I Want to Be Like Daniel
While we most often remember Daniel as the one in the lions' den, there was a lot more to his life. Throughout the first six chapters of Daniel, we learn about how to remain faithful in all circumstances. He ran into several trying situations that may have caused him to lose faith or bend from his beliefs, but Daniel stayed strong. How he managed those trials set the stage for how God would look at Daniel in the future.
Daniel 9 (NLT) gives us a unique window into how influential Daniel was. In verse 23, it says that when Daniel started to pray, a command was given. The angel that was speaking to Daniel told him that "you are very precious to God." WOW! Wouldn't that be an inscription for a tombstone? 20 I went on praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people, pleading with the Lord my God for Jerusalem, his holy mountain. 21 As I was praying, Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, came swiftly to me at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He explained to me, "Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. 23 The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision.
So what got Daniel the reputation of being precious to God? It was his faithfulness to God's commands. There are risks, reasons, and rewards for remaining undefiled by the world.
Daniel 1 - Holy people are potent tools in the hands of God. As they stand firm in the face of trials, they bear witness to the reality of their Lord and Savior. They inspire and challenge us to also stand strong for God's truth and righteousness. Daniel lived out this kind of genuine holiness. At the significant risk of losing his life, he chose to remain undefiled by pagan Babylon.
Daniel's Response in the Face of Suffering
Daniel 2 - What do you do when the bottom falls out of your career, your family's security, your health? What do you do when things go horribly wrong? Though we don't like to think about it, we all know the unthinkable can happen. Believers are not insulated from life crises. We live in a fallen world and, like everyone else, may face crippling disappointment and disaster. In Daniel's response to the collapse of his circumstances, we will learn what faithfulness to God looks like when the bottom does fall out.
Genuine faith remains strong amid dire circumstances and uncertain outcomes.
Daniel 3 - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not operate on the popular notion that faith is about having confidence in expected or desired outcomes. By their words and actions, they proclaim a genuinely biblical faith: trust in a sovereign God regardless of the results.
Looking up to heaven
Daniel 4 - Nebuchadnezzar needed a reminder about the limits of his greatness and glory. God gave him that reminder through a dream that terrified the king, and he again called for Daniel to interpret the vision. The meaning was as simple as it was scary. Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that he was going to have a great fall. And that he did! When
Nebuchadnezzar ultimately regained his mind and rule, he plainly stated what "the peoples, nations, and men of every language who live in all the world" needed to learn due to his demise.
The judgment of grace
Daniel 5 - Chapter five of Daniel is the flipside of chapter four. In chapter four, Daniel used King Nebuchadnezzar's conversion to affirm that the repentant reap the rewards of grace, however bleak their pasts. In this chapter, Daniel uses King Belshazzar's sacrilege to declare that the rebellious reap the wrath's consequences yet secure their present. Two equally evil kings demonstrated two equally strong messages: God's complete pardon for the humble and God's sure judgment for the proud.
Daniel's Call to Trust and Live
Daniel 6 - Sunday school pictures of a ruddy-faced lad in a lion’s den have a scant resemblance to the actual situation described in this sixth and last chapter of Daniel's life story. Daniel was more than 90 years old when these events unfolded. You might think he had earned a little rest and relaxation for those retirement years, but God still was using the faithful prophet. Age is no barrier to spiritual usefulness. In Daniel's case, glorious gospel truths built through the chapters describing his life in Babylon reach their climax. So let's try to be faithful like Daniel.