Daniel: Life in Babylon, Part 6

Christians, do you fear who might rule us?

The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; He guides it wherever He pleases. Proverbs 21:1  


I care deeply about who the President of the United States is. I care about which party leads the Senate and the House. I also care about the judges appointed to the Supreme Court. I vote in every election and I certainly voted in the recent election. But in light of eternity and in the advancement of God’s kingdom (which is not of this world), we would do well to keep perspective. Once again, let’s learn from Daniel.  


Daniel didn’t have a choice regarding his earthly king. As a young man in 605BC, completely against his will and without any control over his immediate destiny, he came under the direct rule of the newly-minted king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar was a brilliant and courageous military general. He expanded the control and the borders of Babylon with the defeat of such mighty nations as Assyria and Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar added Judah to his list of conquests and Daniel was part of the spoils. 


From our text, it seems Daniel wasn’t fearful of his new king and his new situation. He was highly aware, watchful, observant, and most likely carrying on a conversation with God in his head about all the events unfolding before him. Nebuchadnezzar never considered for a moment that one of the youthful Judean teenagers would come to exercise massive influence and authority over him. After all, he was the king of the world. Why would he consider such an outrageous chain of events? In Nebuchadnezzar’s mind, no power in the universe could subdue him. But in reality, Nebuchadnezzar was merely a puppet in a screenplay written, produced, directed and created by God.  


Friends, it’s no different today. Even though there are unprecedented events going on all around us, God is in control. Our world leaders are actors in God’s ultimate plan. 


In Daniel, God revealed to us an example of extreme faith, courage, and conviction. We have learned much from Daniel thus far. But to be vulnerable can be a little intimidating, maybe even a bit annoying at times. Why? It seems Daniel never faltered. He always did the right thing. He was crazy brilliant, smart, and fearless in the face of danger and death, and he completely surrendered to His God.  


Daniel was the perfect balance of the optimal spiritual qualities we all aspire toward: humble surrender to God and noble courage before men. By faith, I pray we would all grow in the grace of God to live in our Babylon with humble surrender to God and noble courage before others. 


Back to my original questions: do you fear who might lead us? The recent election was not only about people wanting a certain candidate to be elected, but on both sides, it was absolute fear of the wrong candidate being elected. What has been your level of fear regarding who would rule us? 


The funny thing about kings; whether it be the pharaoh of Egypt, the Persian king Ahasuerus in Esther, or Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel is that they believe the world revolves around them. In my book, What I’ve Learned from Amazing Women of the Bible, I wrote about this principle when unpacking the rich truths found in the book of Esther. The book of Esther was written without ever mentioning or referring to God. Here’s what I wrote: 


The story of Esther begins with a pagan king who “appears” to be the main character of the story while the Hebrew writer chooses to not include God in the story. This is a departure from the typical practice in Old Testament narratives but clearly intentional and effective. Effective in that the narrative conveys the way the world views God or should I say, doesn’t view God. Their thoughts are not on God but His works are clearly ‘seen’ throughout the entire story.   


Many people live without much thought of God. I think that’s especially true of people in positions of great power, such as the king in our story. They get up in the morning and go through the day without considering the purposes of God, the providence of God or the uniqueness of His people. They are consumed with their world, their purposes and the uniqueness of themselves.  


The drama (of Esther) begins with Ahasuerus assuming the role of “king of the world” with no mention of God. Some things just never change. World rulers have been doing the same thing ever since; thinking of themselves as men of ultimate power without even a thought toward God.  Little does Ahasuerus realize that the unseen God is orchestrating the entire scene for His purposes. Ahasuerus is simply a play actor in the drama that God will unfold. 


The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; He guides it wherever He pleases. Proverbs 21:1 


Humans (especially people of wealth and power), feel they can orchestrate their lives to bring about their own desired results without seeking the counsel of God. How foolish! How often do we fall into the same trap?   


Let’s learn from Daniel. When it comes to people in our lives who exercise authority over us, may we approach the relationships with them as ambassadors of God. Like Daniel in his new environment with a new king, may be highly aware, watchful, observant, and carrying on a conversation with God in our heads about all the events unfolding before us, day by day. Who knows what God may do?


After many years and multiple interactions with Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar ultimately placed his faith in God. 


But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever. Daniel 4:34. 


Father, all of life is ordered after your purposes. We are so blessed to know You and to be used by You to influence others toward the true knowledge of Christ. Push fear out of our minds and fill us instead with hope and trust in You — for You are indeed, doing a mighty work in us and through us. Amen!