Daily Discipline

by Colleen Donahue

DANIEL- Part 3

Do you respect the people and the sacred things of God? What God has regard for we do well to do the same. King Nebuchadnezzar in our study of the Book of Daniel had taken God's people (the Israelites) into exile. But over the years and especially at the end of his life, he had come to see the God of the Israelites as being much superior to the Babylonian gods and to himself. Out of respect for the Israelites, he had stored their sacred treasures for safekeeping.

The scene opens upon Chapter five in Daniel with the King's son Belshazzar celebrating. Whatever truth King Nebuchadnezzar had learned about the one true God does not seem to have been passed along as we look at the character of his son who is now king.

Belshazzar must have watched his father's insanity (Daniel 4:33) and restoration to power (Daniel 4:36) and wondered about the Hebrew God that had power over kings and kingdoms. But like many thoughtless people, it did not touch him personally. Now, years later, himself the king, he is to learn the hard way and see…

The Handwriting on the Wall

I. God Cannot be Mocked

Day 1 Belshazzar is having a grand feast when he suddenly gets the idea to have the gold and silver vessels that are stored from the Israelites temple brought out for use. While using "God's dishes" he praises their own Babylonian gods. This brazen act shows contempt for his father and for God. Daniel 5: 1-4

Day 2 IMMEDIATE, is the word to notice as God looked down from Heaven on this debauchery and desecration of holy things. Daniel 5:5

Day 3 What was the king's reaction? Daniel 5: 6-9

Day 4 It is the queen (probably King Nebuchadnezzar's wife or Belshazzar's mother) that steps forward to remind him of the man that had been so helpful to King Nebuchadnezzar in the past. Notice especially these words of a pagan describing a man of god. Daniel 5: 10-12

Day 5 Before Daniel made his appearance at the king's palace, his reputation had preceded him. Believers and unbelievers alike recognize the Spirit of God within an individual. Daniel 5: 13-16

Day 6 Daniel cannot be bought by this young king and is direct with him. He shares with Belshazzar a history lesson from his father's time. When was the throne lost to King Nebuchadnezzar? When was it recognized? Daniel 5: 17-21

Day 7 Then Daniel, without fear, directly rebukes King Belshazzar. What four things is he accused of? Daniel 5: 22-23

Day 8 What three messages did the handwriting on the wall have for the king? Daniel 5: 24-28

Day 9 A message direct from the hand of God would be enough to move most men to active repentance but not this young king. He seems unmoved by the message and bestows honor on Daniel as though his kingdom would just keep going. But God had the last word. Daniel 5:29-30

Day 10 God cannot be mocked. There will come a day of reckoning no matter who it is. He may use any variety of methods to get our attention. We are meant to learn from history and pay attention to the handwriting on the wall in our own life. Galatians 6: 7-8 / Ecclesiastes 12:13-15 / Jeremiah 25: 30-31

Day 11 Keep your heart humble before God. Honor Him always and worship Him only. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 / 2 Chronicles 7:14 / Isaiah 66:2 / John 5:23

II. A New Reign in Babylon

Day 12 Kings and times seem to come and go but Daniel himself has not changed in all this time (except to grow older). He has been a stable factor through out the years. Matthew 7:24-25

Day 13 Darius, in overthrowing Babylon, marked the beginning of the Medio-Persian Empire. (This was the breast and arms of silver in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream predicted many years earlier -- Daniel 2:32)

In setting up his new government Darius recognized Daniel as a valuable asset much to the jealousy of others. Daniel 6: 1-4

Day 14 A man or woman of good character is recognized by everyone. No error or fault could be found in Daniel at his work leaving his jealous associates to find a "crack" in connection with the Jewish law. They start with a lie and then proceed to puff up the king's ego. Daniel 6: 5-9

III. The Habit of Prayer

Day 15 When Daniel heard that an ordinance had been signed, he did what he always did -- he prayed. Daniel 6:10

Day 16 In this one verse (Daniel 6:10) we learn some things about prayer. First we see that Daniel had a set place where he regularly met with God each day. A set place helps us in our busy lives to plan to meet with God. Matthew 6:6

