On page 322 in the old Broadman Hymnal, is a children’s song called “Dare to Be a Daniel”. The refrain goes like this:
Dare to be a Daniel
Dare to stand alone
Dare to have a purpose firm
Dare to make it known (Philip Bliss)
Today is a good day to be a Daniel.
Daniel’s story is recorded in the Old Testament. Just an adolescent when Jerusalem was invaded and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar’s army, he lived the rest of his life in the city of Babylon in the service of pagan rulers.
A young Jewish boy, stolen, enslaved, challenged by excess and debauchery, alone – certainly not an auspicious beginning or an ideal life – how did he survive? His childhood was interrupted by horror, but he stood firm in his resolve to honor the King of Kings.
He served with grace and wisdom. He lived with integrity. His accusers had to attack his loyalty to God to find any fault in him.
How did Daniel stay true to God?
Four principles of his life stand out as I read through the book of Daniel.
- Daniel purposed in his heart (Daniel 1:8).
Before any temptation was put in front of Daniel, he had already made his decision – he would remain true, no matter what. He did not leave an escape hatch in case a more pleasant choice appeared; his will was set. We often underestimate the power of our will. When we determine or purpose to do a thing, we set the stage to accomplish that purpose. Daniel’s heart and will were set.
- Daniel spoke truth (Daniel 4:19-27).
Even in the face of danger, Daniel spoke God’s truth. The message was not always pleasant or popular, but he accurately relayed what God said.
- Daniel stood when opposed and threatened (Daniel 6:5).
When schemed against and threatened, Daniel simply continued doing what was right. He trusted God for the outcome, always realizing that his life was in God’s hands. I do not sense frantic unease or ranting as I read through the book of Daniel. Instead, I see him quietly doing his job in the very presence of evil.
- Daniel praised God and gave Him the credit and glory (Daniel 2:19-23).
Praise permeates the book of Daniel. Daniel was not in a good place, but he served a good God – and he let this be known. When he interpreted a dream, he gave God the glory. He told Nebuchadnezzar that his kingdom existed at God’s pleasure, not because of his own ability. Daniel consistently stopped to pray three times each day – his life a consistent witness of his dependence on God.
I can learn from Daniel today.
- I have decided to follow Jesus! Just as Daniel purposed in his heart, I must purpose in mine, because what I determine in my heart to do and be matters. The choice cannot be left to a chance moment. My heart must be fixed on God’s desire and God’s plan.
- I will speak God’s truth. In a world that sensationalizes lies and deceit, my words must accurately repeat and reflect what God has said. My opinions do not matter so much. God’s truth reigns.
- I must stand. When trials come and persecutions arise, I must stand in God’s strength and in the truth of Who He is – not frantic but trusting in His sovereign will.
- God gets the glory – all the glory. He alone is worthy of praise, and it is my job to offer it to Him.
God grant me strength to be a Daniel today.
Ephesians 6:23 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Photo – Moon Rising, Beth Mims