1:1-2:16 – ‘Daniel resolved not to defile himself’ (1:8). Daniel was devoted to the Lord. It was not easy to live as the Lord’s faithful servant. His dedication to the Lord was put to the test – ‘Test your servants’ (1:12). Our faith is put to the test. We ‘suffer many trials’. Why does God allow our faith to be tested by ‘all kinds of trials? – ‘The testing of your faith produces steadfastness’. ‘These have come so that your faith, which is much more precious than gold, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed’ (1 Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-3). Knowing that ‘every trial falls from above, traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love’, may we learn to ‘trust God fully’ and ‘find Him wholly true’ (Mission Praise, 421).
2:17-49 – ‘In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed’ (44). There is only one Kingdom which stands forever – the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom is eternal. Through Christ, ‘the Kingdom of God has come near to us’ (Luke 10:9). Christ is the ‘King of kings’ (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). ‘His throne will last for ever and ever’. ‘His Kingdom will never end’. ‘He will reign for ever and ever’ (Hebrews 1:8; Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15). Christ is ‘triumphant… ever reigning… enthroned for ever’: ‘Sin and death and hell shall never stifle hymns of love. So, our hearts and voices raising through the ages long… this shall be our song: Yours the glory and the crown…’ (Mission Praise, 77).
3:1-30 – ‘We want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up’ (18). We have no other king but the Lord. He alone is King. He alone is to be worshipped. We are to ‘have no other gods before Him’. We are ‘not to make for ourselves an idol’ which takes the place of the Lord (Exodus 20:3-4). The Lord must come first in our lives. He is to be our ‘first love’ – ‘the love of our heart: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart…’ (Revelation 2:4; Mark 12:30). Jesus asks us, ‘Do you love me?’ He waits for our reply: ‘I love You’ (John 21:15-17). ‘I love the Name of Jesus. King of my heart, He is everything to me’. ‘I love You, O Lord, You alone… my God who shall have all my praise’. (Mission Praise, 285,286).
4:1-37 – ‘His Kingdom is an eternal Kingdom; His dominion endures from generation to generation’ (3). The generations rise and fall – ‘You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning… by evening it is dry and withered’; ‘As for man, his days are like grass… the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more’ (Psalms 90:5-6; 103-15-16). The Lord is ‘the everlasting God’: ‘From everlasting to everlasting You are God’. His love is an ‘everlasting’ love: ‘From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him’. The Lord ‘has established His throne in heaven, and His Kingdom rules over all’. He is ‘our dwelling-place throughout all generations’ (Isaiah 40:28; Psalms 90:1-2; 103:17,19).
5:1-31 – We are not to ‘praise the gods of gold and silver…’ (4). Material possessions must never take the place of God. Seeking material prosperity is not to be the most important thing in our lives. We are to ‘seek first His Kingdom…’. We are to ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ (Matthew 6:33; 2 Peter 3:18). ‘I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold, I’d rather be His than have riches untold…I’d rather have Jesus… than to be the king of a vast domain and be held in sin’s dread sway. I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today. I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause, I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause; I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame, I’d rather be true to His holy Name’ (Mission Praise, 319).
6:1-28 – ‘He is the living God and He endures for ever; His Kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end’ (26). He is the living God. He is also the loving God – ‘His love endures forever’ (Psalm 136). He is the King. He is a very special kind of king. He is ‘the King of Love’. The coming of God’s Kingdom will be the victory of His love: ‘Kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of the Lord: Love has the victory for ever!’. We enjoy the victory of His love as we lift our hearts to Him in worship: ‘Who can see Your greatest Gift and fail to worship You?’. We enjoy the victory of His love as we give our lives to Him in service: ‘Let us labour for the Master… Let us talk of all His wondrous love…’ (Church Hymnary, 388; Mission Praise, 86,759).
7:1-28 – ‘There before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven… His Kingdom is one that will never be destroyed’ (13-14). These words point us to Christ’s description of His Second Coming, the Coming of His Kingdom: ‘They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory’ (Matthew 24:30). In Revelation 1:7, we have another echo of Daniel’s ‘vision’: ‘Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him’. ‘Lo! He comes, with clouds descending… Yea, Amen! let all adore Thee, high on Thine eternal throne; Saviour, take the power and glory, claim the Kingdom for Thine own. O come quickly! O come quickly! O come quickly! Alleluia! Come, Lord, come!’ (Church Hymnary, 316).
8:1-27 – Here, we have a ‘vision’ concerning ‘the distant future’, ‘the time of the end’ (26,17). Here, we catch a glimpse of Satan, the very powerful enemy of God’s people. Satan’s power is very frightening – ‘His power shall be great, and he shall cause fearful destruction…’. It was the power of Satan which lay behind the ‘stern-faced king’: ‘He will become very strong, but not by his own power’ (23-24). Satan’s power will be broken. Satan faces certain defeat – ‘He will be defeated’. How will he be defeated? We will not defeat him – ‘He will not be destroyed by human power’. There is only one Power able to destroy the power of Satan: ‘He shall be broken by the hand of God’. ‘Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
9:1-27 – ‘O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act!’ (19). How do we know God will hear and answer our prayer as we look to Him for salvation? – ‘The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him’ (9). We come to God with our sin – We are ‘dead in our sins and wickedness’. He comes to us with His grace – ‘By grace you have been saved through faith’. We come to God, deeply conscious of our sin. We know in our hearts that we can do nothing to save ourselves. The way of salvation can never begin with the word, ‘I’. It always begins with God. It begins with His love – ‘His great love for us’: ‘God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our sins’ (Ephesians 2:1,4-5,8).
10:1-11:13 – Daniel came to God in great weakness – ‘I am helpless… My strength is gone…’ (16-17). From the Lord, Daniel received great strength – ‘The One who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength… When He spoke to me, I was strengthened…’. Daniel’s strength came from the love of God and the peace of God. God assured Daniel of His love for him. He called Daniel a ‘man greatly beloved’. God spoke His Word of peace to Daniel: ‘Peace be with you’. As God revealed His love and peace to him, Daniel came to realize that there was no need to be afraid. He could ‘be strong’ in the Lord (18-19). When we are weak, let us come to God and receive His strength – ‘His grace is sufficient for us. His strength is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9).
11:14-45 – We are to live for God – ‘The people who know their God shall be strong and do great things’. We are to stand against Satan – ‘The people who know their God will firmly resist him’ (32). Living for God and standing against Satan, we must ‘put on the whole armour of God’. ‘Strong in the Lord’, we ‘take our stand against the devil’s schemes’ (Ephesians 6:10-11). ‘Soldiers of Christ, arise and put your armour on, strong in the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son… From strength to strength go on, wrestle and fight and pray, tread all the powers of darkness down and win the well-fought day that, having all things done and all your conflicts past, ye may o’ercome through Christ alone and stand complete at last’ (Church Hymnary, 441).
12:1-13 – We read of two very different futures – ‘everlasting life’ and ‘everlasting contempt’ (2). We receive ‘eternal life’ through ‘believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God’. Through faith in Him, we ‘know that we have eternal life’. God gives us His promise: ‘He who has the Son has life’. To those who ‘overcome’, through ‘believing that Jesus is the Son of God’, God gives this promise: ‘I will never blot his name out of the Book of Life’. Alongside His promise, there is His warning: ‘He who does not have the Son of God does not have life’. To those who refuse to come to Christ for salvation, God gives this warning: ‘If anyone’s name was not written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire’ (John 20:31; 1 John 5:5,11-13; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 20:15).