, where is the fourth man in this fire. Jesus wants us to join him in eternity. He wants us to be delivered into his arms. This is encouraging, because death, and ascent into heaven, is the Father’s desire.


Chapter 4


King Nebuchadnezzar shares his testimony with all the nations and people of the world. He tells everybody. The goal of a testimony is to exalt God, not you. The big picture takeaway that a person should get from your testimony is God’s glory, mercy, grace, and power. It should not be about your personal glorification. You should be ok with appearing foolish, insomuch as it glorifies God. God’s greatness is the point, and sharing too much can shift the point to self-glorification. Which is gross. Some good thoughts here about sharing your testimony.


What are some ways that the devil can tempt a “spiritual leader” with pride?

  • Smugness over spiritual disciplines (giving, fasting, theological understanding, etc.)

  • Superiority complex of a wife who studies the Bible more in-depth than her husband

  • Haughtiness towards another person who is being delivered through the fire, when you yourself have already conquered that sin.

  • What are your “spiritual pride” areas?


Pride can come in two forms: (1) performance – reading or memorizing (2) abstinence – from sex or food.


“I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, contented and prosperous” (Daniel 4:4). According to Beth, women seek security more than anything else. They need love. But when romance is filled with insecurity, then it is unbearable. So how do I get the girl? I constantly show that I care. I make her feel secure. I don’t think that security is as much of an issue for men. David expresses that contentment in earthly things is only temporary and it is not reliable (Psalm 30:6). Do not place your security on earthly goods or people. Like David placed contentment in earthly goods, so does King Nebuchadnezzar.


Sometimes, God will shake our world. We should remove things that are not going to last. When God shakes our world, only that which is unshakable remains. Our false securities are removed. God is the only thing that cannot be shaken. Therefore, contentment is found in him alone.


Contented

  • Aramaic word “seleh”

  • at ease or at rest

  • conveying security


Prosperous

  • Aramaic word “ra’enan”

  • flourishing

  • luxuriant


If we are living in America right now, then remember that like King Nebuchadnezzar, we are living a life of luxury.


There is about 20 year between Nebuchadnezzar’s first and second dreams. When seeking an interpretation of this second dream, Nebuchadnezzar does not threaten the lives of his wise men, like he did with the first dream. Perhaps, he has grown in wisdom, and he thinks less spontaneously. However, Nebuchadnezzar still does not accept God. In Daniel 4:8, he claims that the Babylonian gods are still his gods. If the Babylonian gods are the figure of his worship, then Jesus Christ is not.


All of us place our identity in someone or something. Is it God? For a woman, is it her significant other? If our identity is in something other than God, then we will have unmet expectations, frustration, anger, impatience, and anxiety.


In Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream, he sees a great tree and a messenger. Earlier, when Nebuchadnezzar said that he was feeling content and prosperous, he was saying that he felt like a “luxurious tree.” Prosperous describes a luxuriant and flourishing tree. Nebuchadnezzar viewed himself as a self-made flourishing and grandiose tree. This is pride. Nebuchadnezzar ruled everything in his world. He provided food and shelter to his people, and he had massive influence. He was given his immense power by God.


At first, Daniel was perplexed by the King’s dream, and his thoughts terrified him He tells the King not to be alarmed. Sometimes we do not recognize ourselves until we hear the truth from someone else. David was confronted by Nathan. Nebuchadnezzar by Daniel. Charlie by Zach. Part of our God-given role is to confront fellow believers in love and grace to steer them onto the correct path. This is good and praiseworthy. We all stray sometimes.


Although the messenger trimmed the tree, the stump was left in the ground. God’s intention is not to destroy or condemn us. Instead, he tries to strip away our pride and allow us to re-grow stronger. That’s really good! I’m really glad that I spent time to analyze and study this dream. It makes so much more sense now! Thanks to my friends for pushing me.




Some things – substances, activities, relationships – are so toxic to us that moderation won’t work. This is exactly true. When one of those things becomes god, when it becomes priority #1 instead of God, then it becomes a demon. And when God ceases to be #1, then that’s when fears, frustration, discontentment, and anxiety creep in. Because our expectations are ill-placed. To keep away toxic priorities requires self-discipline. It requires daily sacrifices, such as reading, which is not always easy.


Chapter 5


605 B.C. -> Nebuchadnezzar strikes Jerusalem

562 B.C -> Nebuchadnezzar dies (43 year reign)

562 – 560 B.C. -> Evil-Merodach

560 – 556 B.C. -> Neriglissar

556 B.C. -> Labashi-Marduk (2 month reign)

556 – 539 B.C. -> Nabonidus

553 – 539 B.C. -> Belshazzar (co-reign with his father, Nabonidus)


Big theme for the start of this chapter is, “He is a God who undoubtedly loves discovery” (Beth Moore). The hand wrote on a plaster wall. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25).


