This summer I have the privilege of working for Centri Kid Camps; In high school I looked forward to attending camp every summer and spending a refreshing week with friends, mentors, and God. This summer I get to attend camp for two months, and I must say, I’m really excited! This summer the staff and the campers will focus on the book of Daniel, a book, to be quite honest, that I have heard over and over in Sunday school but have never taken the time to fully learn and devour its themes. In preparation for my summer I spent time in the first six chapters of the book and consequently saw how God uses this book to reveal his Sovereignty over all things.
As campers will look at the first six chapters of Daniel, so did I.
Daniel 1- The Babylonian empire has conquered Judea, and has started the process of assimilation (Or the blending of the remaining Judean community with the Babylonian.) Here we find the protagonist Daniel, a Jew in exile, who because of his youth and appearance has been chosen to partake in intensive study of the Babylonian culture. He will eat, study, and live like a Babylonian. However, Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (who have been renamed) have a problem, their Jewish faith restricts them from eating the foods that the Babylonians eat. As a result, they strike a deal with a Babylonian official who agrees to let the Jewish youth eat vegetables and drink only water. The young Jews choice to remain undefiled pays off and after 10 days they are healthier and of better appearance than the other youth. God finds favor in their choice and awards them with gifts of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. In this chapter God’s sovereignty is over our gifts, those things that we hold most dear, our smarts, our abilities.. God owns it all. Daniel’s ability to interpret dreams, something that will eventually result in continuous promotions in the kingdom, is a gift from God.
Daniel 2- In this chapter, King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream of a great statue with: a head of gold, chest of silver, waist of bronze, and legs of iron. The king called on his greatest magicians to interpret the dream; however, they had no success. Nebuchadnezzar then calls on Daniel to interpret the dream. Daniel tells the king that each part of the image represents a Kingdom. Over and over the kingdoms fall. It makes no difference what the kingdoms represent. In the end, dGod is in charge of the rise and fall of each kingdom, and it is his kingdom (God’s) that will reign for eternity.
Daniel 3- In chapter 3 we find Nebuchadnezzar constructing a large golden idol (it is uncertain whether it is of himself or perhaps a god he worshiped). Nonetheless, Nebuchadnezzar has not learned from Daniel’s interpretation of his dream, as he has decided to construct a solid golden statue, which suggests that he thought his kingdom would never end. In this chapter we find Daniel’s three friends from chapter one, they refuse to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s idol and as a result are thrown in to the furnace which has been heated to 7x the normal heat (Scholars agree that the furnace wasn’t heated up exactly 7 times the original amount, rather the number 7 represents the
“perfect number”, so the furnace was heated as high as possible.). Instead of being burned, as intended, the three survive the furnace. The story of the three demonstrates the sovereignty of God over death. As the three assert before their trial in the furnace… no matter if they live or die, Gods plan will occur!
Daniel 4- The essence of Chapter four as that Nebuchadnezzar has finally acknowledged the God of Israel as the most high God who rules over the plans of mankind. “The most high Rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will!”
Daniel 5- Daniel interprets a message on a wall for the new king Belshazzar. Daniel tells the King that the most high God (The God of Israel) has dominion over his kingdom; “Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. 22 And you his son,4 aBelshazzar, bhave not humbled your heart, though you knew all this.” Because of this, Belshazzar was murdered that night and his kingdom conquered by Cyrus. Daniel 5 reaffirms that it is God who is in control of kingdoms, not man.
Daniel 6- At this point Daniel has served the empire for over 70 years, even through the fall of the Babylonian empire and the rise of the Persian. His allegiance has lead him to another promotion and as a result many become jealous and hatch a plan to have him killed. Its interesting here that to set Daniel up they must use his faith against him. They persuade king Cyrus to issue a decree that all people must worship the king and the king alone, because Daniel cannot do this he is thrown into the lions den. Again God shows his sovereignty over death by delivering Daniel from the Lions den.
The book of Daniel shows us that God is sovereign over all things, from mere talents to great kings
“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you” Neh 9:6
The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples. Psalm 33:10