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The Lord used Daniel to witness and spread His truth to the kings of Babylon and Medo-Persia. He wanted them to know about the true God – the Creator of heaven and earth. And the Lord wanted these pagan kings to have a chance to be a part of His global plans to save mankind.
An ambassador to Babylon
Daniel was sent by God to touch the life of King Nebuchadnezzar. This king was not only an emperor of the greatest nation of the time but was also extremely intelligent. He had an inborn sense of right and wrong. And he was, called “the mighty one of the heathen” (Ezekiel 31:11). Therefore, he was appointed by heaven and had a role in God’s plan. Of him, the Lord said, “Now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant” (Jeremiah 27:6).
The first four chapters of Daniel record the way by which the Lord won the loyalty of the king. He needed a man who would be a proper representative of His heavenly principles at Babylon. So, He selected His servant Daniel to be the envoy to Nebuchadnezzar. The ways God used to bring Daniel, a prisoner, to the attention of Nebuchadnezzar, and the ways by which Nebuchadnezzar came to trust Daniel and His God, illustrate the method of how God uses people today to fulfill His will on earth. God used Daniel because Daniel was a man of moral integrity and purity. His sole purpose in life was to glorify His Creator.
Daniel’s introduction to the king starts in chapter one. There, we read that Daniel “purposed in his heart” (ch. 1:8) to live in obedience to all of God’s principles. Consequently, God brought him “into favour and tender love” with the officials of Babylon (v. 9). This ushered Daniel to the next step, which was the demonstration of the physical superiority of Daniel and his friends (vs. 12–15).
Then, followed a demo of his mental superiority. “God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom” (v. 17). Daniel and his friends were considered “ten times better” than all the rest of the young men that were educated in Babylon (v. 20). Thus, in character, physical strength, and mental performance, Daniel was noticeably far better than his fellow students. And thus, he earned the trust and admiration of Nebuchadnezzar.
God’s revelations to Nebuchadnezzar
All of these steps prepared Nebuchadnezzar to be introduced to Daniel’s God. The Lord gave the king a series of unique experiences—the dream of ch. 2, the outstanding deliverance from the fiery furnace (ch. 3), and the dream of ch. 4—revealed to the king’s mind the knowledge, power, and honor of Daniel’s God.
In chapter 2, the limitation of human knowledge, displayed in the experience, led Nebuchadnezzar to confess to Daniel, “Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets” (v. 47). The king freely acknowledged that the wisdom of God was much higher, not only to human wisdom, but even to the supposed wisdom of his own gods.
The king’s confession
Therefore, the experience of the golden image and the fiery furnace made Nebuchadnezzar confess that the God of heaven “delivered his servants” (ch. 3:28). His conclusion was that no one in all his realm, should “speak any thing amiss against the God” of the Hebrews, in view of the fact that “no other God” can “deliver after this sort” (v. 29). At this point, Nebuchadnezzar understood that the God of heaven was not only all-knowing but all-powerful.
Nebuchadnezzar’s third experience—the seven years during which his own praised wisdom and power were momentarily taken from him—taught him not only that “the most High” is wise and powerful but that He used that wisdom and power to govern the world (ch. 4:32). He has all wisdom, power, and dominion. It is important that the first action Nebuchadnezzar did after his mind was given back to him was to “praise and extol and honor the King of heaven” and to admit that “those that walk in pride” as he had done for so many years, God “is able to abase” (v. 37).
Unfortunately, the lessons Nebuchadnezzar learned during his reign were not adopted by the kings that followed him. For the last king of Babylon, Belshazzar, publicly rebelled against God (ch. 5:23) although he was fully aware of Nebuchadnezzar’s experience (v. 22). Instead of cooperating with God, the king became a proud and cruel oppressor. And this very attitude is what brought about his destruction. The nation was weighed and found wanting (ch. 5:25–28), and world dominion was given to the Persians instead.
Daniel and the Medo-Persian kings
In chapter 6, we shift to Daniel’s role in reaching for the Medo-Persian kings. And we read the story of God delivering Daniel from the lions’ den. Thus, God revealed His strength and authority to the Medo-Persian kings (ch. 6:20–23). As a result, King Darius the Mede accepted “the living God” and admitted that He is “stedfast for ever” (v. 26). Even “the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not” (v. 8), was made to submit to the law of “the most High,” who “ruleth in the kingdom of men” (ch. 4:32).
Also, Cyrus of Persia was very impressed by the miraculous proof of divine power shown in the deliverance of Daniel from the lions’ den. And the prophecies predicting his role in the restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple (Isaiah 44:26 to 45:13) were accepted by him and he made up his mind to fulfill his God given mission.
In His service,