The main theme of the book of Daniel is simple, yet profound: God is in control. He is in control of both our personal lives, and of world events.
We see this even in the structure of the book: 6 chapters dedicated to the personal stories of Daniel and his friends, and 6 chapters dedicated to the history of the world. Even as we dig into each individual story we see elements of both: God is in control of both our personal lives, and the affairs of the world.
Daniel knew this, and was elevated to a position of authority & influence for all his life. Nebuchadnezzar eventually learned it, but not without first being turned into an animal. Belshazzar never learned it, and was subsequently eradicated.
In the last three chapters of Daniel this theme of God’s sovereignty comes to a thrilling climax. Subsequent world events after the time of Daniel, and human history after our own lives, is still under the control of our Sovereign God.
Think about it:
- In 6th century Babylon it looked like Babylon, and then Persia, was in control. But they weren’t.
- In 2nd century Palestine it looked like Antiochus Epiphanes the terrible was in control, but he wasn’t.
- In the 1st century time of Jesus and Paul it looked like Rome was in control, but it wasn’t.
- To Christians living 200 years later it looks like satan may be in control, but he isn’t!
What is an appropriate response to this great message?
Firstly, be comforted! Truly, take some time to think about the implications of God having authority over all the affairs of our lives. He loves us. He knows what he’s doing. Nothing is beyond his reach. There is no place for panic in a person who believes in this ultimate authority of God.
Secondly, be inspired to action! Dont let this knowledge lead you to passivity. God used Daniel’s zeal, faith, integrity and ultimately his life as part of His rule over the world. He will use yours too.
Lastly, keep calm and carry on! That’s a cheesy paraphrase of the last words in the book of Daniel:
“But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days” (Daniel 12:13)