DANIEL – KINGS I HAVE MET DURING MY LIFE TIME
I was only a youngster when King Josiah made a tremendous impression on my young mind. He removed all the heathen places of worship in Judah and even extended his religious fervour to the northern territories.
I still remember the blessings we received during one of the Passover celebrations he arranged.
I was so proud of King Josiah who became my role model. When he died I was devastated. We mourned for him for many days.
The next king was called Jehoahaz. Although he was not the eldest son, he was crowned as the 17th king of Judah. He only reigned for three months when Pharaoh Necho replaced him by his brother Jehoiachim. I was not impressed with him because he did no walk in the ways of the Lord.
Three years later, at the age of seventeen, I met a Babylonian king who became my personal friend for the next 54 years.
We were not witnessing to the polytheistic world, worshippers of idols about our gracious God. And in order to keep evangelism alive He had to exile us in order to witness to them.
As I and my three Hebrew friends walked across the desert road to Babylon as exiles, there was something that kept me optimistic.
Jeremiah the prophet predicted that the exile period would terminate after 70 years. It was this prophecy that kept me going for so many years.
I saw the fulfilment of this prophecy during the fall of Babylon when King Cyrus the great captured Babylon and sent the captives home.
I shall never forget those happy tear-filled eyes as they waved at me on their way to Jerusalem.
My dear friend if you are an exile you can rely on the incredible prophetic promises of God, they do come true.
After working in king Nebuchadnezzar’s palace for 8 years, I met the fourth king of Judah, called Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiachim.
What a sad day when he arrived as a captive of the Babylonian army. With him was another 10,000 Judeans who rebelled against Babylon. Can you imagine my pain, my tears when I saw the king of my beloved country in chains?
My dear friend it does not pay to disobey.
In mercy he received an ample ration of food for himself and his family. But then he behaved unbecoming and was jailed. It was during this time that I visited him in prison. I reminded him of the prophecy of Jeremiah on the return of the exiles to Jerusalem.
After another 11 years Nebuchadnezzar and his army marched to my beloved Jerusalem and burned the city with its beautiful temple to ashes.
The rebellion of King Zedekiah and his princes had reached God’s limits of fairness. You should have seen the pathetic crowd of exiles entering the Ishtar Gate.
But the thing that haunted me for months, was the sight of the Judean King. His two eyes were cut out and it was sickening site. He died in a foreign land as a blind exile because he rejected the pleading voice of the prophet Jeremiah.
My dear friend disobedience means death and shame. Obedience to God brings honour and life.
It was a very sad day for me when Nebuchadnezzar died. But his conversion gave me such comfort in the lonely days that followed.
He actually wrote his conversion story in writing for the whole world to read.
What a reward after praying and witnessing for him for 53 years.
There was not much dialogue between me and Nebuchadnezzar’s son Evil-Merodach.
After the death of my friend Nebuchadnezzar the kingdom fell into degradation. The names of the two last kings were Nabonidus and his son Belshazzar. They worshipped Sin the moon god and Bel-Marduk respectively.
The night of October 12 I was called to come to the great feast of Akitu in the king’s palace. A bloodless hand wrote strange letters on the palace wall and Belshazzar was extremely afraid
Amytis, the widow of Nebuchadnezzar told him to call me, Daniel to decipher the writing which I did.
After reprimanding him for not following in the footstep of Nebuchadnezzar, I told him that the words on the wall meant that his days have been numbered. He was weighed and found wanting and that the Medes and the Persians would take his kingdom.
CYRUS AND DARIUS THE MEDE
That night I met the two most wonderful people. Cyrus the Great and Darius the Mede.
As expected they heard the story of the bloodless hand who declared the end of the Babylonian rule and the beginning of the Medo-Persian rule.
To my surprise King Darius the Mede appointed me as the top official in the kingdom.
We worked closely together and that gave me the opportunity to testify of the God I served. He was very susceptible. My jealous colleagues persuaded the King to pass a law that everyone should pray only to the king for 30 days.
Because I ignored the law I was thrown in the Lions’ Den.
The king was mad with my colleagues but powerless to change the law of the Medes and the Persians.
During that night neither I nor the king could sleep. He was worried about my safety. But guess what?
The Son of God visited me and we talked all night long.
After my rescue from the Lions’ Den King Darius the Mede declared his respect for my God.
I was very sad when he passed away after only two years as the ruling king of the Empire.
In closing let me tell you about the greatest experience of my long life in the King’s court. King Cyrus took over as the new ruler of the Empire.
Prior to this he heard about my experience in the Lions’ Den. This gave me the opportunity to give him Bible Studies on what Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied.
He accepted the validity of the prophecies and became a type of the Greater Antitype, the coming Deliverer, and the Son of God.
He issued a universal decree in which he declared that the Jews may return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple. He even undertook to pay for their travel. He even appealed to their neighbours to support them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings.
After the 70 years of exile I walked to the Ishtar Gate to watch the fulfilment of this amazing prophecy of deliverance.
I waived at them as they left Babylon, the symbol of their exile. They waved at me as we celebrated this amazing moment with tears flowing down our faces.
My dear friend I am looking forward to the day when the Son of God will come to our Babylonian prison of pain, rejection, shame and death to take us to his eternal peaceful, joyful heavenly Jerusalem. Would you like to join me in this divine anticipation?