Mid-week Bridge Wednesday 3 July 2024

Thank you to Ian

Daniel’s story – part 3 – Retirement and Hope

Cyrus placed Darius in charge of Babylon and the preparations for Israel’s return to Jerusalem. Darius came to value and respect Daniel so he was sorely grieved when he was tricked into throwing Daniel into the lions’ den.

Daniel was at peace in God’s presence as he sat with those magnificent beasts and meditated on his past and the future for God’s people. Now in his eighties, Daniel knew he would not be returning to Jerusalem; his next challenge of faith was to let go and trust God; for that he would need humility and self-control; it would be a new, very different generation that would rebuild the house of the Lord. Two young prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, were already proclaiming God’s word. Zerubbabel was king Jehoiachin’s grandson and Joshua was in the priestly line; God’s balanced leadership of – Prophet, Priest and King – would be restored in Jerusalem.

Daniel remembered the visions and dreams he had had during Belshazzer’s time, terrible warnings of wars and destruction, but he also remembered when he had seen before him – “one like a son of man – – –  His dominion is an everlasting dominion”. Yes, the future would be difficult for the Lord’s people but God was in control and working out his purposes of redemption.

There was great joy when Daniel was released from the Lions’ den; God had been glorified and shown to be faithful. Daniel would be able to share his experiences of God’s grace and faithfulness with those being prepared to return to Jerusalem but he could not interfere; they had to learn their own lessons of faith and grace; his role now was to pray. So we have (ch.9) one of the greatest prayers of intercession ever written. He knew his own failings and identified with all Israel as he confessed his own and Israels’ sins before God – – “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. – O Lord, listen! – O Lord, forgive!” – The angel Gabriel’s reply contained even more warnings but the words – “As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given.” – reassured Daniel; his prayer had been heardand God would be faithful in redeeming his people.

The 70 years were near completion as Daniel received yet more visions; they spoke of end times and contained many warnings of wars to come but here I will summarise their meaning by quoting the one who came as the Son of Man. –

“You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not  alarmed – – – – – At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn.They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” – Matt 24

Daniel was a man, a human being born bearing the image of God like each one of us. – He became God’s friend by God’s grace and in the righteousness that comes through faith, – – The last verse of the book of Daniel reads – – “As for you, Daniel, –  you will rest and then, at the end of days, you will rise and receive your allotted inheritance.” – Dan.12 v.13


Questions: – – An old man looking back and praising God for the constant evidence of his grace and faithfulness throughout the years and looking forward confident that God was working out his purposes.

As the new generation returning to Jerusalem were being prepared to rebuild the temple and the community of Israel, what lessons could the leaders learn from Daniel’s life?

You have been asked to say a few words at Daniel’s funeral. What encouragement have you received through the life of Daniel?

Daniel’s life spanned the three ages of responsibility. Are there lessons to be learned from Daniel’s life that would help the three responsible age groups in any community to respect and support each other in the management of change?

To all those who endeavour to follow God’s way God says – “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” – – Rev.22 v.12