Although written more than 2,500 years ago, the book of Daniel remains profoundly relevant for God’s people in the 21st century. We shall note three areas in which Daniel can be relevant for us.
God stands sovereign over our lives. Even when things go wrong, God stands sovereign and works through the whims of human actions to provide the best for His children. The experience of Daniel in Babylon resembles that of Joseph in Egypt and Esther in Persia. These three — young people were captives in foreign countries and under the overwhelming power of pagan nations. To the casual observer they may have seemed weak and God-forsaken. However, the Lord strengthened them and used them in powerful ways. When facing trials, sufferings, and opposition, we can look back to what God did for Daniel, Joseph, and Esther. We can rest assured that the Lord remains our Lord, and He has not abandoned us even amid our trials and temptations.
God steers the course of history. At times we feel troubled by a confused and aimless world that is full of sin and violence. But the message of Daniel is that God stands in control. In every single chapter of Daniel, the message is hammered home that God steers the flow of history. As Ellen G. White says: “In the annals of human history the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires, appear as dependent on the will and prowess of man. The shaping of events seems, to a great degree, to be determined by his power, ambition, or caprice. But in the word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, behind, above, and through all the play and counterplay of human interests and power and passions, the agencies of the all-merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will”. — Education, p. 173.
God provides a role model for His end-time people. Daniel and his friends serve as role models for life in a society that holds a worldview often at odds with that of the Bible. When pressed to compromise their faith and make concessions to the Babylonian system in areas that would deny their commitment to the Lord, they remain faithful to the Word of God. Their experience of faithfulness and absolute commitment to the Lord provides encouragement when we face opposition and even persecution for the sake of the gospel. At the same time, Daniel shows that it is possible to make a contribution to the state and society and remain committed to the Lord.
Read Daniel 9:23; Daniel 10:11, 12; and Matthew 10:29-31. What do these verses say about God’s interest in our personal struggles?