Walking in pride? beware…

Daniel 4:28-37

All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”

31 ​While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! 32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.”

33 ​That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.

34 ​And at the end of the time [fn2] I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever:

​​For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,

​​And His kingdom is from generation to generation.

35 ​​All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;

​​He does according to His will in the army of heaven

​​And among the inhabitants of the earth.

​​No one can restrain His hand

​​Or say to Him, “What have You done?”

36 ​At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Dan&c=4&v=1&t=NKJVP>

The letter from Nebuchadnezzar continues; detailing the events that followed the dream, a full year later. Enough time for naysayers to discount the prophecy, perhaps?  But in its fullness of time it did occur.  The end result was a great king humbled, acknowledging the God almighty and restored to his position of rule.  Nebuchadnezzar’s words are recorded for us all to heed…”those who walk in pride He(the Lord) is able to humble.”…

On a side note:  Rulers of all kinds, names, types and authority are where they are because God has willed it.

“…​​He does according to His will in the army of heaven

​​And among the inhabitants of the earth.…”

the Lord deals with them as He works with all mankind.  The message of the kingdom of God is given to all and He is able to deliver.  Let us be found faithful to the God of Heaven in our actions, words and thoughts.  Let us not try to take on the work of the Holy Spirit but rather be found faithful in our given tasks according to His will.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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Do Well…

Daniel 4:19-27

​Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the king spoke, and said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.”

Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies!

20 ​“The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth, 21 whose leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and in whose branches the birds of the heaven had their home— 22 it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth.

23 ​“And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him’; 24 this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: 25 They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.

26 ​“And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules. 27 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Dan&c=4&v=1&t=NKJVP>

The underlying message can be to do well; according to the word of God, according to His commands:

“The Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men, and gives them to anyone he wishes.”

“…till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses….”

Who determines the outcomes of our contested leadership?  Not the people, according to this statement, and not to whoever is the strongest,  or wealthiest, or most intelligent, or craftiest.  In our culture the people are the vehicle by which the choice is made but the outcome rests with the Most High God.  We serve a Sovereign Lord who determines the outcome and it is for His purpose.  Of interest is the fact that He speaks to both believer and unbeliever.  His message was delivered to a wicked king.  “Renounce…your wickedness…”

“…break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor….”

 Do well…

But understanding was given to a believer. The believer had the Holy Spirit to give understanding and was willing to share that understanding even though it might anger the one with whom it was shared.  That anger in this case could have caused the death of the believer. But he was faithful to the Lord God Almighty, resting in His care and protection.  As can we.

What can we apply to current times?  He is still Sovereign, He does not change.

“…Malachi  3:6    “For I [am] the LORD, I do not change; …”

Therefore, there is a purpose to the outcomes we see around the globe and here at home.  As believers we can ask for understanding and rest in His Sovereignty.  What to do?  Continue to keep His Word, His commands.  Continue to share His message with unbelievers and build up the downcast believer.  Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.  We, unfortunately, are exposed to a lot of anger, bitterness and anxiety where there should be peace, rest and love.

Leviticus  19:18   ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I [am] the LORD.

Romans 13:9  For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if [there is] any other commandment, are [all] summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians  5:14  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

James 2:8  If you really fulfill [the] royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well;

Do Well.

The Spirit within you…

Daniel 4:1-18

Nebuchadnezzar the king,

To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:

Peace be multiplied to you.

2 ​I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me.

3 ​​How great are His signs,

​​And how mighty His wonders!

​​His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

​​And His dominion is from generation to generation.

4 ​I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace. 5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 6 Therefore I issued a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. 7 Then the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came in, and I told them the dream; but they did not make known to me its interpretation. 8 But at last Daniel came before me (his name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God), and I told the dream before him, saying: 9 “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God is in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation.

10 ​“These were the visions of my head while on my bed:

​​I was looking, and behold,

​​A tree in the midst of the earth,

​​And its height was great.

11 ​​The tree grew and became strong;

​​Its height reached to the heavens,

​​And it could be seen to the ends of all the earth.

12 ​​Its leaves were lovely,

​​Its fruit abundant,

​​And in it was food for all.

​​The beasts of the field found shade under it,

​​The birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches,

​​And all flesh was fed from it.

13 ​“I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven. 14 He cried aloud and said thus:

​‘​Chop down the tree and cut off its branches,

​​Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit.

​​Let the beasts get out from under it,

​​And the birds from its branches.

15 ​​Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth,

​​Bound with a band of iron and bronze,

​​In the tender grass of the field.

​​Let it be wet with the dew of heaven,

​​And let him graze with the beasts

​​On the grass of the earth.

16 ​​Let his heart be changed from that of a man,

​​Let him be given the heart of a beast,

​​And let seven times [fn1] pass over him.

17 ​‘​This decision is by the decree of the watchers,

​​And the sentence by the word of the holy ones,

​​In order that the living may know

​​That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men,

​​Gives it to whomever He will,

​​And sets over it the lowest of men.’

18 ​“This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.”

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Dan&c=4&v=1&t=NKJVP>

This is a letter from the King Nebuchadnezzar to all the people of the then known world.  We might look to this letter to see what message it holds for us today.  It begins with a dream, given to the king without understanding for understanding comes from the Holy Spirit.

“…John 14:26  “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you….”

“…Proverb 1:7 and 9:10- The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge, [But] fools despise wisdom and instruction.  …”The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One [is] understanding….”

