Perspective 1- Barb Miles

When King Nebuchadnezzar told his chief to pick four Israelites from Judah to be trained for service to him, little did Nebuchadnezzar know that Daniel and the other three would not change their faith in God.  Daniel immediately spoke up and asked the chief for permission not to eat the royal food and drink the royal wine.  Daniel continued praying to his God three times a day, looking out the window toward Jerusalem.

Daniel and his three friends Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego stood firm in their belief in God.  They did not give in and worship false gods as so many kings of Israel had done.  Nebuchadnezzar could see the four were exceptional in their knowledge and wisdom, measuring them against his own people in service to him.

When Daniel knew he would be asked to interpret the king’s first dream, he immediately prayed to God and praised Him.  After Daniel had shown his ability to interpret the king’s dreams, the king gave him a high position.  He was not forced to worship idols at that time.

When it was brought to Nebuchadnezzar’s attention that the three: Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego were not praying to the idols as he had commanded, they were thrown into a furnace that had been raised to an unthinkable number of degrees.  They spoke out about their faith in their God to Nebuchadnezzar and sure enough God spared them from the heat of the furnace.  Why were they protected?

After King Darius started his rule, again an edict was proclaimed to punish anyone who worshipped another god.  Daniel was found guilty.  After it was reported to the king of Daniel’s prayer habits with his god, Daniel was thrown into the den and remained untouched by the lion’s mouth.  Why was he protected?

Daniel was committed to the one true God.  Prayer is the answer to all things.

Perspective 2- Dan Petrak

Perspective 3- Diane Schmidt

In Chapter 18 of “The Story” we see parts of the lives of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, exiles of Judah who now call Babylon their home. So God works some amazing miracles, the ones we grew up with and the ones we hear as children. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego escape the fiery furnace and Daniel is rescued from the mouths of lions. Cool! But what I noticed this time as I read through the chapter is how God did more than this. I kept seeing him working in the lives of these men to reach the king and the people of Babylon. This God of the Israelites is showing himself and witnessing directly to the kings of Babylon and the people, through these four men. Every time an edict is issued by the king and the guys get into trouble, God shows himself and the king turns toward God and declares him “the God of gods and Lord of kings.” Or like King Darius who declares to all of his kingdom that they must “fear and reverence the God of Daniel.” I see in these verses the upper story, God really showing that he is the God of all people, not just the God of the Israelites. He is reaching out, through the guys, to the people of Babylon and those exiles Israelites. A reminder to the exiles that he’s still around, still powerful and still watching out for them.

On a separate note there is another thing that I never got before with Daniel and the lions is how much King Darius did not want to do this thing. He did not want to throw Daniel in the den. He worried, fasted and was awake all night. He went early to the den to see if Daniel was okay. He was hoping that Daniel’s God would protect him. I always thought the king was mean and horrible for throwing him in the den but he actually cared for Daniel and had hope that God would rescue him.

Perspective 4- Pastor Phil

I think it is amazing the words foreign people speak of a God that they know very little of. It is great to see and hear that no matter what they believe in their heart their words are faithful and true. Throughout Scripture we see and hear people speak things that convey a great confession even though the person may not have understood the implications.

For example, Peter and his great confession concerning Jesus. He said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” This statement was completely true, but did Peter really understand what that meant? I don’t think so, as we witness later by his betrayal of Jesus.

Chapter 18 has two great confessions. The first from King Nebuchadnezzar.

“Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”

King Darius

“I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth.”

Could a greater confession come from the lips of an Israelite? I don’t think so. May our confession of God be as great and powerful as these two kings, through the good and bad in our life.