Spiritual Lessons and Applications

SPIRITUAL LESSONS AND APPLICATIONS


Outline:

1. God’s sovereign control over the affairs of all rulers and nations
2. God’s faithfulness to His people
3. Effective prayer
4. God’s faithfulness in fulfillment of prophecy

1. God’s sovereign control over the affairs of all rulers and nations

Dan 4:25 – “….till you know that the Most High rules in kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.”

A prominent theme in the Book of Daniel is God’s sovereign control over the affairs of all rulers and nations, and their final replacement with the True King.

  • Dan 2:20-22, 44; 2:28,37; 4:34-35; 4:34-35, 6:25-27):

God had not suffered defeat in allowing Israel’s fall (Dan 1) but was providentially working His sure purposes toward an eventual full display of His King, the exalted Christ. He sovereignly allowed Gentiles to dominate Israel , i.e. Babylon (605-539 BC), Medo-Persia (539-331 BC), Greece (331-146 BC), Rome (146 BC- 476 AD), and all the way to the Second Advent of Christ. A key aspect within the over-arching theme of God’s kingly control is the Messiah’s coming to rule the world in glory over men (Dan 2:34, 45; 7:13, 14, 27).

  • The fall of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar’s predicament

Nebuchadnezzar’s experience brings the obvious spiritual lesson that even the greatest of earthly sovereigns is completely subject to the power of God. Only when he was properly humbled did God restore him to his glory and kingdom. Belshazzar’s predicament is another illustration of the insecurity and powerlessness of the rulers of this world when confronted by the power and wisdom of God. Too often the world, like Belshazzar, is not willing to seek wisdom of God until it own bankruptcy becomes evident. Then help is sought too late, as in the case of Belshazzar, and the cumulative sin and unbelief which precipitated the crisis in the first place becomes the occasion of downfall.
In many respects, modern civilization is much like Babylon, resplendent with its monument of architectural triumph, as secure as human hands and ingenuity could make it, and yet defenseless against the judgment of God at the proper hour. Contemporary civilization is similar to ancient Babylon in that it has much to foster human pride but little to provide human security. Much of Babylon fell in 539 BC and so the world will be overtaken by disaster when the day of the Lord comes (1 Thess 5:13). But the disaster will not consume the child of God.

2. God’s faithfulness to His people

  • Deliverance of Daniel’s three friends (Dan 3)

Job 13:15 – “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

Psalm 37:40 – “And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them because they trust in Him.”

The main thrust of the miraculous deliverance of Daniel and his friends is a display of God’s faithfulness to His people even in captivity and His readiness to deliver those who put their trust in Him. Daniel’s friends refusal to worship the golden image would ordinarily call for a long discourse explaining why they could not worship the image. They recognized that all this would be of no avail and that their case was not in their hands anyway. The three men, however, also faced the possibility that God might not deliver them. They took into consideration that sometimes it is not in the purpose of God to deliver faithful ones from martyrdom. Their firm decision is one of the noblest examples in scripture of faith fully assigned to the will of God. These men asked for no miracle, they expected none. These men remained true to God under severe trial. The common excuses for moral and spiritual compromise, especially the blaming of contemporary influence, are contradicted by the faithfulness of these men. In spite of separation from parents and of the corrupting influences of Babylonian religion, political pressure, and immorality, they did not waiver in their hour of testing.

  • Daniel’s deliverance

Dan 6:10-12 – “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree:” Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O King, shall be cast into the den of lions? …”

The remarkable faithfulness of Daniel in the face of the decree that banned any form of petition to any god or man was similar to that of his three companions as they faced the fiery furnace. Although he knew the consequence if he defied the order, he nevertheless went his house, opened his windows in the direction of Jerusalem, knelt and prayed for the peace of Jerusalem and his personal needs. And he did this three times. This was not act of a person courting martyrdom but the continuation of a faithful ministry in prayer. The destruction of Daniel’s accusers and their families is another illustration of God’s faithfulness to the basic Abrahamic Covenant where God promised bless them who blessed Abraham’s seed and to curse him who curseth them (Gen 12:3).

3. Effective prayer

Dan 9:3-18 – “Then I set my face toward the Lord to make requests by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments…..”

Daniel’s humility, reverence, and earnestness in his prayer in Ch 9 are hallmarks of effective prayer. Prelude to the prayer, he “set [his] face unto the Lord. He prepared himself mentally by turning away from other things to concentrate on his prayer to the Lord. This is then accompanied by every known auxillary aid to prayer: fasting, that he might not be diverted from prayer by food; sackcloth, a putting aside of ordinary garments in favour of rough cloth speaking of abject need; and ashes, the traditional symbol of grief and humility. While God honours the briefest of prayers, as the experience of Nehemiah 2:4 indicates, effective prayer requires faith in the Word of God, proper attitude of mind and heart, privacy, and unhurried confession and petition.

Daniel prayed for restoration in three aspects. He asked God to bring back “Your city (9:16,18), “Your sanctuary” (9:17) and “Your people” (9:19). The effectiveness of the Daniel’s prayer is seen in the answer in the concluding verses of Chapter 9 (i.e.9:24-27).
With regards to sin, God promises to:

1) Finish the transgression – i.e. to restrain sin and Israel’s in particular in its long trend of apostasy
(cf 9:11)

2) Make an end of sins – i.e to judge it with finality (cf. Heb 9:26)

3) Make reconciliation for iniquity – i.e. full atonement of sin by the blood of the crucified Messiah

With regards to restoring righteousness of the people, God promises to:

1) Bring in …. Righteousness

2) Seal up vision and prophecy – i.e. no more revelation is needed and God will bring these anticipations to completion by their fulfillment in Israel’s blessing as a nation

3) Anoint the Most Holy – i.e. consecrate the Holy Place in a temple of the future that will be the center of worship in the millennial kingdom.

4. God’s faithfulness in fulfillment of prophecy

A large portion of the Book of Daniel shows God’s faithfulness in the fulfillment of prophecies. The accuracy to which God’s Word is fulfilled can be seen in:

a) The manner in which history unfolds in terms of the respective rise and fall of the four world empires,

b) The fall of Babylon spelled on the wall inscription in Daniel 5, and

c) The accurate and detailed fulfillment of the persecution of the Jews in Daniel 11 by Antiochus Epiphanes.

Deuteronomy 28 is devoted to itemizing the conditions of blessings and cursing set forth before Israel. If they obeyed, they would have every blessing, temporal and spiritual from God. If they disobeyed, they would be destroyed and scattered over the earth. Because of Israel’s persistent failure and rebellion against God, the prophesied curse upon Israel was applied. Although God is merciful, He is also righteous; for when mercy is spurned, judgment is inevitable. There is no contradiction between the righteousness of God and His mercies and forgiveness. The same scriptures (Jer 25:11-12; 29:10-14 ) that prophecised God’s judgment on Israel also manifested God’s forgiveness in their promised restoration.