Over the next few weeks we’re going to be looking at the Old Testament book of Daniel (chapters 1-6; we’ll come back and do 7-12 later in the year). The first half of Daniel contains a number of familiar stories: Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams, the fiery furnace, the writing on the wall at Belshazzar’s feast, and Daniel’s visit to the lions’ den. All Sunday School favourites, despite the “mature themes” – mental illness, combustible henchmen, idolatrous orgies, and women and children being fed to lions. (Who needs Game of Thrones?) But what are they supposed to teach us? What are they doing in our bibles?
Today and tomorrow, we’re going to look at three stories that will help us answer this question over the coming weeks. One story is set in Babylon, in the sixth century BC. Another is set in Judea, in the second century BC. And the other – well, you’re living it at the moment. (Later on in the week, we’ll also briefly meet a fourth story that predates all of these.) Confused? Let’s get started!