The spirit of the Holy God is in you.  A recognition of the presence and power of God Almighty.  The message was sent to King Nebuchadnezzar  but he had no understanding for he did not have the Holy Spirit.  So the most powerful man of the time sought out the man of God, Daniel for he said the Holy Spirit was in him.  No matter the position of power, high or low, no matter the level of education, no matter the social upbringing,  when the Holy Spirit resides within us others recognize Him.  Are we aware enough of the presence of God within us to allow His presence to be known to others in our daily lives?  The Holy Spirit brings knowledge, remembrance and understanding to the believer.  O Lord open our eyes and ears that we may know your Presence within us.  Then we can share what we have with an unbelieving world.

Trust who? what?

Daniel 3: 13-30

Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”

They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”

25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” [fn1]

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. 27 And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.

28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel [fn2] and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! 29 Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.”

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Dan&c=3&v=1&t=NKJVP>

“They trusted in Him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”  Another translation says:

“…His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! …”

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego believed God.  He honored their faith with an extension on this life and in so doing got glory to His name.  There are those today who are willing to give up this life rather than serve or worship another.  Some receive an extension on this life and God receives the glory.  This gives pause to reflect.   Do we believe God?  Would we be willing to do the same?  If the answer is yes, then we can further extend that question to reflect and see if we are guilty of worshipping another.  Where do we put our trust when it comes right down to it?  Jobs, government, social systems, religious systems can all become our gods if that is where we place our trust.  When we lose a job, do we rest in the Lord, waiting to see what he has for us?  Do we seek him in prayer first; then, asking him to direct our paths and footsteps; do we step out believing him?  He said: ” I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

“…Hebrews 13:5   [Let your] conduct [be] without covetousness; [be] content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”…”

Jesus told us how He cares for the birds and that we are not to be stressed over what comes next.

“…Luke 12:24 and 27 – “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?… “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these….”

Let’s take heart and learn from those who have gone before.  Let’s believe God, His word is true.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Stand…

Daniel 3:1-12

Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2 And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3 So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 5 that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; 6 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

7 So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. 9 They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image; 11 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Dan&c=3&v=1&t=NKJVP>

How would today’s believers react to such a command?  Would our trust in God be such we also would refuse to worship something other than God, even upon pain of death?  It may be true that some of us do worship another  without such a command.  Is there anything in our lives that holds a greater command over us than the Lord?  Some in countries  where believers face persecution there have been those who have had to choose and have chosen God.  They have paid dearly for their choice.  Others have been miraculously spared.  Our reflection  and meditation is to search our hearts to see if we would choose God also.  Also see if there be any wicked way in us; is there a god who holds  sway over us other than the Lord God Jehovah?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood out from the crowd.  They took a stand to trust God over the king.  They knew the cost and did not justify a compromise.  God’s people were here, in exile, because they had strayed from Him and were worshipping other gods.  For the majority it wasn’t hard to compromise in order to live.  These four men knew God and understood the test.  Sometimes when we compromise we are no different from the rest of Israel who did not stand for God.  These four literally stood for God.  O that we would believe God as these did so that we will stand for Him when and if the time comes!

Rise and fall of earthly nations…

Daniel 2:36-49

“This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. 37 You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold. 39 But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 45 Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him. 47 The king answered Daniel, and said, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.” 48 Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Also Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the gate [fn5] of the king.

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And Jesus said the kingdom of God is at hand.  He spent three years prior to his death telling about the kingdom of heaven.  This is a kingdom that will never be destroyed.

“the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed;…”

This kingdom  is in the hearts of believers, we are the agents of the kingdom of heaven on earth.  Daniel spoke of it lasting forever.

“…it shall stand forever…”

King Nebuchadnezzer when faced with the words of God fell prostrate.

“…Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel,..”

The evil that had been intended was turned to blessing.  Daniel’s faithfulness to God, his trust in God, his faith that said–I believe God— was rewarded.

Take away– It is good to remember the works of God, it is good to know where to turn when evil threatens.  We are the Lord’s and we can exhibit the same faith Daniel did. We have the same source of strength, hope and peace available to us.  Political systems, philosophies, ideologies come and go.  Governments rise and fall but the kingdom of God remains and crushes the things of this world.  We need have no fear of mankind’s evil, we serve a God who is greater.   God says; “I will never leave you nor  forsake you.”

Deuteronomy  31:6 – “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He [is] the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Joshua  1:5  – “No man shall [be able to] stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, [so] I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5- [Let your] conduct [be] without covetousness; [be] content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Where do we turn?

Daniel 2:24-35

Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation.”

25 Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king, and said thus to him, “I have found a man of the captives [fn2] of Judah, who will make known to the king the interpretation.”

26 The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?”

27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: 29 As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. 30 But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.

31 “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. 32 This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs [fn3] of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. [fn4] 34 You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

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Of note is how Daniel answered the king.  No wise man…can explain the mystery…but there is a God in heaven…

“..wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare … But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets,…”

Daniel goes on in true humility to say, “As for me, the mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men…”

“…this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living,…”

God used Daniel to relay a message and answered his prayers.  It saved lives and spread the word of God.  It’s that simple, Daniel’s attitude and focus led to lives saved and God’s word spread. Daniel believed God.  There’s a difference between believing in something or someone and believing them.  Because Daniel believed God,  once again, in a very dark time, under threat of death even, Daniel does not turn to despair but turns to Lord God Jehovah.  We can do the same.