Two of the best-known Old Testament stories are in the first half of the book of Daniel. Dramatic and unforgettable, they’re often included in children’s books of Bible stories. But as I read the book in its entirety as an adult, I see details of these stories that I never knew as a child, details that fortify my hope in the God I trust.
God rescues and save His people.
That hope is illustrated by the stories of Daniel in the lions’ den and of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were his three friends thrown into the blazing furnace. These are stories of incredible, miraculous rescue of God’s faithful people. Great and unforgettable stories.
As I read these stories yet one more time, I’m struck by several things —
First, the acknowledgement of God’s mighty power to save comes from pagan kings!
In both stories, the pagan kings are the ones who voice praise to Daniel’s God when they see the miraculous rescue. After Daniel walked out of the lions’ den without a scratch, King Darius sent out a proclamation announcing his belief in Daniel’s saving God. When the three friends were brought out of the furnace without one hair sizzled and with not a whiff of smoke on their clothes, Nebuchadnezzar bursts out with, “There is no other god who can rescue like this!”
No, King Neb, there is no other god like ours.
Sisters and brothers, children of the Most High God—other gods today might look powerful and might appear to offer us salvation. But none will be able to rescue us like our God can.
God rescues us on a daily basis. I think we often miss it. We are very precious to Him. He is here, right here with us, walking through every fire with us, just like He did with the men in the furnace. Big and little rescues and saves — He excels at them all. Watch for His rescue. Praise Him for it. Don’t miss it. And don’t, don’t, do not look to the wrong saviors, because nobody can rescue like our God can!
The three friends, who refused to bow down to anyone but God, stood firm with a strength I want. “Our God is able to save us from anything,” they say to the king, “but even if he chooses not to save us from this fire, we will never serve anyone but Him.”
May our faith in our God and in what He does for His people be this unwavering! Even when we have to walk into the fire…or we’re thrown into it.
And then, we look forward to God’s final, complete rescue of His people.
In the last half of the book, Daniel records his visions of the future. I can’t untangle exactly what future all of these visions refer to. Some of it seems to have already happened in Israel’s history. Yet the angel messenger tells Daniel at one point, “What you are seeing pertains to the very end time.” (See 8:19). There’s a numbering of days—but remember, we are also told that “days” means a very different thing to God than the literal meaning we give it. I don’t even try to sort it all out.
But here’s a promise: Michael, the angel, speaks of a terrible time of great anguish. “But at that time, every one of your people whose name is written in the book will be rescued.” (see 12:1)
This is the detail that matters most to me: God’s final, full rescue of His people.
Let me amend that statement, because that’s not a “detail.” That is the entire story!
Remember: You are very precious to God. We can depend on Him to rescue and save His people. Today, tomorrow, and at the very end of time.
I am trusting you, O LORD,
saying, “You are my God!”
My future is in your hands.
Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.
Let your favor shine on your servant.
In your unfailing love, rescue me.