The Life of Daniel
Can you remember a remarkable story about
Daniel? If you do not know anything about Daniel read the book of Daniel
in the Old Testament of the Bible. Traditionally this book is about
the life and experiences of Daniel and his friends as well as several
divine revelations given Daniel through various dreams and visions.
Daniel's story begins when he is taken as a hostage away from Jerusalem
and carried off to Babylon. While in Babylon Daniel stood out enough
amongst his piers that the rulers of both the Babylonian and the Medo-Persian
empires gave him positions of high responsibility in government service.
Daniel was given several divine revelations, which correlated with king
Nebuchadnezzar's dream depicting and prophesying the rise and fall of
worldly empires, which would end finally in the establishment of God's
everlasting kingdom. Daniel was a devoted Jew who practiced the law,
prayed three times a day and read the scriptures. I think what impresses
me the most about Daniel is that he walked the walk he didn't just talk
the talk like so many of us do in life.
So when you remember a story about Daniel what comes to mind? Perhaps
you remember the story of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, the hand of God writing
upon the wall or him being cast into the lion's den. Maybe you think
of his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were delivered from
the fiery furnace. Daniel and his friends lead very exciting lives full
of trials and tribulations. The reason that most of us can remember
at least one of Daniel's stories is because God did miraculous things
through this man. It is good to know that we serve a God powerful enough
to shut the mouths of lions and deliver us from the heat of a fiery
furnace. We can read about not only the works of God through Daniel
and his friends, but also through many other people described throughout
the Bible and take heart.
Though these beautiful stories have enriched lives for centuries I feel
that there is another story which we often overlook when reading about
Daniel and many other servants of God as well. It is a common tendency
of people to remember the highlights of a person's life and overlook
the mundane everyday life stuff. So today I want to point out a different
side of Daniel.
1 It pleased King Darius (successor to Belshazzar) to set over the kingdom
120 satraps who should be in charge throughout the kingdom,
2 and over them three presidents -of whom Daniel was one- that these
satraps might give account to them and that the king should have no
loss or damage.
3 Then this Daniel was distinguished above the presidents and the satraps
because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king thought to set
him over the whole realm.
4 then the presidents and satraps sought to find occasion to bring accusation
against Daniel concerning the kingdom, but they could find no occasion
or fault, for he was faithful, nor was there any error or fault found
5 then said these men, We shall not find any occasion to bring accusation
against this Daniel except we find it against him concerning the law
of his God.
Some of you may follow politics a little. Basically
what these people hoped to do was sling a little mud on Daniel. The
problem with that was that Daniel lived the life. They couldn't find
any dirt to sling so they came to the realization that if they were
going to get Daniel into trouble then they would have to manufacture
a situation to do it.
10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed,
he went into his house, and his windows being open in his chamber toward
Jerusalem, he got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and
gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.
In this particular story these men knew that Daniel
prayed all the time so they got the king to outlaw prayer for thirty
days with the penalty that violators of the law be cast into a lions
den. However that is not the point I wanted to focus on in this passage.
Even though it is a great view into the character of Daniel that he
still continued to pray and honor the laws of God while facing death
I see another side to this. Daniel was leading a very prosperous and
successful life up to this point. As one of three presidents in the
kingdom he possessed great power and authority. Yet not only was Daniel
faithful in the face of adversity, which is one of the things that makes
him so memorable, but he was faithful when things were easy as well.
Prosperity is a different kind of trial. Power and success are different
kinds of corrupting influences. The highlights of the adventure that
we face in life are actually very small increments of time in the grand
scheme of our lives. They are merely the pop quizzes that we take in
life. When I was a kid in school I used to sleep through class a lot,
and I wasn't the greatest at doing my homework either. Yet I always
did well on the tests so I passed my classes. Sometimes I look back
on that and I wonder how much better I may have done if I had applied
some real effort to the everyday class activities as well as the tests.
This is what separates great servants of God from average servants of
God. Some people are really devoted when the chips are down. Some people
are really devoted when life is good, but a great servant of God is
always faithful. He studies hard, he does all his homework, and when
he gets a pop quiz it doesn't phase him because God has prepared him.
As Americans we live in a land of prosperity and prosperity is trying
our hearts as a nation. Throughout the Old Testament many men of God
and the nation of Israel often failed this test. Their hearts were with
God while the chips were down, but when they became prosperous and successful
then they forgot about him and indulged in their own selfish desires.
As you go through the mundane reality of your every day life I urge
you today to remember the God who has picked you up so many times when
the chips are down. Take Daniel's example today. Pray to him and gives
I pray the Lord Bless the reading of his word and that
this simple message be a blessing to someone.
God bless you all.