Courtney Jacob

Daniel: Trusting God's Sovereignty

The biblical book of Daniel is fascinating. Children and adults alike can recall the stories of how God delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace and Daniel from the lion’s den. Those who read further in Daniel are also aware that it contains Daniel’s apocalyptic dreams full of imagery and symbols that inform our understanding about the End Times. But Daniel is more than its strong characters, powerful stories, and extraordinary dreams. Daniel is a message of hope for hurting people, an encouragement to the oppressed, and a testament to victims of injustice. In our Groundwork series, “Daniel: Trusting God’s Sovereignty,” we’ll study and discuss the stories and dreams we find within the pages of Daniel. We’ll examine examples of living faithfully in a culture that is skeptical of our faith, learn about God’s mercy and justice, remember that God is sovereign over all, and marvel at God’s faithfulness to always show up and care for his people. 

About Daniel

Daniel was an Israelite living in exile in Babylon, after the fall of Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah. We learn in chapter 1 that after King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, he had one of his officials choose the best and brightest young men from among the exiles in Babylon to bring into his service. 

The book of Daniel is written by the prophet Daniel. In his writing, he reminds his fellow Israelites that even in a foreign land, God is sovereign and remains in control. Daniel does this through recording stories about God’s faithfulness and deliverance during his experiences serving the kings of Babylon. Then in the second half of Daniel, he records his own apocalyptic dreams. 

Daniel’s Stories & Dreams

Anyone familiar with Daniel most likely knows the stories recorded in its first half. Chapters 1-6 contain the stories of the kings’ dreams that God grants Daniel the ability to interpret, the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace, and the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. 

In all these stories, we witness God at work through the faith and courage of his people and through each, Daniel affirms that despite all appearances to the contrary, God is in control. 

Visions of the End Times

The second half of Daniel is less familiar to many of us and the genre of the book shifts from a narrative to apocalyptic. These chapters of Daniel provide important contributions to Christian discussions about the End Times. Daniel records fantastical visions of beasts and symbols he sees in his dreams. Unlike the earlier dreams of kings, Daniel cannot interpret his own dreams and God himself provides the interpretation. 

Many believers have tried to explain and make sense of the numbers and symbols in Daniel’s dreams. Time has already proved many of those explanations false. However, there is one undoubtable truth that echoes throughout Daniel: God is sovereign and in control throughout history and over all nations and kingdoms in the future. 

Study Daniel and Be Encouraged 

Studying the fascinating stories and dreams found in Daniel allows believers to witness and remember God’s deliverance of his people. This evidence of God’s faithfulness in the past provides comfort and a firm foundation on which to rest our hope in God for the future. I invite you to nurture and strengthen your faith through our Groundwork series, “Daniel: Trusting God’s Sovereignty”:

...and together we’ll witness God’s sovereignty over all of creation, his faithfulness to always show up, and his unending care for his people.

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