Daniel: Hero of Faith
He was just a teenager, but he was a prisoner of war. God's people were conquered because of their continued disobedience to God. Daniel was one of the captives. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the finest young men should be put into Babylonian school for three years that they might learn the ways of Babylon. Daniel was selected, but Daniel had made a decision in his heart to honor and trust God and to live for Him no matter where he was, no matter who he was with, and no matter what happened to him. (See Daniel 1:8.)
Daniel and his classmates were to receive the best treatment including the finest food. But the food offered Daniel was food that God had commanded them not to eat. God had given His people a special diet to show that they were a special people with a special relationship to God. Daniel asked to be given just vegetables and water for ten days. Then he would be tested. Ten days later the he was found to be fairer and fatter, healthier, than all the rest. Daniel had chosen to honor God and God honored him. There are things those who belong to God should not eat or drink or do things that are harmful to our spiritual life, things that are harmful to our bodies and our minds. We ought to decide in our hearts that we shall not defile ourselves. We can decide to do right no matter where we are, no matter who we are with and no matter what happens.
When graduation day came Daniel was found ten times wiser than all the wise men of Babylon. Really there was nothing special about Daniel. It was because he trusted God. Proverbs 3:5-6. God gives us all we need when we trust Him.
One night King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that troubled him. He knew it was no ordinary dream He knew it had meaning. (In those days God sometimes communicated with men through dreams. Now God talks to us by His Word.) King Nebuchadnezzar ordered his wise men to interpret the dream under threat of death, but he would not tell them the dream. Of course they could not do it.
When Daniel learned of the king's decree he told the king he would interpret the dream, yet not Daniel himself, but His God Who holds all secrets would reveal the dream and its interpretation. God gave Daniel the dream and its interpretation and Daniel praised the Lord (Daniel 2:20 23). The king was well pleased and promoted Daniel.
Later Belshazzar took over the kingdom from his Grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar. He was not a God-fearing man. He had no respect for God. He gave no honor or worship to God. One night he made a great drunken feast. He even used some of the cups and things from the temple of God, holy things, that were set apart for use in the service of God. In the midst of his partying suddenly out of thin air appeared a hand which wrote a message on the wall. It was a message from God Who was very angry.
Such a message from God could only be interpreted by a man of God. Thus, when all the Babylonian wise men failed, Daniel was brought in. He read the message: God has numbered your days as king and brought them to an end. God has weighed your life and found it comes short (Romans 3:23). Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.
As God had predicted, so it came true. That night the flood gates that controlled the water under the city were left open (God had predicted they would be open, Isaiah 45:1). The Media-Persian army gained entrance by sending a man through who opened the huge gates of the city. Belshazzar and Babylonia were defeated
[Do you know that God is weighing your life? Apart from being saved by the Lord Jesus Christ we come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But God made Christ Who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Only when we have His righteousness are we found acceptable to God. Christ suffered for sins, the Just One for the unjust, that He might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). Upon those who reject God, like Belshazzar, will come sudden and sure destruction.]
The new King, Darius, was please with Daniel's life and chose him to be an important ruler in his kingdom. Other men had to answer to Daniel. The king even wanted to put Daniel in charge of the whole kingdom. This made the other rulers jealous and they hated Daniel and schemed to overthrow him. They watched him, but they found his life blameless. Daniel had a good testimony.
They decided there was but one way to find fault with Daniel and that involved his worship of God. They asked the king to make a law to contradict a law of God. They knew Daniel would obey God. The new law forbade anyone to pray to God or anyone except the king for thirty days. Disobedience was to be punished by the lions den. Hastily the king signed the law. King Darius didn't think before he acted. He put his seal on it and thus no one could change this law it was the Law of the Medes and the Persians.
Daniel knew the law, but he also knew the command of God. Daniel prayed three times a day as he always did before his open window (Daniel had a daily quiet time with the Lord. Do you?). The evil men reported him to the king. The king was upset but not with Daniel. He was upset with himself. He had acted foolishly, and it was now too late. He tried to delay but at last Daniel was thrown into the lions' den.
The king could not sleep that night. He could not eat. He could not rest. He had no peace for fear and worry about Daniel. Would Daniel's God, could Daniel's God keep him safe?
But Daniel had perfect peace. Daniel trusted God to deliver him and God did not disappoint Daniel. God sent His angel to shut the lions' mouths.
At the crack of dawn the king ran to the den, ordered the stone removed and shouted down: O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God Whom you served continually, been able to rescue you from the lions? (6:19)
Came the voice from below: O King, live forever, my God sent His angel, and shut the mouth of the lions. They have not hurt me because I was found innocent in His sight (6:21). Oh, the mighty power of God!
The king commanded Daniel lifted out of the lions' den and the evil accusers thrown in. The lions' mouths were open and hungry and the men were overpowered before they reached the ground.
Daniel lived on for many years, loving and serving the Lord with all his heart. God blessed Daniel because Daniel put God first. Those who honor God, God honors them. Daniel made God the choice of his heart and God made Daniel great.
Will you make God the choice of your heart to honor Him
no matter where you are, no matter who you are with and no matter what happens?
--Pictures by permission of Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org
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