Daniel Sermon Series – Spring 2018

In May and June, we reflect on the book of Daniel. We learn a lot about the main characters: Daniel, who is steadfast and faithful in dire circumstances, and who was blessed by God with great wisdom and insight; his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, whose faithfulness to God does not waver either, even as they were thrown into the furnace. Then there’s the cruel, insecure and utterly self-centred king, Nebuchadnezzar. We need to ask ourselves: would we dare “to be a Daniel” in our lives, and stand up bravely for the things we believe in?

In Daniel 1, we learn some of the background to the story: the tactics of the Babylonians to humiliate their foes, the courage of Daniel in refusing to eat the meat that had been offered to the false, fake gods of the Babylonians, and the faithfulness of God to Daniel and his friends through all of this.

In Daniel 2, we read about an episode in the life of the king of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar)’s life when he had a nightmare that he couldn’t remember. What we see in this episode are two very different people: one who is insecure and hostile (Nebuchadnezzar), and one who places his trust in the Lord, and rests easy in that trust in the Maker of Heaven and Earth (Daniel).

In Daniel 3, we see yet another example of just how hostile the environment is in which the Jewish exiles had to live after they had been deported to Babylon. Time and again, the insecure, cruel king Nebuchadnezzar made decrees or took decisions that put Daniel and his friends into peril. But time and again, Daniel and his friends did not yield to the dictats of this ungodly despot. Time and again, God rescued them. This time the focus is on Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

In Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar seems to have a change of heart – finally. He declares for all to see what God has done for him. The king speaks of God as eternal and all-powerful. Could it be that the king has come to genuine faith in God? We see a number of developments in this chapter that suggest that this may indeed be happening…

In Daniel 5, we look at God’s dealings with Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Belshazzar. The story of Belshazzar is sad, because Belshazzar repeatedly ignored the generous offers by God to repent and turn from his evil ways. At a certain point, it was too late for him, because of his stubbornness and hard-heartedness. May the Lord prevent us from ever falling into the same situation!