Daniel. He wrote a whole book in the Bible and did many
interesting things. There are some things about Daniel that we
should know so we can understand him better. Then we'll see how
he Faithed on God's word.
Daniel was born of the nobility of the people of the kingdom
of Judah. When King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, 650,000
of Daniel's people were taken into bondage back to Babylon. King
Nebuchadnezzar was a smart king, and ordered that the young,
handsome princes of Judah be trained for work in the king's
court. Daniel was one of those chosen.
Daniel had always respected and honored God, and tried to
please Him by keeping to the Israelite religious laws. God had
told Daniel's people that they should live a certain way in order
to serve Him better. One of the ways was to eat only certain
kinds of food.
Now when King Nebuchadnezzar picked the young men to be his
servants, he told his head servant to train the men for three
years and be sure to keep them healthy. They were to eat the
same food as the king. The only problem was that God had said
that Daniel shouldn't eat that kind of food. So Daniel asked the
king's captain if he could just eat the vegetables and drink
water instead of the king's wine. The captain liked Daniel, but
was afraid the king would cut off his head if he saw that Daniel
was looking skinny.
Daniel knew that God had said He'd take care of him, so he
acted in faith, I like to say he Faithed, on God's promise and
made a deal with the captain. If the captain would do as Daniel
had asked for ten days, he would see that Daniel was still very
healthy or Daniel would eat the king's meat and wine. I just put
in the second part so that we could understand the deal better,
but even if it doesn't say those exact words, that was the other
Well, I know you can guess what happened. At the end of only
ten days Daniel looked healthier than all the other young men who
were in training for the king.
I suppose it doesn't look like a very important thing for
Daniel to refuse to eat the king's food, but that's the lesson.
Most of our chances to trust God's word look small and
unimportant. But we don't normally have real big things happen
to us, and it might be years between times when we asked God for
His help if we waited for only the extra big things that happen
Now we come to the best part of the story. The part that
most people have heard about. Daniel in the lion's den. To be
sure, Daniel was in possible danger of losing his life for not
eating the king's food because he was, after all, a captive of
the war. Back then, even as now, prisoners of war are killed
sometimes for the smallest things. Well, this time Daniel's
courage was to be tested much, much more.
When King Darius, the Mede, took over the Babylonian kingdom
in 522 BC, he wanted the government to run very smoothly and not
make a lot of extra work for himself. Daniel had held a high
government position for a long time and really knew how to run
the kingdom. So Darius set up 120 governors for the kingdom and
they were to report to three presidents. Daniel was the main
president. The other two presidents and some of the governors
didn't like Daniel because he was not one of their countrymen and
they were jealous when he was made head president.
They searched and tried to find some way to get rid of Daniel
by watching how he did his job. Well, Daniel was so trustworthy,
because that's one thing that God wants us to be, that the men
could find nothing wrong with Daniel's work. Then they had the
idea that they could get Daniel only through his religion. So
they went to King Darius and, with flattery, told him that all
the governors and presidents had decided that for thirty days
everyone in the kingdom would honor King Darius by praying to him
only. They knew that Daniel would not give up praying to God and
they could accuse him of breaking the law. And the law said that
once the king said something he couldn't take it back.
They were right about Daniel. He still prayed to God three
times a day. I guess I should remind you at this point that the
penalty for breaking this law was that the person be thrown to
King Darius was very upset when the men came and told him
about Daniel, but even though he argued with them for a long
time, they wouldn't budge an inch, and in the end the king had to
order that Daniel be thrown to the lions.
Darius still sat up all night worrying and hoping that God
would help Daniel. In fact, when Daniel was about to go down
into the den, the king had said, "Your God will protect you."
Even the king had enough faith in God to be able to say that to
Daniel. It looks to me like anyone, anytime can do something
that shows that God's promises can be trusted.
When the morning came, the king rushed to the lion's den to
see about Daniel. He broke the seals that he and the governors
had put on the big stone over the entrance, and out came Daniel
without a scratch. The king was very happy to find Daniel unhurt
and so angry at the other men for pulling that trick on him that
he had them all killed. Then he sent a proclamation throughout
the whole kigdom, which was as big as Europe, for everyone to show
respect, and honor the God of Daniel because His power and
kingdom was greater than any on earth.
That's where this story of Daniel ends, but we didn't see it
from Daniel's side. We'll have to try and imagine most of it
because all it says in the Bible is that Daniel knew the laws had
been signed and went, as always, and prayed out his window toward
Jerusalem three times a day.
Even if Daniel didn't know that the men were plotting against
him, he worked right there for the king and knew that anyone
breaking that law had to go to the lions. And we all know the
people that are thrown into a pit with a bunch of lions don't
have much chance of coming out alive. So if you put yourself in
Daniel's place, you can see that the very first time you got down
to say your prayers you would be risking your life. I think I
would have played it safe and gone into my closet to say my
prayers. But Daniel said his in front of the open window where
everyone could see him. That took a lot of courage. That's what
Faithing, or trusting in God's word takes; courage.
Now let's try to picture Daniel on his way to the lion's den.
You might want to see him being taken roughly by the guards, held
tightly so he couldn't cause any trouble, and struggling as they
started to throw him in the pit. I know that's what comes to
my mind. But don't forget that Daniel was very close to God and
had seen how God had taken care of him before, so he knew that
God would always help him if he would be true to God's word.
That changes the picture. Maybe now we can imagine Daniel
overcoming his fear of the lions and going willingly down into
the den. Who knows, he might have even been able to sing a
little song of praise for God.
That's what's nice about Faithing, or acting on God's
promises. The more we do it in small ways, the stronger we get
and the more sure we are that God will help us do the Right
thing; even when it looks like it will hurt us.
If we can remember that God is real and we can trust Him, even
with our lives, then we can have the courage the Daniel had.
Be sure to check out the other Heroes of faithing listed in Hebrews, chapter eleven. See if you
can tell what each did that showed he trusted things that God had said. I also invite you see how
the whole book of
Hebrews talks about faithing.
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