Summary: A description of God’s activities as found in the book of Daniel.
Many Christians believe that God made the universe like one gigantic clock and has left it to run its predetermined course. In this case God is an absentee Landlord, and to pray to Him is futile. Prayer in such situation only gives the one who prays a false sense of comfort or security.
The Bible, however, does not disclose God as an absentee Landlord. On the contrary, it portrays Him as having always kept in touch with the human race and having revealed Himself supremely in Jesus of Nazareth. John R. W. S. Stott is right on target when he wrote, "At the cross in holy love God through Christ paid the full penalty of our disobedience himself. He bore the judgment we deserve in order to bring us the forgiveness we do not deserve. Far from neglecting the human race, God has always sought to guide and warn, and to make provision for man’s eternal salvation. This fact is found in all the books of the Bible, much more in the book of Daniel."
From beginning to end, the book of Daniel is saturated with God’s involvement and guidance in the affairs not only of the nations but of individuals. When Daniel’s three friends was thrown into a fiery furnace, God did not save them while He was sitting upon His throne. God saved them by coming down from His throne and being with them, walking with them in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3: 20-25). God was not only in control, He was intimately involved. But there is more to God in the book of Daniel than being in control and involved in the affairs of mankind.
In our study this morning, we will examine the attributes of God, His activities, and how he relates to man as revealed in the book of Daniel.
GOD AS GOD
Daniel does not argue for His existence. For him God is a given. In this respect he follows the pattern of Scripture everywhere. He would have agreed with the Psalmist when he said, "The fool says in his heart, ’There is no God. ’" (Psalms 14:1). Daniel does not even question the whereabouts of God when a pagan ruler proudly helped himself to the vessels in the Lord’s house. Or when innocent young people were taken as captives to a distant land. Daniel knew that God had a purpose. He learned that evil has only a temporary existence, and the time will come when God’s righteousness and goodness will be vindicated.
Ellen G. White writes:
"In the annals of human history the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires, appear as dependent on the will and prowess of man. The shaping of events seems, to a great degree, to be determined by his power, ambition, or caprice. But in the word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, behind, above, and through all the play and counter play of human interests and power and passions, the agencies of the all-merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will."
1. His Names
Often the way a person address God reveals his or her relationship to Him. This is true in the case of Daniel. Daniel first uses the Hebrew word adonai, the equivalent of the English word Lord. The name is clearly related to adon, which means "the lord", "the master." Adonai has a possessive suffix and thus means "my lord." But a study of a number of Old Testament texts strongly suggests that the name adonai emphasizes God’s rule over all the world. Jeremiah, and Ezekiel use this name in reference to their commission, or call, and thus the emphasis of the name is on God’s rulership and the prophet’s servanthood.
Thus Daniel probably employed the term because it followed he pattern and example of his dedicated contemporaries, and even more important, he recognized that God is ruler over all and he was an obedient servant. God as supreme ruler decided the fate of Jehoiakim, king of Judah (Danie4l 1:2).
The second word that Daniel employs for God is the Hebrew word Elohim (Daniel 1:9, 17; 9:3, 4). The name would doubtless call to mind Genesis 1:1: A In the beginning God (i,e., Elohim) created the heavens and the earth. This name emphasizes God’s marvelous power and majesty.
Another name which Daniel uses for God is YHWH (Daniel 9:2). This name emphasizes a covenant God (Exodus 6:7). He is the God of Israel (Exodus 20:2). Yahweh is the God who has been active in the history of the children of Israel, but he is also the supreme God. No doubt Daniel recognized Yahweh as his God.
2. His Attributes
A person’s attributes, or characteristics, make him what he is. In the same manner, God has attributes that make Him who He is. We cannot say we know a person or know God until we know at least some of his characteristics.