If you have received Jesus Christ, then you are a holy vessel. Belshazzar misused the holy vessels from Jerusalem’s temple. Do not misuse your body. Do not perform sexually immoral acts. Do not sin against your holy vessel. Satan gets no greater satisfaction than when we misuse God’s holy artifacts. Mistaking a holy object as being unholy is Satan’s objective. Belshazzar treated the cups as unholy. Satan tries to use your body for unholy purposes. We will all ultimately sin, but it is good that God offers repentance of sin.


Qualities of God: God promises a crown of life to everyone who loves him, God cannot be tempted by evil, God does not tempt anyone, every good and perfect gift is from God, God does not change like shifting shadows, God gave us birth and we are his first fruits (James 1:13-18). Satan is the “tempter.” Since we are not God, Satan is able to tempt us to follow our own evil desires, which then lead to sin. And sin leads to death.


Beth talks a lot about treating our own bodies as holy vessels. I think that Beth struggled with regret over many of her past sins. For me, this is not a significant problem. I have recognized God’s forgiveness, and his grace, and I’m so thankful for it. I don’t carry around guilt about my past. I don’t need to, because God’s grace has removed that burden.


During this lesson, it stood out to me that God does not shift like the shadows. His love is constant and restless. I often waiver, and it is encouraging to know that God does not.


The queen told Belshazzar about Daniel. She described him as: the spirit of the holy gods is in him, he is filled with insight, intelligence, and wisdom that is comparable to the gods, he is chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and diviners, he has a keen mind, he has knowledge and understanding, and he has the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve difficult problems. The “queen” was likely either Belshazzar’s mother or grandmother (Nebuchadnezzar’s wife). After Nebuchadnezzar’s death, Babylon rapidly declined. At this time, Daniel was about 80 years old.


Caleb in Numbers 14:24 has a “different” spirit, and he follows God wholeheartedly. Like Daniel has a different spirit. Among the world, Daniel and Caleb stood out like sore thumbs. Even among the mediocre Christians, these men stood out as having unique and extraordinary spirits. I want to be “different” like Daniel! I liked this quote by Beth, “We abide in our subgroups by unspoken codes dictating how far we’ll go in our devotion to God. Anyone who goes overboard or takes it too seriously is considered eccentric.” I think this is so true! Does having a blog, like this one, with all of my thoughts (albeit censored sometimes), make me eccentric? Maybe.


What is the knot that you are praying God will untangle in your life?


Belshazzar lost his kingdom because of this pride and arrogance. He did not humble himself. Instead, he set himself up against the Lord of heaven. God resists the proud (1 Peter 5:5). God is good to his people. But he will oppose and fight those who are against him (Isaiah 63:7-10).


To humble Nebuchadnezzar, God sent him away to be with the animals. Nebuchadnezzar has some insanity, but it worked to humble his heart. Belshazzar, however, did not learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s experience. Unfortunately, secondhand experiences are not always effective at teaching us. Firsthand, personal experiences are often the most effective teachers, because they cause real pain. They cause undeniable, harsh pain. And pain drives reformation. I think this is also related to the idea that men need to go on adventures, go into the unknown, seek answers, and then return to the known world with their questions answered. There is no substitute for firsthand experience. Oh man, this is also so good!


“Mene, mene, tekel, parsin” (Daniel 5:25)



Chapter 6


At the end of chapter 5, Babylon falls to the Meso-Persians. The golden head of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue is no longer supreme. The Persians were able to conquer Babylon with relative ease. They diverted the water protecting the city, and then they were able to walk in uncontested and conquer the city via the sluice doors. It was simple and effective.


Babylon will hold the Jews captive for 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11-12). After captivity in Babylon, God will restore the people to the land that he promised to give them (Jeremiah 29:10-14).


Darius ruled the conquered Babylonian kingdom on behalf of the Medo-Persians. It is clear that Cyrus the Great was the Medo-Persian King who administered the conquest of Babylon. It is possible that Darius is just another name for Cyrus. It is also possible that Darius is an appointee of Cyrus. We do not know for sure.


Nimrod was a mighty warrior and a might hunter. “The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon” (Genesis 10:8-12). It is possible that Nimrod founded the great, godless Babylonian empire. Nimrod’s wife was Semiramis, and she had a son, Tammuz. Tammuz was allegedly conceived by a miracle, like Mary was with Jesus. According to lore, Tammuz was killed by a wild animal and then restored to life. Tammuz was a false fulfillment of the promise of the seed of woman given to Eve.


