Daniel 12:1-3 Video Devotional

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. – Daniel 12:1-3

The culmination of the book hits in chapter 12, when the time for waiting is finished and the final moments of history come to pass. The endurance will reach a fulfillment and everyone who trusts in Jesus will be woken up to everlasting life! This is the promise – the righteous that will be restored, the happy ending, the motivation to make it through all else. Though it may not feel like it now, there is an ending to this story and it is a GOOD ending! All we need to do is trust in the author of life itself.

As Daniel closes out his book, he discusses time – this is to show that these things have a definite endpoint. At the end of the time, we will reach rest and victory. Daniel modeled this endurance through the first half of the book and then told us what to expect in the second half. Righteous suffering leads to endurance and to God’s glory – which is victory and redemption. That’s what this book is about – making it to the end with your life as an example that leads others to Jesus. Be the light of the world! You are a city on a hill (Matthew 5) – God has called you to be that example. So let Him live that through you.

Daniel 11:2-4 Video Devotional

“And now I will show you the truth. Behold, three more kings shall arise in Persia, and a fourth shall be far richer than all of them. And when he has become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece. Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and do as he wills. And as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the authority with which he ruled, for his kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these. – Daniel 11:2-4

The goal of this devotional is not to get into the nitty gritty of the prophecy details. It is to see the main threads that run through the whole of this book to get to the main idea Daniel has for his readers and what he expects them to do about it – the intended response. From that, we can learn how we should understand this book in our context and how we can best respond to its message.

Again, though in much greater detail, we see the rising of evil kings and them facing off against other evil kings and rulers with the faithful to God seemingly at the bottom of the food chain of life. The end of the chapter (verse 45) finally shows that the worst of the evil kings will meet his end. So we see throughout all of Daniel’s visions, this idea of many rising evil kings, but for them all (even the really evil one) to meet their end at the hands of the God of gods. Evil will not win in the end.

That said, a lot happens in the 45 verses of this chapter, which constitutes a lot of time. In other words, there is a lot to endure before the end. Whether you choose to read this as prophecy that relates to the kings of Daniel’s time (Medes, Persians to Rome) or as end time prophecy, the same idea runs clear; there will be a lot of evil to wade through before the King of kings reigns. Endurance is a must if we are to survive through the evil.

Whether you look at Daniel’s situation (exile), the waiting of the Israelites for the coming Messiah, or everyone since then that trusts in Jesus, we are all waiting for the end of evil and for the King of kings to come quickly and put an end to the injustice. Endurance is what is called for and the first half of the book (Daniel’s stories) set us up for that.

Daniel shows us what true faithfulness and endurance look like. He is our model, our inspiration to living a righteous life that endures until the end. It makes perfect sense that he would be the one telling us what we will have to endure. It is a good ting that we can lean on Jesus, the One who emptied Himself of His power and took on the nature of a servant as we seek to persevere through this difficult times. 2020 is a perfect microcosm of this idea of endurance. So hang on and trust the One who invented time. He will see us through.

Daniel 10:10-12 Video Devotional

And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. – Daniel 10:10-12

Daniel embarks on a period of mourning and sadness that culminated in a vision of a man that led him to great fear. He prayed daily, but the visions came occasionally, and this one came with some fear. In fact, Daniel was trembling and those who were with him (though they didn’t see the vision) ran away in fear.

The man in the vision, however, calmed Daniel’s fear and explained to him that these visions were an encouragement to Daniel in that He is being used for the glorification of God and the use of His people. These visions were to be of use to others and himself and that though it will be difficult, he will bear it through. He encourages Daniel by pointing out his great character and influence, reminding Daniel that all these difficulties he has suffered through are leading to victory.

Daniel was a humble man who listened to God and as a result, though his road was tough, his been intimately involved in the mission of God and the salvation of many. He should be encouraged by this. We too, need to remember that even though the road may be difficult, God is leading us down a path that leads to His glory and the benefit of many (including ourselves). Therefore, let’s remember to endure to the end.

Daniel 9:24-27 Video Devotional

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” – Daniel 9:24-27

This passage is probably the most “outside” of any passage in this book. This is the first and only time Daniel interacts with and acknowledges the sin of his own people. I am sure, throughout his life, that he dealt with issues of sin among the Israelites quote frequently, but this is the only instance recorded. As with all of these devotional passages, I encourage you to make sure to read the entirety of the book and this chapter specifically to get the full intention of the author. That said, this should be an eye opener to us that it is included. So, what is this seeming “aside” want us to learn?

