As a child (and as an adult with a healthy appreciation for animated movies), I loved the Veggietales version of how “Rach, Shach, and Benny” dramatically stood up for their faith and were miraculously saved from a fiery furnace. Daniel escaping a den of ravenous lions in his unwavering loyalty to God was also a staple of my Sunday School days. Decidedly less fun to explain to children, however, are a giant, disembodied hand writing on a wall to bring warnings of death and doom, and troubling visions of “terrifying and dreadful” beasts.
Talking about prophecy and visions can be awkward in a world which prizes the rational and scientific. The same goes with this week’s Revelation readings, which are filled with an assortment of otherworldly creatures and many, many eyes. It can be hard to reconcile such biblical imagery to our present reality, but Daniel and his friends give us insight on how to bring God’s word into a starkly contrasting environment.
Despite being literally attacked by the people they serve, the four young men never act vindictively or with ill-intention towards them. Daniel speaks with gentleness to King Nebuchanezzar, who literally tried to burn Daniel’s friends alive, when interpreting the King’s troubling dreams (4:19). King Darius’ desperate efforts to save Daniel from his own law also clearly reflect Daniel’s good conduct while serving in the royal court.
With God’s help, Daniel never compromises on his beliefs, but does not stop engaging with the culture he lives in, or loving the people he serves. Daniel is the hot or cold water in a world where being lukewarm would be much easier, and involve a lot fewer hungry lions.
- Where are you a Daniel in your life? Do you know non-believers who could use some godly input in their lives?
- Have you compromised on your beliefs in any areas of your life?
- How well do you love the people in your life who do not yet know God?
- “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” What is God saying to you this week in your reading of his work, and do you have the ears to hear?