Mid-week Bridge 26 June 2024

From Ian with thanks.

 Daniel’s story – Part 2 – working and serving

Daniel and his friends became well established in important positions in the Babylonian  administration. The media reports from Jerusalem were bad, the rebellion grew progressively worse. 7 years after Daniel had been brought to Babylon the young king Jehoiachin was brought from Jerusalem and imprisoned by Nebuchadnezzar. 12 more years followed but the rebellion in Jerusalem intensified so Nebuchadnezzar had the temple and the walls of Jerusalem destroyed. The Jews still rejected God’s way so, a few years later, Daniel saw the remaining captives being brought from Jerusalem; families with children, the old and the young, the rich and the poor.

Daniel was beginning to understand the grace of God. These people had been in constant rebellion against God’s way; they were reaping the consequences as Moses had said. But, God had sent Daniel and his friends earlier and placed them in such  positions that they were able to help the exiles to settle in Babylon and to “Sing the songs of Zion while in a foreign land.” Jerusalem no longer had a priest or king and Jeremiah had been silenced but God had brought the prophet priest Ezekiel along with the captives in Babylon; God’s word was being proclaimed. King Jehoiachin was in prison but David’s line was secure; there was hope for their future.

Nebuchadnezzar had another dream, a warning from God and again only Daniel could interpret its message. Nebuchadnezzar did not heed the warning;  12 months later the dream was fulfilled; Neuchadnezzar went mad. For 7 years he was not able to rule as king, but God had prepared for the protection of Daniel and the exiles in that no law could be changed whilst the king remained alive.

Eventualy, Nebuchadnezzar, the great world leader, repented and gave glory to God; he had reigned in Babylon for 43 years. Evil-merodach, his son, replaced him; he released king Jehoiachin from prison and welcomed him to his table. In the years that followed the Jews were able to follow the letter of hope from Jeremiah – – – “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce” – – (Jer 29); they were being punished in exilebut God in his grace was protecting them.

Daniel had been in Babylon some 66 years when Belshazzar committed his final act of blasphemy and Daniel was called to translate the writing on the wall. That night the armies of Cyrus, king of Persia, captured Babylon. Shortly after, Cyrus issued an edict saying that the Jewish exiles were to be allowed to go home;  the items taken from the temple were to be returned and help given in the restoration of the temple in Jerusalem. Judah had rebelled against God but, in his grace, throughout their years of exile God had been preparing for his remnant to return; Isaiah’s prophecies were being fulfilled. Daniel remained confident of God’s faithfulness; God was working out his purposes.

Questions: – – We learn in Dan. ch.6 v.10 – – “Daniel went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened towards Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”

Over the 60 odd years of working in Babylon and serving the Lord, (the 2nd age of responsibility) do you think that this personal discipline of prayer enabled Daniel to grow in spiritual strength and survive the difficulties of his life?

Why do you think Daniel prayed towards Jerusalem? – See 2  Chronicles ch.7 v.13 – 16 – And in what spiritual attitude did he pray?

Daniel prayed openly and in full view. Would the Jews in exile be encouraged by this daily, visual evidence of Daniel’s commitment and faith?

Does Daniel’s story reveal disciplines of Faith and Grace that we need to follow in all the circumstances of our modern lives?