“I have issued an edict that throughout all the dominion of my kingdom people are to revere and fear the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God;he endures forever.His kingdom will not be destroyed;his authority is forever.He rescues and delivers and performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth.He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions!”Daniel 6:26-27 NET
Yesterday, the first Sunday of Advent, was Christ the King Sunday. One of the themes in Daniel is the unreliability on political powers, especially in chapter 6. Here the narrator informs us 122 political leaders are conspiring to have Daniel killed by the king.
The king, who is basically Barney Fife with a crown, is so inept he cannot detect his subordinates manipulating him. Once he does discover what is happening, he is powerless to go against his own edict. There is no hope found here.
Darius is hopeful that Daniel’s God has the power to save Daniel, a power that Darius only wishes he had. When Darius discovers that the living God has rescued Daniel, he immediately executes 122 political leaders, their wives, and their children. This is not a stable king that anyone should place hope in.
The concluding edict shows us that even Darius sees the need for his kingdom to place their hope in “…the God of Daniel. For he is the living God; he endures forever.”
Nebuchadnezzar didn’t last as king.
Belshazzar didn’t last as king.
Darius won’t last as king.
But God has an eternal kingdom.
This leads nicely into Daniel 7, which tells us of the “son of man”, a human who is able to ascend to the presence of “the Ancient of Days”, and be given all authority over every nation. This is the imagery Jesus activates in the hearts and minds of the listener every time he refers to himself as the Son of Man.
Our hope is found nowhere else, but in the true King and his eternal Kingdom.
Father, forgive us when we place our hope in anything other than you.
Too often we turn to political powers and authorities, to the god of financial security, the god of entertainment, the god of sex, or the god of pharmaceutical companies… Lord, we place our hope in so many things other than you.
But as the story of Daniel reminds us, it is only you, the living God, who has ultimate authority.
It is only you who rescues and delivers.
It is only you who performs signs and wonders.
It is only you who has an eternal kingdom.
All these other things will pass away, but it is you, the living God, who endures forever.
Father, help us to worship you with our time, our energy, our finances, and not these other gods. Help us seek after you, and your glory, not our own. And in doing so, Father, please bring us the unity we long for, where we all walk together hand in hand to praise and serve you and your Son.
Through our Savior, Jesus. Amen.