For all of Daniel’s righteous suffering we’ve seen throughout the book, the suffering that the nation is going through (in regard to the exile) is not righteous suffering. It is the result of sin – see verse 13. Sin and brokenness have brought the nation to these dire straits and there would be no quick fix. They would have to endure, and what they were going to have to endure will not be pleasant.

“Human beings become beasts when they don’t acknowledge God’s kingdom” (Bible Project). This sentence fits the path the nation was heading down and why they (and us) were so in need of the Rescuer. This cup of wrath, though, would have to be drunk, but even still, at the end of verse 27, we receive a promised ending to the suffering. God will make this all right.
Therefore, we can stand and live not as beasts, but as children of the Living God, knowing He is in control and giving us the strength to endure.

Daniel 8:9-14 Video Devotional

Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land. It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them. It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression, and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper. Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.” – Daniel 8:9-14

It can be easy to get lost in any prophecies, especially ones that depict future events. This is partly due to the fact that our nature seeks to understand the details and the “how”. We want to know what is going to happen. That’s one of the reasons that people get so into passages like Genesis 1 and Revelation, among many others, is because those have glimpses of what will happen, but they don’t share all the details – and we want to know the details! God, however, wasn’t intending to share with us the details, because that’s not the question we should be asking. For example, the better interpretative question to ask for Genesis 1 is not “what happened at creation?”, but “who created?”. That passage tells us a ton about our God who created the world. The same holds true here in Daniel.

Chapter 8 is another vision Daniel has, this time about a ram and a goat. The ram was powerful, but the goat overtook it and then grew a bunch of horns, but would be eventually overthrown. After that, things would be restored to their rightful state.
This passage is more about endurance than about knowing exactly what would happen. We can know this for a few reasons: 1) the main idea of this book is that righteous suffering leads to victory and we see victory at the end of the dream, 2) the other visions, though different in detail, match the idea of evil being finally overthrown by good, and 3) the ending of the dream focused on the idea of things being made right – justice and restoration.

This world is stuck in long-suffering brokenness and sin that has marred everything. Evil reigns here and all good can do is endure until everything is made right. While we don’t need to know exactly what or when that will happen, what God makes clear is that it will and justice and righteousness will be restored. When endurance seems impossible, this is what we can rest in; this gives us hope and patience to endure the temporary evil now.

This should encourage us to hold fast to Jesus (faithfulness, similar to what we’ve seen in Daniel’s life) and rest in the fact that He (and therefore, us) will win in the end.

Daniel 7:15-18 Video Devotional

“As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’– Daniel 7:15-18

It may seem a bit overzealous to take this entire chapter in one devotional, but it really can’t be split up easily and the prophecy comes down to a fairly basic idea. Daniel’s vision of the four beasts is crazy and intimidating to read through but can be understood by knowing how it fits in the book. Chapter 7 is part of the section of detail that comes before it, not the rest of the prophecy afterward. We know this because of the language break after chapter 7. Along with that, these early chapters act as mirrors of each other, each reaffirming their common themes and ideas (chs 2&7, 3&6, and 4&5). Chapter 2 and 7 both talk about a vision of future kingdoms that reign in power, but are not eternal. They are all taken down by the greatest kingdom, the kingdom of God Most High.

When we consider the recurring theme that is consistent throughout the book so far (righteous suffering leads to God’s glory and people’s salvation) and connect that to what Daniel said in the middle of the chapter 7 vision (between the vision and its interpretation), we see the culmination of what righteous suffering does. It leads to eternal victory! There is a reward that comes with righteous suffering and a promise that one day, it will end, because God Most High will reign and His reign will be permanent.

Whether or not you look at these visions as being kingdoms from the past (Greeks, Romans, etc…) of kingdoms of the future (end times), the main idea holds consistent – righteous suffering leads to our victory. What does this mean for you? It means to hang on, knowing that you are joining with Christ through that suffering and people who see what you go through are receiving testimony of the gospel through your life.

Daniel 6:19-28 Video Devotional

Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian. – Daniel 6:19-28

Daniel, forced to suffer through a long night in the den of lions, comes through the experience unharmed and with even more influence. By the time this night ends, Darius is running to Daniel, openly praising God and (drastically) making changes in his kingdom that favors the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is obvious, in these stories, that Daniel is repeatedly forced to suffer for the gospel. The text makes it clear that it was no fault of Daniel’s. Therefore, Daniel suffered so that the kings he served (and thus many others) might know Jehovah and place their faith in Him.

