Hello Beautiful People!
Its amazing to see so many of you on board with the #DanielChallenge! Even those that haven’t done the previous Bible Challenges ( #EstherChallenge , #RuthChallenge, #JamesChallenge and #LWChallenge.) we welcome you! For those that still don’t know what it is, don’t worry!
The Daniel Challenge is a 12 day challenge, where we read the 12 chapters in the book of Daniel in the Bible! It is not just about reading, I would love for us to share our understanding of what we have read with each other, so as you read, feel free to hashtag #DanielChallenge if you have twitter. In addition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your notes for each chapter, or a summary and I will put it up on this blog page! The book of Daniel really focuses on our character and identity, especially in the area of being CONSISTENT and LOYAL which I believe is so key in really getting the most out of our Christian walk and abiding in God’s will for us! Some points I haven’t touched on in my summary are covered in everyone else’s contributions, OR I have purposely left out to encourage you guys to touch on! 🙂
Day Eight- Chapter Eight & Nine
Thank God for the visions and dreams given in the book of Daniel! As part of the #DanielChallenge, this is now our second encounter with the prophetic chapters of Daniel. We saw that in Chapter 6, that the episode of the Lion’s Den was parallel to the scenes leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus (See video for explanation). So there has been a lot of foreshadowing and chronological history in the previous chapters (1-6), now we are getting into the prophesies (7-12).
Disclaimer // Guidelines for interpretation
Interpretations of Daniel’s prophecies differ widely. Liberals reject all prophecies, because they require a sovereign God and a miraculous revelation of future events AND despite conservative, evangelical theologians believe the prophecies in Daniel are true, their interpretations differ greatly. Whether liberal or conservative, our conclusions largely develop from our assumptions and the product of our interpretation. For this reason, I wish to state the foundational assumptions and principles for when we read this chapter and subsequent prophetic chapters.
- The Book of Daniel is a part of the Holy Scriptures, and is inspired by God, accurate, and trustworthy.
- The prophecies of Daniel must be understood in relationship to and in light of the other prophecies of Daniel.
- These prophecies must be understood in light of their historical background as provided in Daniel.
- Prophecies not completely fulfilled cannot be fully understood until after their fulfilment. At least the final portion of chapter 7 has not been fulfilled. Even those portions which some believe have been fulfilled, peoples understanding differ about how they have been fulfilled.
- Above all, the prophecy in this chapter means precisely what God says it means in this text, nothing more and nothing less. We should not spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy trying to fill in the blanks God has left. Our attention should be given to what is clearly and emphatically said. In our passage, Daniel asks for and receives an explanation. What God determined to reveal to Daniel should be enough for us.
KEY POINTS FOR ME
Fear: The humanness of Daniel AGAIN
What I loved about chapter 8 is that it showed the humanness yet spiritual nature of Daniel again! Daniel was fearful of the dreams and visions that were shown to him by God (Daniel 8:27), even to the extent that he became ill!
I, Daniel, became very weak and was sick for several days after that vision. Then I got up and went back to work for the king, but I was very upset about the vision. I didn’t understand what it meant.
Just like many of us are scared of certain dreams that we have or even reading the book of Revelation in the bible which speaks of things to come. I guess his fear was not the ‘worldly’ kind of fear that can paralyse one, but it was the ‘fear of God’, fear of his power, reverence and respect for His sovereign authority.
The great thing about Chapter 8 is at the end, despite Daniel being exhausted! In these verses, and in many others, God has revealed the end from the beginning. The vision of the end is astonishing. It can be appalling. But it is also encouraging. God has not only revealed the destruction of the Antichrist but also the victory of His son! And because of this we have hope. We know who wins! We can turn and read the end of the book and be completely assured of the wonderful plan that God has to bring about the return and reign of the King of Kings. Rest assured that God declares the end from the beginning and His word cannot fail. Just make sure that you have made your peace with Him and are on the right side!
The NEED for prayer
Chapter 9 highlights our need to pray, especially about the things that worry us. Daniel 9:3-19
Not only that, it emphasises how important it is to pray for our nations. Our nation like Israel has fallen away from God. We need more prayers now than ever! It reminds me of my pastor’s preaching last Sunday on Jeremiah 2:11.
Has a nation ever exchanged its gods?
(Of course, its gods are not really gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their glorious God
for idols worth nothing.
Our nation, our world has essentially exchanged God for gods…exchanged GLORY for nothing. So it is important to be prayerful!
Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear us and do something! For your sake, don’t wait, because your city and your people are called by your name. Daniel 9:19
Now there were a few things that stood out to me in this prayer:
- Daniel is very plain when it comes to sin! There isn’t a lot of watering down or blame shifting going on! He is brutally honest about the condition of their current state.
- Over and over Daniel associates himself with his people Israel. Daniel himself was a righteous man yet he identifies himself with his fellow Jews in this prayer and speaks of their sin as his own. In a sense it gives us a small picture of The One who would one day not only intercede for fallen humanity but would totally identify himself with their sin by taking it upon Himself and destroying it at the cross! ANOTHER PARALLEL AS WE SAW IN CHAPTER 6!
Sincere prayers get answers!
When you first started praying, an answer was given, and I came to tell you, because God loves you very much. So think about the message and understand the vision. Daniel 9:23
How encouraging it must have been for Daniel to hear and know this and how encouraging it is for us to know that the prayers that we pray in accordance to God’s will, have already been answered because of His love for us. This is the faith we have!
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14
Daniel’s actions in chapter 9 was an enactment of the scripture in James 5:16!
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
What or who do you compare God’s people to?
In chapter 9, what is the measure that Daniel uses to judge where Israel is at?
Does he compare them to the Babylonians?
Does he compare them to what they were like in previous generations? No, not at all.
The only measure that is suitable to use is one that compares their current state with the word of God.
The world is gradually sliding away from God’s truth and laws. The church is following behind. There is certainly still a gap in morality between the world and the church so we look at that gap and think everything is okay. And yet all the time the slide continues. Daniel was correct in judging their condition based on what the word of God says, and we should do the same!