As a young man, Daniel resolved to remain obedient to God throughout his life. As we encounter him in his later years, we find that he stood firm in his decision to live for the Lord. Alistair Begg teaches that Daniel was distinguished because of his obedience to God and faithfulness in his work, yet for these reasons he was also despised by his peers. Looking to Daniel as an example, we are challenged to consider what it looks like to trust God and serve Him faithfully in the midst of a world that opposes Him.
Facing an edict forbidding prayer to anyone but the king, Daniel continued his established pattern of private prayer to Almighty God. Alistair Begg explains that Daniel’s steady faithfulness, unjust suffering, and ultimate deliverance must point us forward to the greater conflict at hand. Despite the best efforts of the evil one to destroy the kingdom of God, our faithful Savior is victorious. We can look to Him in times of crisis knowing that He lives, reigns, and is mighty to save.
King Belshazzar threw an extravagant feast marked by sacrilege, idolatry, and pride. Although he knew how God had dealt with Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar failed to humble himself before the Lord. Alistair Begg explains that this story represents a major theme of Daniel, that God has authority over every earthly ruler and kingdom, and He is the only one worthy of our worship. No one is innocent before God, but He freely offers forgiveness to those who humble themselves before His goodness and power.
God warned Nebuchadnezzar in a dream to repent of his rebellion and pride, but he continued in sin, placing his trust in his own kingdom and authority. Alistair Begg reminds us that it is God’s great mercy that gives each person the opportunity to repent and turn to Him, but His justice awaits if we refuse. Understanding the sovereignty of God will either provoke us to rebellion or draw us to humbly bow before Him who establishes and removes the rulers of the earth.