So what can we learn from Daniel and his success? It works! Daniel’s suffering led to repentance and change on those he influenced. Suffering is not fun, but it is purposeful. So hang on; if you are experiencing difficulties because God is using you in the life of other people, then your success may very well mean their life! “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). That is a guarantee for us—and it is being used for salvation for others! What a way to participate in the life of Jesus.

Praise be to the God of heaven who uses us for His glory! May we be faithful to endure.

Daniel 6:16-18 Video Devotional

Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him. – Daniel 6:16-18

I am really intrigued by the attitude of King Darius. While this ploy was ultimately pulled off by the satraps because of Darius’ arrogance and desire to have people praying to him, it is easy to see his heart as he grapples with the punishment he is forced to lay upon Daniel. Darius did not want to do this to Daniel and was observably upset over the sentence.

While some may wonder why the king couldn’t have repealed his own sentence, the story makes it clear that there were rules even kings had to follow. Darius had backed himself into a corner and Daniel was the one caught with the bill. Instead of death, however, life reigned as God would step in and use this story to change the mind and heart of the king.

We see, first with Nebuchadnezzar and second with Darius, that God will gently and faithfully work with those who are willing to be open to Him. Belshazzar certainly wasn’t and he didn’t get another chance. These other two, though, are and God graciously works with both men, drawing them to himself. It’s almost comical how Daniel gets put through the ringer in both cases! The journeys of both of these kings, though, leads to grace (or so it looks) and repentance because of Daniel’s willingness to suffer righteously for the Lord.

“We are God’s workmanship, created in advance to do good works so that others might turn and praise God” (Ephesians 2:10). We go through trials like Daniel so that other people can come to Jesus. And those people with open hearts will without questions be impacted by your service to the King of Kings. Stay faithful and remember that plenty of people are watching – and that is a good thing!

Daniel 6:10-15 Video Devotional

When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”
Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.” – Daniel 6:10-15

As we continue working through this famous story, there are a few things worth taking a solid look:
Daniel’s action after learning of the document never changed. He acted exactly the same after as he did before. In other words, he neither feared the proclamation nor its consequences, but continued seeking after God regardless. This shows us that practice and consistency are important things that will help keep us grounded when the heat is on. If spiritual disciples are not a habit for you now, they won’t be under high stress situations, either. And that’s when we need them the most.

Darius, though arrogant enough to sign the document, seems to be more like-minded to Nebuchadnezzar than to Belshazzar. Once he realized what he’d done, he tried to fix it – though to no avail, at least initially. Darius never wanted to hurt Daniel; that was only the conspirators. Darius, in fact would be rooting for Daniel through this danger.

What does this tell us? Again, if we live by the Spirit, we will stand out. Some won’t like us, but others will. And God will use that influence for His Kingdom building. Yet, in order to be successful, we have to stay committed to living our faith out even with eyes on us and the heat turned up. We can only do that if we practice our faith now, when it is easy. When life gets hard, those habits need to be there, or else they will leave you high and dry.

Daniel 6:1-9 Video Devotional

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”
Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction. – Daniel 6:1-9

Of all the situations Daniel found himself in as a result of his faithfulness and righteousness, this is the first we hear of intentional efforts to hurt him. We don’t know exactly why they made Daniel their enemy, but it is clear that it was not Daniel’s fault (hint: it never is). Because of his faith in God, Daniel again is being set up for destruction, this time by scheming from evil men. This is the beginning of perhaps Daniel’s most famous story, the one where he is thrown into the lion’s den, and I think it is interesting that the setup for this story is decidedly different. With the other situations, Daniel either “fell into” them or deliberately stepped. This is the only one where he is singled out and attacked for his faith.

And this is the one that “almost” kills him. Of course, it doesn’t (as we will see in a forthcoming devotional), but it does show us that a life lived in the Spirit stood Daniel out from the crowd. In this case, the response was certainly not pleasant, but there is still great value in mimicking this attitude of Daniel. If we choose to live our lives in the Spirit, we will stand out as well. Thankfully, that is not as big as a risk in our day and culture. It is, however, a fantastic way to build influence for the Kingdom of God. When He leads our lives, people will notice. And when people notice true, genuine faith in Jesus, lives will be changed. We will most likely suffer in some way as a result, but that is nothing compared to the surpassing glory of knowing Christ our Savior (Philippians 3:8).

Let’s take that risk and stand together in the Spirit. Who’s with me?