During times of turmoil, I find delighting myself in the Lord, choosing to give thanks, and examining myself to see if I’m in the faith are ways to keep my mind and heart in a healthy perspective.
And I look for people of excellent character for inspiration. Daniel is a man above reproach who encourages all of us to follow his example.
Anne Graham Lotz states, “When Daniel was approximately fifteen years old, a history-changing event radically altered his life.”
Daniel was one of approximately two hundred Jews that King Nebuchadnezzar captured and brought to be his servants in Babylon. The king commanded for all those captured to be educated in the local language and literature for three years before beginning their service to him. These two hundred youths were commanded to eat from the king’s own choice food and wine.
Stripped of his home, culture, name and future dreams, Daniel only resisted in the area of his faith.
It was known that the king’s food was first sacrificed to idols. Therefore, to eat the king’s food meant Daniel would indirectly be worshipping these idols.
Daniel refused to compromise his faith or to betray His God in this manner. Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food nor would he drink the king’s wine.
Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself.
Daniel sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might change his diet.
Receives Favor from Commander
Asking the King’s commander for permission to eat an unusual diet risked Daniel’s life, and as the commander pointed out, it also risked his life for it was going against the king’s recommendations and appointed provisions.
Daniel found favor in the eyes of the king’s commander when he requested a ten day test of eating vegetables and drinking water. “Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials.”
At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends from Judah were found to look healthier and more nourished then the youths on the king’s choice foods, so Daniel and his friends passed the test. They continued on their diet of vegetables and water for the remaining three years of preparation and training for the king’s service.
God blessed them in literature and wisdom.
Beyond looking healthier, the king’s commander found, “These four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every kind of literature and expertise; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams.”
They found favor in the eyes of the king’s commander; they experienced favor with the king himself, and they found favor in the eyes of God.
Questions the King’s Verdict
King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that deeply unsettled him. In his agitation, he demanded the wise men of Babylon to narrate his dream to him, then give him the interpretation or they would be killed.
Tell me the dream and its interpretation.
When the wise men rightly answered that this was above man’s natural abilities, the king “became indignant and very furious, and gave orders to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.”
No man can do what the king asks!
“So the decree was issued that the wise men be killed; and they looked for Daniel and his friends, to kill them. Then Daniel replied with discretion and discernment to the captain of the king’s bodyguard, ‘For what reason is the decree from the king so urgent?’”
“Then Daniel went to his house and informed his friends about the matter, so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends would not be killed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.”
Daniel, and his three friends from Judah, prayed to God for compassion; they prayed to God to know the mystery of the king’s dream and its interpretation; they prayed for their lives to be spared.
Accepts God’s Revelation
“Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision; then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” God’s revelation saved Daniel and his friends in answer to their prayers. God’s revelation also saved all the wise men of Babylon from certain death.
“Daniel went to the captain of the king’s bodyguard, whom the king had appointed to kill the wise men of Babylon; he went and said this to him: ‘Do not kill the wise men of Babylon! Take me into the king’s presence, and I will declare the interpretation to the king.’”
Daniel refused to receive praise for his revelation. He proclaimed to the king, “There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days.” Then Daniel shared the dream and its interpretation with the king.
God has given me wisdom and might.
“But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me for any wisdom residing in me more than in any other living person, but for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind.” Daniel gave all the praise, glory and honor to God.
Obtains Favor with the King
After the three years of preparation and training, Daniel and his three friends from Judah met with the king, “As for every matter of expertise and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the soothsayer priests and conjurers who were in all his realm.”
After Daniel shared the king’s dream with the interpretation, the king was astounded! Then the king promoted Daniel to be ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief over all the wise men of Babylon.
At Daniel’s request, his three friends from Judah were promoted over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel served in the King’s court.
The king responded to Daniel and said, “Your God truly is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.”
A Modern-Day Example
A modern-day example of character and integrity was President Ronald Reagan. He wrote my favorite quote on character:
“The character that takes command in moments of crucial choices has already been determined by a thousand other choices made earlier in seemingly unimportant moments. It has been determined by all the ‘little’ choices of years past – by those times when the voice of conscience was at war with the voice of temptation, [which was] whispering the lie that ‘it really doesn’t matter.’ It has been determined by all the day to day decisions made when life seemed easy and crises far away – the decisions that, piece by piece, bit by bit developed habits of discipline or of laziness; habits of self-sacrifice or self-indulgence; habits of duty and honor and integrity – or dishonor and shame.”
Like Reagan, Paul and Daniel, may we make the little day-to-day choices of character that really do matter. Even if our culture is shouting the opposite, we know the Truth, “For the eyes of the Lord roam throughout the earth, so that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”
And “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Let us remember Paul’s exhortation to Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life which you were called.”
Let us choose like Daniel to be above reproach in our interactions with other people. Let us trust the Lord for wisdom and revelation in every current situation or future scenario. He is Faithful and True. We can trust Him with our lives.
Lord, we choose to humble ourselves before You, to love mercy, to act justly, and to trust You to strongly support us in good times and in challenging times.
Lord, we thank You for empowering us with Your Holy Spirit that we might love You with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Thank you for strengthening us to stand firm in faith in every trial and challenge which comes our way.
We love you! We confess our trust in You. We choose You and Your ways over all the other ways tempting us, by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Further Reading Actions:
The Daniel Key – 20 Choices That Make All the Difference by Anne Graham Lotz is an excellent resource on the book of Daniel and character growth. I enjoyed the audio-book so much, I bought the kindle edition, so I could read and highlight her words of wisdom.
If you need help overcoming your natural fears, Lisa’s blog post, To Fear or Not to Fear: Man or God?, gives us 5 steps to victory. And Lisa illuminates the practical ways we walk in the fear of the Lord which sets us free from the fear of man. You can find it here: https://strengthwithdignity.com/fear-or-not-to-fear-man-or-god/
2 Chronicles 16:9a; Daniel 1 & 2; Micah 6:8; 1 Timothy 6:12
Lotz, Anne Graham. The Daniel Key – 20 Choices That Make All the Difference. Kindle book, Zondervan, 2018. [The audiobook is available at chirpbooks.com and audible.com]
New American Standard Bible, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission.
World English Bible, by Public Domain. The name “World English Bible” is trademarked.
Wellman, Pastor Jack. 18 Quotes from the Book of Daniel: Old Testament Bible Quotations. www.christianquotes.info, Updated: December 17, 2019. [Bible Quotes ESV] Retrieved January 18, 2021. https://www.christianquotes.info/bible/18-quotes-book-daniel-old-testament-bible-quotations/