If you would like to “glow like stars forever,” keep reading.
Three of the most oft-told Bible stories are in the Old Testament book of Daniel: the story of Daniel’s miraculous interpretation of a dream, the story of three men in a furnace of fire, and the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. Throughout his book, Daniel reports on various visions that deal with moral conflicts and prophecies. Daniel continues to be a mystery to scholars, even so, most scholars agree on one thing: Daniel’s main theme is the sovereignty of God over the affairs of men of all ages.
The sovereignty of God is the essence of the story of Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and his declaration, “Your God is beyond question the God of all gods, the Master of all kings. And he solves mysteries, I know because you’ve solved this mystery.”
And again, when Daniel’s friends, Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego are thrown into the fiery furnace because they did not bow down to the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, God’s sovereignty is revealed.
When the king looked into the furnace, he asked with alarm, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound hand and foot, into the fire? … I see four men walking around freely in the fire, completely unharmed! And the fourth man looks like a son of the Gods!”
Once again he was forced to acknowledge, “Blessed be the God of Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel and rescued his servants who trusted him … There has never been a god who can pull off a rescue like this.”
Time passes and soon, Darius was crowned the king. The story reveals that his advisers conned him to make a law that all should bow down to an idol he had created. When Daniel refused to bow down, he was thrown into the lion’s den and left for dead.
The next morning, the king looked into the den and saw Daniel was alive and well; the place of death had become a petting zoo overnight. He asked Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God in whom you serve so loyally, saved you from the lions?”
“Yes, indeed,” Daniel answered, “My God sent his angel, who closed the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. I’ve been found innocent before God and also before you, O king. I’ve done nothing to harm you.”
The king released Daniel and threw his conspirators into the den of lions. The king proclaimed Daniel’s God to be “worshiped and feared” because “He is the living God, world without end. His kingdom never falls.” (The full story is in Daniel 6)
The rest of the book is hard to read and understand, however, chapter 12, the last chapter, has a few verses that look back to the miracles of the fiery furnace, the dream interpretation, and the lion’s den and conclude with a promise for those who do their best to live right: “Men and women who have lived wisely and well will shine brilliantly, like the cloudless, star-strewn night skies. And those who put others on the right path to life will glow like stars forever.” Daniel 12: 3 (Msg)
When you set out to “put others on the right path to life,” you may find yourself at odds with the people nearest you or, like Daniel, people of power. Don’t give up because the God that kept the fire from singeing one hair of the head of Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego will prevent you from harm. The God who gave Daniel supernatural revelation at a moment when he didn’t know what to say will provide you with the words to speak and the courage to express them. The God who shut the mouths of hungry lions will keep your detractors, enemies, and rivals from distracting you from the mission God has given you. Your God will help you in every way to “put others on the right path to life,” and then, in the end, you “will glow like stars forever.”
In the meantime, “Go about your business without fretting or worrying. Relax. When it’s all over, you will be on your feet to receive your reward.” (Daniel 12:13)