Day 17 When Daniel came before God he got down upon his knees. He knew his place before a holy God and subjected himself to Him. Psalm 65: 6-7 / Micah 6:8

Day 18 Then we can see that Daniel had a habit of prayer. He did so three times each day. How are we to develop the "habit of prayer"? I Thessalonians 5:17 / Romans 12:12 / Ephesians 6:18

Day 19 Finally we see that Daniel had a heart for God that did not fail him in dark times. He had a consistent walk with God. He didn't just start to pray because his situation was bad. He continued to do what he always had done. This is the meaning behind praying consistently. We are meant to walk and talk with God throughout the day discussing the small things as well as the big issues and questions. Psalm 5:3 / Psalm 55:17 / Psalm 92:1-2 / Leviticus 26:11-12

IV. Can Evil Triumph?

Day 20 Sometimes it seems to, especially when there is group momentum. Everything fell into place with this plot. Daniel was caught in prayer and thereby guilty, while King Darius was trapped into having to stand by his word. Daniel 6: 11-15

Day 21 Does God hear and answer prayer? It is often the most desperate of circumstances that first gets us to our knees. King Darius did not know personally the God of Daniel but he knew enough about Him from his friend Daniel to believe that NOW was the time to start talking with Him! Have we been this intent in prayer for the people and situations of our life? Daniel 6:16-18

Perhaps Darius felt and prayed something of what King David had many years earlier… Psalm 77:1-10

Day 22 Notice that after this night with God, King Darius in his call to check on Daniel speaks of the "living God"…. He does not yet have the certainty that it is His God but he is on the right track and is hopeful. In contrast, notice the solid response from Daniel that was certain about the God he loved. Daniel 6:19-22

Day 23 It is not just words of prayer that move the heart of God but it is a believing heart behind those words. Without the solid surety that God is able to intervene and act in the situations of our life, our prayers are just empty words. Daniel 6:23 / Matthew 13:58 / Mark 11:24

In Psalm 5:12, it says that the Lord blesses the righteous and covers him/her with favor like a shield. If this is so, how do we interpret what happened to Daniel (and many other righteous men and women in the Bible)?

Day 24 A shield is needed in the time of war. It doesn't exempt us from battle but equips us for it. We may walk in the midst of trouble but God will be right beside us. Isaiah 43:2 / Psalm 66:10-12 / John 17:15

Day 25 Can evil triumph? It may for a short time because we live on earth which is Satan's kingdom. Satan is the master of all evil and is doing his best to thwart the life of God and His people. But what sure fact can give us peace? I John 4:4 / Daniel 6:24

Day 26 Are you being eaten alive by "lions"? These are painful and perhaps undeserved circumstances that are causing your life anxiety and pain. God wants our trust and our love even in our darkness. This is when the world really sees the reality of our life with God. I Corinthians 10:13 / 2 Timothy 4:18/ 2 Peter 2:9

Day 27 God in His infinite wisdom knows how to turn our worst situation into something beautiful. Here we see that the living God is preached to the whole world by a pagan king! Daniel 6:25-27

Day 28 Even in hard circumstances beyond our control God blesses those that are faithful to Him. Daniel 6:28 / Psalm 1:1-3

V. Daniel Chapter 6 as Prophetic

Day 29 Daniel -- Chapter 6 is also a picture of the time AFTER the Rapture (when Christ comes to take His church out of the world). It is a time when the Anti Christ will set himself up as world ruler and demand absolute devotion. In King Darius we have a type of the Anti Christ as he demands worship and homage to himself. Revelations 13:5-10

Day 30 Daniel in the lion's den becomes a picture of Israel in tribulation and the record of God's care for His faithful remnant during the tribulation period. Daniel is symbolic of all those that refuse to bow to the anti Christ. Revelation 7:1-4 / Revelation 14:1-5

Day 31 The enemies destroyed in Daniel 6:23-24 will have its fulfillment when Jesus returns to deliver His faithful remnant and to destroy the individuals and nations that are enemies to God. Revelation 14:6-13 / Revelation 19:11-16

Let us trust in God and thank Him, for He faithfully keeps the lives of His children in the midst of a fallen world.

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