When we really come right down to it – are we Christians by choice, by knowledge and understanding or by convenience? When we look at the men and women of the first century, they were Christians during difficult times. They were Christians because they loved Jesus and desired salvation in His Name. Even those of the Old Testament had to endure a great deal of difficulty to remain faithful. One of these men was the faithful and upright Daniel.
A look into the book of Daniel shows a man who loved, revered and lived for his God. The first chapter tells us of Daniel, Shadrach (Hananiah), Meshach (Mishael) and Abednego (Azariah) and their trip into Babylon due to captivity. They were the choicest men of Israel and thus were taken to the king’s court to serve. The choicest food would be brought to them as well as other fine extras. Daniel, however, “made up his mind” (1:8) that he would not defile himself with the king’s food. He sought permission from the king’s official to be allowed to not eat the king’s food. Permission was granted. Imagine the courage and strength it took for Daniel to deny the king’s food and instead ask for a test to be done (1:12). Daniel was a courageous man who showed his love for God by his actions.
Later in this great book, chapter 6, we read that Daniel was again tested. The men who were of high rank conspired against Daniel in order to accuse him in hopes of demoting him in rank. However, they could find nothing out of place in his life (vs. 5) so they devised a plan that would surely accuse him. The solution was to make an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides the king would be cast into the lion’s den.
Daniel, after hearing of the injunction, proceeded to go into his house, kneel down toward Jerusalem and pray to God. The Bible says this was a habitual practice for Daniel to do (6:10). The men who made the injunction came by as Daniel was involved in prayer and caught him as they initially desired. They proceeded to speak to the king about the action and reminded him of the recent injunction. This terribly upset the king because he favored Daniel (vs. 14). However, the men reminded the king that the injunction was made and could not be revoked – not even by the king.
Daniel is then placed in the lion’s den with hungry lions and a stone lay over the top of the den. The next morning, the king “made haste” (6:19) to the lion’s den to know of the outcome of Daniel in the den. His comment is a strong compliment to the life of Daniel. He said, “…has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?” (vs. 20) Daniel’s God did save Him! Daniel’s faith, his trust and his devotion to God proved true as he stood among the hungry lions unharmed.
How are you and I doing today? Regarding our faithfulness to God, what kind of tests are we passing or failing? Whether it is the beginning of the year or the middle of the year – there is no greater time than the present to start obeying God and striding down the narrow road to life Eternal. We each know – or should know – that Jesus is our Master and supreme example. Yet, God reveals to us men and women in the Bible who are examples of faithfulness in times of trial. What a marvelous example Daniel is for us today! What kind of example will you be for someone this year? By Andy Burns