Read: Daniel 12
As for you, go your way until the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days, you will rise again to receive the inheritance set aside for you. Daniel 12:13 NLT
Over the past months we have traveled with Daniel and his friends out of their homeland and into captivity; we have been swept into the courts of kings, smelled the furnace burn, felt the fur of the lion, wondered at strange visions, and gazed in awe at the angels. It is hard not to get swept up in the book of Daniel. It’s also hard to leave behind such a great book, yet to the end we have come.
Often when we come to the end, we look back at the beginning. Daniel begins like this:
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. Daniel 1:1-4
Daniel opens with the land being besieged, Nebuchadnezzar reigning, God’s house being vandalized, and the best young men around being put into service to the new king. It doesn’t get much better as he encounters pagan kings, a hand writing on the wall, and the threat of death by lions just because he prayed!
However, if we only focus on the faith of the man, we will miss that Daniel is continually pointing to the faithfulness of God. You see, the book of Daniel isn’t about Daniel: it’s about God. It’s about how God works, moves, and reigns. It’s about how God loves, hears, and answers the prayers of His children. It’s about how no matter the outcome on earth– pleasant or harsh– our hope isn’t here. Our hope is with Him and the promise of dwelling with Him for all eternity.
Hebrews 2:8 says, “Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.”
Daniel lived many years before the writer of Hebrews, but I believe that day, as Daniel 12 unfolded, Daniel got a glimpse of what was to come. Nothing was outside of God’s control! He couldn’t understand it exactly, but he knew that there was hope. He trusted the truth of this.
Daniel stood before a king when a strange hand appeared and wrote on the wall because he trusted that God would be faithful to give him the interpretation. Why? Because though he might not have seen it clearly, he trusted that God was in control.
When Daniel was speaking with angels and seeing visions that he could hardly grasp, he trusted God would give him the wisdom and strength needed to witness the visions. Visions weren’t outside of God’s control.
Daniel served pagan kings even though they pretty much all threatened to kill him if they weren’t pleased with his service, and what did he do? He continued to do his job. (Daniel 8:27) He did this not to serve them, but to serve the LORD–the One he knew was in control.
Over and over Daniel showed his trust in the Lord, and, at the very end of Daniel, we see him being asked to trust once more. He stood there wondering and asking what it all meant and was told to go and rest. He was being told to trust. He was called to trust that his days of laboring would come to an end, to trust that he would have an eternal place with the Father, and to trust that all things were under God’s control even if Daniel couldn’t see or understand them.
Daniel’s hope and call to trust isn’t so different from ours. We look around and have a hard time seeing that everything is in subjection to Christ, but we must trust that it is. We can trust that Christ is at work, and that the good work He began hasn’t come to an end.
We live in the middle of “already and not yet.” Christ has already come. He has already secured our salvation through His own death. He has given us a home and a hope of eternity through his triumph over death. But we haven’t yet entered into the bliss of eternity with Him.
We live where we see the brokenness around us. Even more than that, we feel it and interact with it. We see it when grief hits, when hardships come, when it’s just been one of those days where you spill your coffee, burn your microwave popcorn lunch at work, get a papercut, or stub your toe. Big, little, it doesn’t matter; this world is broken, and we know it.
Thankfully Hebrews 2 goes on:
“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” Hebrews 2:9-10
The hope that comes from the cross and the resurrection is so real you shouldn’t be able to get over it. Jesus is the founder of our salvation. He brought us to glory. He tasted death, so you and I don’t have to. He is crowned with glory and honor.
Daniel didn’t have the beauty of the cross before him. He didn’t have the knowledge of salvation through the Son of God. He looked ahead knowing that something wonderful was coming, but he wasn’t sure exactly what.
Daniel wasn’t a perfect man, but he was a faithful one. I wonder if the same can be said of you and me. Are we faithful? Do we trust when things don’t make sense? Does our hope in our salvation lead us to leave behind the doubt and obey regardless of our circumstances?
Daniel labored hard. He loved, prayed, obeyed, and served in a way that would put us to shame. However, I don’t think Daniel would want us to get discouraged because we can’t be like him. I think he would encourage us to look not at him, but rather to look at the Lord and trust. Trust that the Lord will be faithful, and He will show you that He is. Trust that the Lord will hear your prayers, and He will answer you. Trust that when the Lord leads you to places you don’t understand, He will give you the strength to take the next step.
Brothers and sisters, trust the Lord. Place your hope in Him. He is the only faithful one. Obey and serve in such a way that you, like Daniel, will be told by the Lord that your work is done and you can rest.
How has the book of Daniel stirred your hope in Christ?
How has the study of Daniel challenged your understanding of the sovereignty of God in the broken world in which we reside?
Do you trust in the Lord regardless of the circumstances surrounding you?