Daniel (Letter 27, Larry Crabb’s 66 Love Letters)

“But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.” (Daniel 12:13 NKJV)

When I toss My children into the air, terror comes before delight. Put yourself in the place of my people in Daniel’s day. They felt thrown into the air with no safety net beneath them. They couldn’t see their God ready to catch them. For years, My people have misinterpreted my promises just as so many of My followers do today. They lived on the foundation of hope that David’s throne would never be vacant, that Messiah would come, sit on the throne, and restore Israel to worldwide prominence and unparalleled prosperity. They never imagined the Holy City would be destroyed or that the Holy Temple, the place of My Presence, would ever be violated. My people laughed until their hopes were shattered, exposed as faults. Then they dispared, struggling to know Me as I AM as they lived their lives in exile.

The greatest danger My people face today is prosperity, blessings that reinforce the false hope that nothing serious will ever go wrong in their lives if they just keep believing, expecting, trusting, and smiling. My people in Daniel’s day were wrestling with hard questions that the prosperous church of today never asks.

When every expectation of how your life should turn out is shattered; when I seem to you like an indifferent, cold sovereign, a promise-breaker, a useless God, abandoning parent, rejoice! You’re ready for the unveiling, to meet Me as I AM.

Like so many of My followers today, you want sound-bite theology, wisdom without struggle, formulas without mystery. Wrestle with my 27th letter until you hear these truths:

Chapter 1: you must draw a line that reflects your unwillingness to compromise with culture.

Chapter 2: depend on My wisdom as you face life’s mysteries.

Chapter 3: risk everything you cherish to obey Me.

Chapter 4: realize that no one is beyond the reach of My holy love, not even the one who has hurt you the most.

Chapter 5: I decide when the line of no return has been crossed. Never come near that line. Never scorn what is sacred.

Chapter 6: know that your enemies can never thwart My plan for your life.

Chapter 7: as culture becomes hopelessly evil, you will remain hopefully alive.

Chapter 8: you do not live in Mayberry. Never act as if you do.

Chapter 9: only deep awareness of sin in you empties your heart to receive deep wisdom about life from Me.

Chapter 10: when you realize what lies ahead, you will faint with fear. Be strong!

Chapter 11: I see the future with greater clarity than you see the past. I am in control. The story ends well. The point will make you laugh.

Chapter 12: in difficult times, the foundation of true hope will empower you to shine with the brightness of the heavens.

As for you, go your way. Your way is My way. Never despair. Your soul will experience pain that will feel like death. But hope is this: the worst turmoil opens the door to the richest gift. No matter how deep the ditch into which you fall, I will raise you up, into unspeakable joy. That is the point of this letter.

DANIEL: On the Way to the Future – From Ray Stedman<-(click here for entire Bible summary)

If you would like to know God’s program for the future, it is essential that you understand this book of Daniel.

You can’t just sit down with the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation and read them through and understand them as you would a novel. You have to study them, taking the whole of the Bible to interpret the symbols in the books of Daniel and Revelation. This is one of the locks that God has provided to keep curious minds from getting into these books without an adequate background in Scripture.

A second precaution God has taken in Daniel, and even more especially in the book of Revelation, is that he doesn’t introduce the prophetic section first, but brings us through six chapters into an understanding of the moral character he requires of the reader before the prophetic program can begin to make sense. In other words, you can’t understand the last section of Daniel unless you have lived through and understood what is involved in the first six chapters. There is no way to understand what the prophetic program means unless you first grasp the moral lessons of the first part of the book.

Now all of this is a warning to take the book of Daniel seriously and to endeavor to understand the structure of this book as we delve into it. This book divides very simply into two sections, as I have already suggested. The first six chapters are a history of the prophet Daniel himself and his friends in the land of Babylon – men of faith in a
hostile world. If you are working in a company surrounded by a godless crowd who are taking the name of God in vain every moment, who agree with the ideas and attitudes of the world and its ways, and who make fun of the things of God, showing little interest in what God says to mankind, then I suggest that you read carefully the book of Daniel. Daniel and his friends were themselves teenagers when they were first taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar and carried off to the land of Babylon. The book records in these first six chapters the pressure they underwent as they stood for their faith in the midst of these difficult surroundings.

Chapter 7 begins the prophetic section, starting with the vision of the four beasts. It is interesting that these four beasts cover the same period of time as the four divisions of the image that Nebuchadnezzar had seen in Chapter 2. That image had a head of gold, symbolizing the Babylonian kingdom; shoulders of silver, for Media-Persia; the trunk of brass symbolizing the Grecian empire, and then the two legs of iron representing the two divisions of the Roman Empire; and terminating at last in a broken kingdom, characterized by feet of mingled iron and clay. This great prophetic passage outlines history from Daniel’s day clear past our own day, to the end of time and the return of Jesus
Christ. For as the prophet watches, he sees a stone cut out without a hand strike the image on its feet, utterly demolishing it, and then grow to be a great mountain to fill the earth. Clearly this pictures the kingdom of God and the return of Jesus Christ.

Daniel – David Jeremiah (Understanding the 66 Books of the Bible)

Key thought: The Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and over the tides of human history.

Key Verse: Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. Daniel 12:3

Key Action: We must serve God faithfully, resolved to remain undefiled in a godless society, living prophetically for the future.