This Sunday we kick off a new sermon series at Redeemer Fellowship. For the next 12 weeks we will walk through the book of Daniel in a series called, "The Pilgrim Life: Living as God's People in a Pagan Land."
I know some of you have had weird or bad experiences working through the book of Daniel, so allow me put your minds at ease. The book of Daniel is less about eschatology and much more about God's sovereignty in the world and in your life. We won't see an unfolding of end times charts, but we will see how God rules over all kingdoms of the world and remains present with his people wherever they are. And we will learn how to live life before the face of God in a world that we do not call home. Keep in mind the book of Daniel is fundamentally about God, not Daniel. The prophet points us to the Lord who saves, sustains, and sanctifies. Daniel would tell us, "Don't focus on me, focus on the Lord!"
The prophet Daniel wrote this book while he and his people were in exile in Babylon. The southern kingdom of Israel, called Judah, had been taken captive by the Babylonian empire. The people of God were removed from their homeland and brought to live in a pagan world. Daniel, and three of his friends, were taken to the King's palace to be educated and trained in various forms of knowledge and culture. The first half of the book focuses on how God reigns over all nations (even the pagan Babylonians), is faithful to his promises, and how Daniel remains faithful to God in a strange land. The second half of the book is a collection of visions Daniel was given by the Lord that further unpacks God's covenant love and faithfulness to his people.
As Christians we find ourselves to be somewhat like Daniel: strangers in a strange land, exiles in a country not our own, pilgrims on a journey home. We are not here by accident, but by the sovereign plan of God. We are sent here by Jesus to be in this world, but for what purpose? We will begin to dig deep into all of this on Sunday.
To prepare for Sunday read Daniel chapter one. If you want to dig deep into the book you could pick up a good commentary. James Montgomery Boice's Expositional Commentary on Daniel or Iain M. Duguid's commentary, Daniel (Reformed Expository Commentary), are good places to start.