Finding God in Daniel

When I started this blog, I thought I would write more posts like this one. However, I have discovered that a conversational, visual, and topical style is more suited for a blog. But I am going to try this anyway and let the readers decide its value for them. For me, I am excited to collect and organize my thoughts and research so I can revisit it in the future. (My memory is weak at times.)

Our church is reading through The Story,  a chronological arrangement of excerpts from the Bible that focuses on God’s big picture plan (called the “upper story”). It is a great tool for getting a grasp of what the Bible is about and understanding how God has been at work. Last week’s chapter was on Daniel and the time of Judah’s exile to Babylon. Oddly, Daniel is both a source for children’s stories and for all kinds of prophecies about the future. When I taught through the book in detail, I think we took 6-9 months to work through its 12 chapters. It is a tough, but rewarding study!

This past week, though, I read through Daniel again. I was struck particularly in chapter 2 when God is called “the revealer of mysteries.” This is an unusual title for God, but a powerful one, if you stop and think about it. In fact, I should probably just write about that. However, I wanted to dig a little deeper (or at least broader). I went back through and pulled out all the names and characteristics of God that are revealed in Daniel. Wow, there are many!

I think God had a reason for revealing Himself so vividly to Daniel and the people of his day.  Because God had to discipline His people with the exile, many probably wondered who this God was. They wondered if He had abandoned them to the pagan Babylonians. Perhaps they would be scattered like their northern cousins, never to return home. Maybe God wasn’t powerful enough to protect the promised remnant for a return. If you look at the list below, you will see that God reveals some of His character to Daniel (and Nebuchadnezzar) precisely to answer these charges. He is the sovereign Lord of kings. And He will do what He says.

I urge you to consider this God revealed in Daniel — at least meditating on one of these names or qualities. He is worthy of your trust, just like Daniel and his friends experienced. Let Him be your Lord today.

Chapter 1: Daniel and friends refuse the king’s food
1:2 – Gave Jehoiakim over to Nebuchadnezzar. (Sovereign over kingdoms)
1:9 – Gave Daniel favor/loving-kindness with others
1:17 – Gave knowledge in literature, wisdom, and dream interpretation (note: pagan knowledge) – better than all the rest

Chapter 2: Daniel reveals and interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream
2:18 – God of heaven
2:19 – Revealer of mysteries (also 2:28, 47)
2:20-23 – Changes times and epoch, gives wisdom, light dwells with Him
2:28 – gives dreams to show the future (also 2:45)
2:38 – Giver of nations and nature into the king’s hand
2:44 – establishes kingdom that won’t be destroyed
2:45 – great God
2:47 – God of gods; Lord of kings

Chapter 3: The fiery furnace
3:17 – able to deliver (also 3:29)
3:25 – appears in the furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, like a son of man (might be an angel/messenger instead)
3:26 – Most High God (also 4:24; 5:18, 7:25), delivers from the furnace

Chapter 4: The testimony of a humbled Nebuchadnezzar
4:2 – doer of signs and wonders
4:3 – has an everlasting kingdom
4:31 – God who speaks; able to remove sovereignty from rulers
4:32 – ruler over the realm, gives to whomever He chooses (recap in 5:21)
4:34 – lives forever; has an everlasting dominion (also to Darius in 6:26)
4:35 – has absolute free will, absolute power
4:36 – giver and taker of reason/knowledge; restorer
4:37 – King of heaven; works are true, ways are just, Humbler of the proud

Chapter 5: Belshazzar and the fall of Babylon
5:18 – granter of sovereignty, grandeur, glory, and majesty
5:23 – Lord of heaven; holds lifebreath in His hands
5:24 – the hand writing on the wall
5:26 – ending the kingdom
5:27 – judge of the king
5:28 – dividing and giving the kingdom

Chapter 6: Under Darius, under Duress (lions’ den)
6:5 – gives law
6:16 – he will deliver
6:20 – living God (also 6:26)
6:22 – sender of angel; protects the innocent
6:27 – delivers, rescues, performs signs and wonders

Chapter 7: Vision of Daniel during first year of Belshazzar
7:9 – Ancient of Days upon throne, purity and fire (also 7:13, 7:22)
7:10 – myriads/thousands were before Him
7:13 – Son of Man
7:14 – gives dominion and everlasting kingdom to the Son of Man
7:18 – Highest One (also 7:22, 25, 27)
7:22 – rendering judgment
7:27 – dominions will serve and obey

Chapter 8: Vision of Daniel during third year of Belshazzar
8:16 – sender of Gabriel; giver of vision
8:17, 19 – knows details of the “time of the end”
8:26 – revealed something of the far future

Chapter 9: Daniel’s prayer (my favorite chapter – READ it)
9:2 – Lord, spoke to Jeremiah about the 70 year judgment
9:3 – Lord God (also 9:4)
9:4 – great and awesome God, keeps His covenant and loving-kindness (chesed) for those who love Him and keep His commands
9:5 – has given commandments an ordinances
9:6 – sender of the earlier prophets (also 9:10)
9:7 – righteousness belongs to Him; drove out His people because of their deeds against Him (also 9:14)
9:9 – Lord our God, compassion and forgiveness
9:12 – confirmed His words; brought great calamity
9:15 – brought people out of Egypt with a mighty hand; made a name for Himself
9:16 – turned anger and wrath against Jerusalem
9:18 – can hear and see (also 9:19); has great compassion

Chapter 10: Daniel’s vision in the third year of Darius
10:12 – heard Daniel’s humble prayer from the beginning
10:14 – gives understanding of the latter days

Chapter 11: Daniel’s understanding in the first year of Darius
11:32 – will be known by His people
11:36 – God of gods

Chapter 12: The Time of the End
12:2 – judge and resurrector (hinted at)
12:7 – lives forever
12:9 – concealer and sealer of some future events

Which name or characteristic speaks to your need today?