Pastor Jason, C3 recently completed a series on Daniel entitled “Against the Flow”. Now, a few months later, what themes stand out to you or what principles keep resonating with you?
What comes to mind, after having preached through Daniel, is God’s faithfulness. He is faithful to all involved. He is faithful to Daniel, from a young age and throughout his long life. He is faithful to Daniel’s friends in their trials. And he is faithful to Daniel’s people, the people of Israel.
God told the Israelites that because of their sin they would go into exile. Now, they are in exile. He told them they would return from exile. God was faithful to bring that about.
Then, when we get to the second half of the book, we see that God is promising to be faithful about the future.
When I first studied Daniel, the initial focus was on “going against the flow”--the idea of not giving in to the pressures of culture. That clearly is a major theme. However, I found that I was most impacted, knocked over even, by God’s faithfulness to his people and his promise of faithfulness in the future.
That’s really the thread that brought the book together for me. The book has two sections; the first half is narrative, the second half is apocalyptic prophecy. A lot of people separate those two: one section being easy to preach on, the other not, one section being easy for kid’s Sunday School classes, the other not.
So, that was my main takeaway; God’s always been faithful, he is faithful now, and he promises to be faithful in the future.
At the time we were preaching the series, the church was probably most concerned about the aspect of cultural pressures. Times have changed now, with the COVID impact, but God’s word still speaks to our needs.
That doesn't mean that God promises deliverance in this world. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego made that clear when they told the king, “Even if God does not rescue us from your hand, we will not worship the golden image”.
However, God does promise spiritual deliverance. We can expect God to be faithful in that way. That is our hope.
Another intriguing part of Daniel is the prophecy about the “Son of Man” in chapter 10. That is Jesus’ favorite title for himself. So, it reminds us of the role Christ will play in God’s promise of faithfulness.
The Son of Man was whom Daniel and God’s people were expecting. So, it speaks to Jesus’ first coming. But, later in the book the prophecy goes beyond that, that is, to his second coming.
Daniel’s prophecy reveals some important things to us about Jesus; how he will return, that he is worthy of worship, for example. Jesus understood the Son of Man to be himself. So, it can be a confusing concept but important nonetheless.
The final theme that stands out to me is this: “we need to be bold and we need to prepare our children to be bold”. Daniel and his friends were teenagers went taken into exile. We don't know how but they were prepared. They were bold. They persevered.
That is an encouragement—and a challenge—to every parent. We don't know what the future holds, or where our children will be. So, it is a reminder of the importance of what we teach, the need to be bold, and, ultimately, whom we serve.