Historically speaking, Daniel takes place at at time when the Babylonians have conquered Judah and have exiled them to their land. Daniel and three other men have been selected to be part of the king’s court. While the polytheistic Babylonians worshipped gods that they created, Daniel and his companions were faithful to the one true God and placed all trust in Him. While in training in the king’s court, Daniel chooses to not eat and drink the food that would be typical for people in his position. Instead, he trusted that God would nourish him, even if Daniel only ate vegetables and drank water.
Later, the king has a dream that disturbs him. None of the magicians in his court could or would interpret his dream’s meaning. The king orders the magicians to be put to death, but Daniel pleas for them and tells the king that he will interpret his dream. Daniel, through God, fully explains the king’s dream. As a result, he is promoted to a high position in the king’s court, and his companions are appointed to higher positions as well.
As with most of the proverbs, this one is a long list of do this, not that. We read of the righteous and the wicked. The wicked despise the Lord, and their words cut like a knife. Their words only generate anger and hate. Much of this chapter focuses on choosing words wisely. Choose your words carefully. Be slow to anger. Be patient. Be humble with your words rather than those that try to bring honor to yourself.
Here we see the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. Each of these three parables are about how we fall away from God, but when we return to Him, he is overjoyed and accepts us back with open arms. Even the one who takes total advantage of his inheritance and blows it all on sex and booze can repent and be accepted back without hesitation.
We serve a loving, caring, amazing God. Because of our human nature, we are going to continually make mistakes. Some mistakes will be small, while others will be so bad they might seem impossible to overcome. But God always accepts us back. Like a shepherd excitedly celebrates the finding of his lost little sheep, or parent has a huge celebration for the return of an estranged child, God is overjoyed every time we repent and come back to Him. There is nothing, no matter how terrible that it may be, that can prevent us from being accepted back into His loving grace.
May we always remember this, and always fall on our knees in repentance, knowing that we are always welcome back.