‘Daniel resolved not to defile himself’ (Daniel 1:8). We thank You, Lord, that Daniel was devoted to You. It was not easy to live as Your faithful servant. His dedication to You was put to the test – ‘Test your servants’ (Daniel 1:12). Our faith is put to the test. We ‘suffer many trials’. Why, Lord, do You 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 You fully’ and ‘find You wholly true’ (Mission Praise, 421).
‘In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed’ (44). We thank You, Lord, that Your Kingdom is the only Kingdom which stands forever. Your Kingdom is eternal. We thank You that, 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). Teach us, Lord, to sing, from our hearts, ‘Christ 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).
‘We want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up’ (Daniel 3:18). We have no other king but You, Lord. You, alone, are King. You, alone, are to be worshipped. We are to ‘have no other gods before You’. We are ‘not to make for ourselves an idol’ which takes the place of the Lord (Exodus 20:3-4). You, Lord, must come first in our lives. You are 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). May we sing, from our hearts, ‘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).
‘His Kingdom is an eternal Kingdom; His dominion endures from generation to generation’ (Daniel 4:3). 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). You, Lord, are ‘the everlasting God’: ‘From everlasting to everlasting You are God’. Your love is an ‘everlasting’ love: ‘From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him’. You, Lord, ‘have established Your throne in heaven, and Your Kingdom rules over all’. We thank You that You are ‘our dwelling-place throughout all generations’ (Isaiah 40:28; Psalms 90:1-2; 103:17,19).
Teach us, Lord, not to ‘praise the gods of gold and silver…’ (Daniel 5:4). 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 Your Kingdom…’. We are to ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ (Matthew 6:33; 2 Peter 3:18). Teach us to say, from our hearts, ‘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).
‘He is the living God and He endures for ever; His Kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end’ (Daniel 6:26). You, Lord, are the living God. You are also the loving God – ‘His love endures forever’ (Psalm 136). You are the King. You’re a very special kind of king. You’re ‘the King of Love’. The coming of Your Kingdom will be the victory of Your love: ‘Kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of the Lord: Love has the victory for ever!’ May we enjoy the victory of Your love as we lift our hearts to You in worship: ‘Who can see Your greatest Gift and fail to worship You?’ May we enjoy the victory of Your love as we give our lives to You in service: ‘Let us labour for the Master… Let us talk of all His wondrous love…’ (Church Hymnary, 388; Mission Praise, 86,759).
‘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’ (Daniel 7:13-14). We thank You, Lord, for these great words. They 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.’ As we think of these great things, may we be inspired to lift up our hearts to You in praise: ‘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).
We read, Lord, about a ‘vision’ concerning ‘the distant future’, ‘the time of the end’ (Daniel 8:26,17). 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’ (Daniel 8:23-24). We thank You, Lord, that Satan’s power will be broken. We thank You that 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).
‘O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act!’ (Daniel 9:19). How, Lord, do we know that You will hear and answer our prayer as we look to You for salvation? – ‘The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him’ (Daniel 9:9). We come to You with our sin – We are ‘dead in our sins and wickedness.’ You come to us with Your grace – ‘By grace you have been saved through faith.’ We come to You, Lord, 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 You, Lord. It begins with Your love – Your 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).
Daniel came to God in great weakness – ‘I am helpless… My strength is gone…’ (Daniel 10:16-17). We thank You, Lord, that Daniel received great strength from You – ‘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 Your love and Your peace. You assured him of Your love for him. You called him a ‘man greatly beloved.’. We thank You, Lord, that You spoke Your Word of peace to Daniel: ‘Peace be with you.’ As You revealed Your love and peace to him, he came to realize that there was no need to be afraid. He could ‘be strong’ in You (Daniel 10:18-19). When we are weak, help us, Lord, to come to You and receive your strength – ‘His grace is sufficient for us. His strength is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Help us, Lord, to live for You – ‘The people who know their God shall be strong and do great things.’ Help us to stand against Satan – ‘The people who know their God will firmly resist him’ (Daniel 11:32). Teach us that, if we are to live for You and stand 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). Help us to rise to the great challenge of living for You and standing against Satan: ‘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).
We read, Lord, of two very different futures – ‘everlasting life’ and ‘everlasting contempt’ (Daniel 12:2). We thank You that 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.’ You give us Your promise: ‘He who has the Son has life.’ To those who ‘overcome’, through ‘believing that Jesus is the Son of God’, You give this promise: ‘I will never blot his name out of the Book of Life.’ Alongside Your promise, there is also Your warning: ‘He who does not have the Son of God does not have life.’ To those who refuse to come to Christ for salvation, You give 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). Help us, Lord, to heed Your warning and trust Your promise.