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 choice.

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 to us.

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 the lions.

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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