Imagine being taken from your home, brought to a hostile land, and forced to serve a foreign government. As Daniel and his companions learn what it means to serve God in exile, they live faithfully with steadfast hope in God’s promises and protection. Powerful kings rise and fall, but God is at work—establishing a kingdom that will surpass and crush all other kingdoms. Like Daniel, we cannot always understand God’s plan, but we can rest in his active direction over all things large and small, looking forward with hope to Jesus’ eternal reign.
The book of Daniel begins with loss and loyalty. As Daniel and his companions navigate the challenges of living in exile, they remain faithful to God. While this story may seem distant from our current narrative, we also live in exile, and we must wrestle with the same realities—sometimes God allows suffering, yet he has equipped us with everything we need to live on mission for him.
When the wise men of Babylon cannot reveal Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, there are dire consequences for all. However, Daniel acts with wisdom and discretion. He is willing to make himself vulnerable, step into the gap, and allow God to work through him no matter the outcome.
When Daniel reveals and interprets the king’s dream, we learn that while Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom is powerful, God’s Kingdom will prevail. In his mercy, God offers Nebuchadnezzar an opportunity to repent. Likewise, God calls us to abandon our own kingdoms and live godly lives in pursuit of his mission.
In this well known passage, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego face extreme hostility to their faith. However, their faithfulness creates an opportunity for God to put his power and sovereignty on display for the entire nation of Babylon. As believers, we also live in a hostile world and must learn to trust God and release the outcome to him.
As Nebuchadnezzar tells the story of his dream, we see a man full of pride and arrogance humbled by God. The drastic nature of Nebuchadnezzar’s reckoning is a warning—if we do not deny ourselves, turn from our sin, and humble ourselves before God, then he will humble us.
Power has passed from Nebuchadnezzar to Belshazzar; however, the new king does not learn from his predecessor, and he comes under God’s judgment. Daniel, who has fallen into obscurity, remains humble, faithful, and willing to serve God on his terms. As kingdoms rise and fall, God continues the work of advancing his Kingdom, which will crush all others.
In this dramatic passage, Daniel is targeted and his life is at stake. Because Daniel has cultivated a heart of trust in the living God, he remains steadfast in difficult circumstances. And ultimately, Daniel’s loyalty is used by God to advance his Kingdom and make his name great.
Daniel, famous for his interpretation of dreams, receives a troubling and confusing vision. In it, we see earthly kingdoms ravage the world, bringing chaos, terror, and injustice. However, God is at work establishing his Kingdom. And ultimately, order, glory, and justice will endure, and God’s people will reign for eternity.
In the face of another prophetic vision, Daniel is troubled, confused, and terrified. Prophecy was challenging for Daniel, and it continues to be challenging for us. However, even though we know that difficulty lies ahead, we can hold firmly to our faith and the promise that Jesus offers us hope beyond this world.
In his old age, Daniel encounters a prophecy in the Scriptures foretelling the exile that he has experienced for most of his life. His response is one of humility, dependence, and hope in God’s covenant love for his people. This posture of repentance should also mark our relationship with God.
In this passage, Daniel is visited by a messenger from God—this experience overwhelms him as he is already in mourning for the plight of his people. However, God’s message is one of comfort and affirmation, giving Daniel strength and life for what lies ahead of him.
God’s messenger reveals the future to Daniel, and it is full of suffering, injustice, and systemic evil at work. However, God will be with his people, giving them strength and hope for a future beyond this world.
At the end of Daniel’s life, it becomes increasingly clear that there are hard times ahead for God’s people. However, God also promises hope and rescue. Suffering and pain are realities for us as well, but they point us towards our greatest hope for life beyond this world—Jesus.
These daily readings will help prepare you for the upcoming teaching you will hear this weekend at Grace Church. These passages will create some context for the sermon by showing you Scriptures the teacher might be quoting and some passages that contain related ideas. Our hope is that as you follow this reading plan, it will help you become more defined and directed by Scripture.
WEEK 1: Faith in Exile
WEEK 2: The God of Wisdom and Revelation
WEEK 3: A Kingdom that Will Never End
WEEK 4: Idolatrous Demands
WEEK 5: Nebuchadnezzar's Humbling
WEEK 6: Babylon's End
WEEK 7: The Lions' Den
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.
In Daniel chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar dreams of a statue of a man comprised of different materials. This man represents all earthly kingdoms and powers that will be ultimately overcome by Jesus’ eternal reign. In the dream, this statue is crushed by a stone cut from a mountain, not made by humans, which represents God’s eternal kingdom.
“During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever.” - Daniel 2:44
The golden head represents Babylonian rule, led by Nebuchadnezzar and then Belshazzar.
Inferior to Nebuchadnezzar's reign, the Medo-Persian empire is depicted by the breast and arms of silver. Notable kings include Darius and Cyrus.
Next, the belly and thighs of bronze symbolize Grecian rule and the reign of Alexander the Great.
Made of iron, the legs represent a ruthlessly strong kingdom which crushes all its predecessors—Rome.
Eventually, the Roman monarchy weakens and divides. Some branches remain strong while others are weak—this is depicted in the feet made of both iron and clay.