Daniel 1: 1—2: 23
Our first real apocalyptic book! All this means is that the meat of this book is teaching us about the end times. Apocalyptic literature is known for having a lot of imagery. Don’t worry though, the Bible always defines its imagery, so we don’t have to speculate on what this or that means. That is not good for anyone because you start to see signs and wonders everywhere that have nothing to do with scripture.
Daniel was written during the Exile. Details of the book and contextual clues place it in the 6th century BC. But even more authoritative than that, the book itself tells us when it was written, and since all scripture is God breathed, we can take that to the bank. The purpose of the book was to teach the Israelites a few important things. 1. How to honor God in the Exile. 2. About the end times. 3. To teach the Gentile nations who God is. (also a running theme in the Bible) As we read through the book, we must keep these things in mind so we don’t take a weird detour.
The section today gives us the historical background so we can place Daniel in the right part of the Bible story. But we also learn about Daniel’s character. He is finding a way to honor the Lord and not get beheaded. And God blesses him for that. We will see God’s hand over Daniel throughout this story, teaching us that He really is sovereign over all. This section today also authenticates Daniel’s position as a prophet. Remember, God will always give near and far predictions to authenticate His messengers. He will also always define the meaning of a vision to authenticate any messages, so we know they are from Him.
1 Peter 3: 8—4: 6
So, if we do all the things we read about yesterday, and we deal with each other compassionately, evangelism will be easy because we will be so different from the world that unbelievers will come up to us and ask about our hope. Do you see that? When the transformation happens and we are walking out our faith, people notice without us even having to harass them! And when they do ask, you respectfully tell them about your Savior and what He has done in your life, and let Jesus do the rest.