The stubborn persistence of Daniel and the nation of Israel in the face of almost certain destruction defies the conventional wisdom of this world. From all accounts, the moral and social bankruptcy of Israel, the deportations to Babylon, and the complete destruction of the Kingdom of Judah and its temple should have marked the end of Israel. Daniel himself defies the modern-day assumption that people are no more than the sum of their circumstances, determined entirely by the interaction of their genetics with outward sociopolitical conditions. Moreover, Daniel and his people were not merely preserved from oblivion but were placed so firmly on the center stage of history that one cannot read world history without encountering Daniel and the Jews again and again and again. How can this be?
The only adequate explanation lies in the fact that the hope of Israel was the one true God who defies limits and who rules this universe without peer or rival. The God whom Abraham trusted as “God Most High, Possessor of Heaven and Earth” and Moses served as the “I AM WHO I AM” neither needs human obedience nor is limited by human failure. The failure and subsequent captivity of Israel had been anticipated from its founding as a nation (Deut. 31; 1 Ki. 8:45–54). Its lasting hope was not in the Law they had broken nor the temple they had lost but in the One whose glory exceeds all things (Deut. 9:4–6, 33:27). It was confidence in “the Everlasting God, creator of the ends of the earth” that upheld Daniel and his peers at a time when they were truly powerless. Daniel could come boldly before Nebuchadnezzar because he knew that his God had purposed the interaction before either of them was born (Isa. 39; 40:28), and he could direct his prayer toward a temple in ruins with assured knowledge that it would be rebuilt (1 Ki. 8:45–54; Jer. 29:1–14; Dan. 6:10).
Therefore, Daniel and his friends exemplify what it is to believe on God (Rom. 9:16; 2 Cor. 1:9) and to believe that this God is on His throne. They show us how to submit our circumstances to Him, allowing His sovereign grace the sole right to determine what is possible—an essential skill for every believer.