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God's Word, the Bible September 6 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Daniel 5; Daniel 9; Daniel 6

How is God working in our World?

What is God doing in our world? How is he working in our nation or in our private circumstances? These are some questions we would like answered, and we can learn how to answer them by giving heed to God's Word, the Bible, and Daniel’s example.

In Daniel’s time, King Nebuchadnezzar had expanded and united the Babylonian empire to be the strongest in the known world. Two generations later all that changed (more…). Now the Medes and the Persians were the kingdoms with which others would have to reckon. This was in fulfillment of the dreams given by God to Daniel in the first and third years of King Belshazzar (September 5 Bible study; Daniel 7-8). The king had three years to repent and perhaps change the course of events. Are you guilty of wickedness? Has God given you time to repent? Do not delay; turn to God right now while there is time. Perhaps he will be gracious to you.

Though the Persians had besieged the city of Babylon, King Belshazzar was secure in his thickly walled, well-fortified city. He found out, however, that he was not in control of his world. To demonstrate his confidence and to show contempt for Israel’s God, Belshazzar had a party, a drunken orgy in which he used golden goblets confiscated from the temple in Jerusalem before it was destroyed. With these he praised his gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone. Suddenly, Belshazzar saw mysterious fingers write a message on a plaster wall. He, his guests, and his officials were terrified, and Belshazzar’s knees went weak. What did the message mean? After his own counselors failed to give him the interpretation, the queen mother suggested that he ask Belteshazzar (Daniel) to interpret it since he had given his predecessor (the intended meaning of the word “father”) the right interpretation on previous occasions. “The spirit of the holy gods is in him,” she said (Daniel 5:11, NIV).

When Daniel came and interpreted the handwriting, the news was not good. The king had been weighed in God’s balances and was found lacking. Daniel told him that, though the king knew about God’s judgment and mercy with Nebuchadnezzar, he still had not humbled himself. Though he did not know it, Belshazzar’s very life was held in God’s hand. That same night the king was murdered, and his kingdom was conquered by the Medes and Persians. God, not the king or any of his gods, was sovereign.

Daniel was given many dreams to show how God was sovereignly working on behalf of the Jews and other world nations. How might we discern how God is working in our world and in our private world? We learned from yesterday's lesson not to depend on dreams. Instead, we should depend on God's Word, the Bible. Still, there are other things we can learn from Daniel.

First, Daniel observed what was going on in his world. At this time in Israel’s history she was a devastated nation. Her homeland and her temple were destroyed by fire. Her people were scattered and in exile, and now under the powerful nation of Persia. Persia had recently conquered Babylon. The Jewish people were suffering for their unrepentant sin and wickedness, yet God made a seemingly impossible promise to Jeremiah. The promise was that in seventy years Israel would return to her land (Jeremiah 29:10). When Daniel realized this, he did not doubt but was moved to pray (Daniel 9:2). Daniel was a student of the Word of God. Knowing God’s Word, he prayed intelligently. Do we?

Second, Daniel came to God in an attitude of humility and fear of the LORD. Daniel knew God was not pleased with his people. God was righteous; they were not. He pleaded with God in fasting, sackcloth, and ashes for both his own sins and that of the nation. This demonstrated Daniel’s humility. Do we recognize who God is? How do we come to God when we have done wrong? Do we come to him in arrogance or humility? God answers the prayers of those who have contrite hearts.

Third, Daniel appealed to God on the basis of his person and his promises. Daniel appealed to God on the basis of his great might (nothing is impossible with God). He also appealed to God, on the basis of his grace and mercy, to keep his covenant made so long ago to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 17:1-8). Do we believe God can do anything? Do we know God’s promises so that we can appeal to him to keep them? God wants us to ask for things that please him (Psalms 37:4).

