(Note: This is the 2nd in a series of posts on Daniel’s life)
Babylon Came To Jerusalem
The Book of Daniel begins with these haunting words: “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it. The Lord handed Jehoiakim king of Judah over to him, along with some of the vessels from the house of God” Daniel 1:1-2. And, v.6 states that Daniel, among others, was exiled from his home, in Israel, to the land of Babylon. This would be God’s story about Daniel; and, hopefully, you find comfort in knowing that God is also writing your story! Just like Daniel’s story, there is a purpose to the story of your life!
Nothing Is Random
There is NOTHING random about it! God is in the details! Just like any great writer takes you through all kinds of twists & unexpected turns until the end, when he ties up all the loose ends & it all makes sense, God does the same thing as He writes our stories. We can have faith, like Daniel, that God is writing all the twists & turns, the heartaches & the disappointments, into the stories of our lives & at the end He’ll bring closure to it all & make sense of it! We may not know how He’s going to make it work; but, trust Him, He will. It was the truth of God’s Word that sustained Daniel because his story was birthed in pain, suffering, and separation.
Nebuchadnezzar Was A Bad Man
Daniel’s story is about EXILE— that’s where chapter 1 begins. Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, was not a very nice man. History records him as one of the most brutal, powerful, and ambitious kings the world has ever known! He was arrogant and egotistical! Babylon has such an ungodly reputation, in the Bible, that it seems to be used as a metaphor— in the Book of Revelation— for the evil world system that anti-Christ will control, in the last days, before Jesus returns. This is what God writes into Daniel’s story.
Why Would God Allow This?
Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon “laid siege” to Jerusalem. That’s a military term describing an operation employed, by an army, to capture a fortified place by surrounding it; and by cutting off all communications & supplies; and by deploying weapons against it! Why would God allow this? That’s the kind of question we continue to struggle with today, don’t we? We wonder aloud why God would allow the pain and suffering and disappointments that we face in life. We wonder aloud why God would allow our nation to become more and more corrupt. We wonder aloud why it seems that evil men rise to leadership and why good men are seldom elevated.
God Choreographed All Of It
For Daniel & Israel, we wonder why God wrote this into their story. The siege was the result of God’s judgment for disobedience. When God gave Israel the land of Canaan, as an inheritance, He warned them that they were being used by God to drive out the wickedness in the land; and, that He would also drive them out of the land if they behaved like the nations they dispossessed! And, despite multiple warnings, they disobeyed & worshiped idols! They dishonored God’s Sabbath! Though there were times of revival & a brief return to God, the gradualism of sin & wickedness overtook every level of the nation from kings to priests to citizens. They preferred darkness over light; so, God judged them. He didn’t just ALLOW it, “…the LORD HANDED Jehoiakim, King of Judah, over to him…” God WROTE it into the story!