Thought for the Day by Gill Griggs (St. Chad’s)
I would guess that most people have heard the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den’.
The book of Daniel was actually written during the time of persecution of the Jews during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes ((177-174 BC) ; but the author has set the story in a different period, when the Jews were being persecuted by Nebuchadnezzar. (around 580 BC,) when most of the leading Jews had been taken into exile in Babylon.
The first 6 chapters of the book tell the story of the trials and perils of Daniel’s life in the service of Nebuchadnezzar . The final 6 chapters tell us about the visions granted to Daniel about what would happen to successors of the king. To hear of this must have inspired the Jews who were being persecuted by Antiochus Epiphanes. To hear the triumph of Daniel over his ordeals and temptations must have fed their own faith and hope, and given them a vision of a better life to come.
Much the same can be said about some of the chapters in the book of Revelation (which are also set for today). This is a sort of writing known as apocalyptic and it was very popular in some Jewish circles at the beginning of the Christian era. It contains the author’s vision of heaven and the vindication of the Christian martyrs in the world to come. Again it was hoped that by reading this, the people’s faith and determination would be strengthened. It must have been music in their ears if they could hear references to the downfall of their enemies and those who were oppressing them..
How are people today supported or inspired at what is a very difficult time in their lives? Covid 19 threatens- affecting family life, ‘meals out’, employment opportunities, food banks, to mention just a few things.
Somebody suggested to me recently that God has wished some of these things upon us. I don’t believe that this is so, and trust that He is with us when people are tempted to despair.
Jesus himself promised us ‘I will be with you always, even until the end of the ages.’