Fourth, Daniel pleaded with God for the sake of his people and God’s name (reputation). Israel was God’s people. She was mocked, beaten, harassed, and scorned. Since they were defamed, so was God’s name. Daniel pleaded with God to quickly act on her behalf. Do we have concern for others when we pray? Are we concerned with honoring God’s reputation and character, or are we only concerned with our own lives? (John 15:16; 1Corinthians 10:31; James 4:1-3)

God answered Daniel’s prayer and gave him understanding into the future of the Jewish people. The seventy weeks and the sixty two weeks, can be understood as years until their fulfillment. For a thorough explanation of these weeks and how these have been and will be fulfilled, go to (more…). The point of the passage is that God hears the requests of those who are truly repentant, he is righteous and faithful, and he gives his people hope, though there may be difficult times ahead before their complete fulfillment.

God would keep his promises to the Jewish people, and he will keep his promises to us. The Jews would return to their land but have future wars. Then, an anointed one, the Messiah, would come but be cut off (executed by crucifixion). After that the temple (Herod’s reconstruction and expansion of Solomon’s temple) would be destroyed. After an undetermined time (the period between the 69th and the 70th week of Daniel), a troublesome time will come. At the end of it (the Tribulation Period) the Jewish people will be saved, and the Messiah, Jesus, will return to rule and reign in Jerusalem for a thousand years. Those who are true followers of Jesus Christ will rule with him.

When King Darius the Mede defeated Babylon and killed Belshazzar, Darius kept Daniel in his administration. Once again, Daniel was recognized as an exceptional administrator. Because God gifted him with wisdom, and because he acted with integrity and was totally devoted to God, He protected the Jewish people under his care. Daniel’s exalted position, however, caused jealousy amongst other high officials and administrators. They sought to discredit him, but Daniel was too honest and too diligent. If they were going to find anything against him they would have to find it against the law of his God. Therefore, the officials appealed to the vanity of the new Persian king, Darius.* They prepared an edict for all the people of the land to refrain from praying to any other god except the king for thirty days. The trap for Daniel was set. They knew Daniel would only pray to his God, and Daniel did not disappoint them. He faithfully kept his routine of praying on his knees to the true God of heaven three times a day. Much to the king’s dismay, Daniel was identified as one who ignored the king’s edict and continued to worship the LORD his God. For this offense, the king was bound by his own unchangeable law to throw Daniel to the lions. The plot of the officials and administrators worked, but their plans were foiled. God protected Daniel in the lion’s den by sending an angel to shut the mouths of the lions.

King Darius was amazed at God’s protection of Daniel. He released Daniel and then put the troublemakers and their families into the lion’s den to meet their death. King Darius then made a decree that all of the people in his part of the kingdom must fear and reverence the God of Israel. Much to Satan’s dismay, God’s name was lifted up.

As God protected Daniel, he can also protect us. Satan does not like anyone working on God’s behalf. The devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1Peter 5:8). But as God protected his servant Daniel from being devoured by lions, he is also able to protect us in our adversities. Has God given any of us a place of prominence? A place of prominence may include a place in government, but it could also include being the head of a family, team, or an organization. God desires that we use our positions for his glory. There will be opposition, but God can protect us.

Lessons to live by: (Whew, there is a lot in this lesson)

  • God is sovereign and controls world events and leaders.
  • God protects the Jewish people from extinction. He has a plan for their future, but they will still have some difficult times before they have peace in their land.
  • We must know the Bible and be observant to know what God is doing. Then we can pray intelligently according to his will.
  • God is faithful and keeps his promises to those who seek him.
  • Are you guilty of wickedness? Has God given you time to repent? Do not delay; turn to God right now while there is time. Perhaps he will be gracious to you. (more...)
  • Seek God in true humility and faith. Confess your sins.
  • Believe God and appeal to His promises.
  • Like God protected his servant Daniel from being devoured by lions, he is also able to protect us in our adversities.

*There are differing views as to the identity of Darius. His name may have been another name for Cyrus, or perhaps Darius was an appointed ruler of King Cyrus to rule over Babylon. The latter position is taken here.

Today’s Bible memory verse: Daniel 6:26b-27a

“…fear and reverence the God of Daniel. ‘For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth…’” (NIV)

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