Babylon is Satan’s capital city. Babylon is the epitome of evil and rebellion against God. The opposite of Babylon is Jerusalem. In Daniel 6:1, Babylon is called “the great prostitute,” because the kings commit adultery with her. “The great prostitute” is dressed in purple and scarlet, glittering with gold, adorned with precious stones and pearls, and holding a cup filled with abominable things. She is also drunk from the blood of the saints, which is the blood of those who bore the testimony of Jesus. She is persecuting Jesus’s followers and getting immense enjoyment from it. She gets pleasure from her evil actions. Kings will get pleasure from Babylon. They will be attracted by her riches and appearances. The kings will pursue Babylon, instead of Christ. They will forsake Christ, that is cheat on Christ, with Babylon, and thus commit adultery.


The beast “once was, now is not, and yet will come.” This means that the beast was once alive, it died, but it will be resurrected. Evil will be defeated temporarily, but it will continue to persist. Tammuz was resurrected, the beast was resurrected, but these are both false depictions of Christ’s return. In the end, the prostitute will be betrayed by the beast. The beast will eat her flesh and strip her naked. Satan will betray his Babylon. She is only a tool for Satan.


In Revelation 18:5, Babylon’s sins are piled so high that they reach heaven. In Genesis 11:4, the Tower of Babel was built to reach heaven. When something aspires towards heaven, or tries to equal/match God, then God ruins it. In no way are we equal to God.


In Revelation 18:7, Babylon gives herself glory and luxury. She boasts that she is queen, not a widow, and she will never mourn. In just one hour, all of Babylon will be brought to ruin. Only one hour.


In Revelation 18:23, Babylon used her “black magic” to lure away nations and kings. Babylon is a prostitute who uses black magic to crumble her lovers. Even the Bible references the power of women’s “black magic.” I need to take the time to write an auxiliary post about this at some point, because I think it is incredibly interesting, and it is worth exploring the idea further.


We all feel seduced and lured by the beauty and attractiveness of worldly merchandise. I like the attraction of motorcycles, fitness, tailored suits, money, and power. Our society seeks joy in the entertainment industry: music, TV, Netflix, comedy, video games, sports, drinking. These luxuries divert us from reality and provide a false enlivenment in our lives. The enormous entertainment industry is a sign of the lack of joy in our lives. We, as a Babylonian society, are bored. However, these joys are only temporary. Once the money disappears, and the show ends, so does the joy. And it only takes “one hour” for it to all be gone. I recently watched an episode of “This Is Us” on Hulu, and it made me think of the entertainment industry and our draw to television shows. We try to enrich our boring lives by letting ourselves become absorbed in fictional stories. We are temporarily drawn out of our own stories into a fictional and false fairy tale. Sometimes this is a much needed escape from the pressures of reality. But the problem comes, I think, when we would rather live in the fictional story than our own reality.


At the time that Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, he was about 80 years old. Daniel “so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom” (Daniel 6:3). The administrators and satraps needed to ensnare Daniel by “something to do with the law of his God,” because Daniel was trustworthy, and he was neither corrupt nor negligent. Daniel was not negligent. It means that he performed his job well, despite the Babylonian culture surrounding him. So, is it possible to live a Christian life, despite the corruption and excessive luxuries surrounding us? Yes! God desires us to be light-bearers in this dark culture and to be highly effective fruit-bearers for the glory of his Name. This means going to work and excelling so that you are distinguished and people notice your “weirdness.”


The great prostitute, Babylon, corrupted the earth. When she was destroyed, heaven sang praises to God. They praised God for his just judgements.


There is no doubt that Daniel saw God’s miraculous activities more clearly and vividly in Babylon than he would have in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a symbol for God’s city, whereas Babylon is a symbol for Satan’s city. It might seem counterintuitive that God is seen more clearly in Babylon than Jerusalem, but I think that it is true, and it actually makes a lot of sense. In our world, God is seen more vividly when he acts in the unbeliever’s world. When he acts in a group of unbelievers his presence is clear. It is obviously God. I think that too often, Christians stay inside their small, believer circles, and do not engage in the world. And therefore, they do not get the opportunities to see God as vividly as Daniel. Beth says it like this, “We cannot exclude ourselves indefinitely in our Christian hideouts.” I want to be a Daniel. I want to receive wisdom and intelligence from God, I want my life to be focused fully on Christ, I do not want to be negligent not corrupt, and I want to live a “different” life in a Babylonian society.


Do you have a nagging feeling about something that God says to act on? If so, act! This is Beth’s recommendation. And I completely agree. Listen to that “inner voice.” What is my inner voice telling me? Something that I will not post here.


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