Notes on Daniel! (4)

“Daring to be like Daniel”

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The way, the truth and the life!

Faith in the Dining Room  (Chapter 1 Verses 8-21)

Daniel is listed as one of the heroes of faith (Hebrews 11:33). When we think of Daniel in the lion’s den we think, what an amazing example of faith! But we never think of his amazing faith in the palace dining room. Because Daniel’s resolve in the kitchen took as much courage as did the lion’s den (v8). Daniel sees the lion’s den coming from across the dining room table already. And he knows that he is not faithful here he will not survive the lion’s den. A great faith begins with the little things, “one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:10). It is in the small things that you see the courage that is rooted in faith. It’s godliness in practice. The lion’s den is for the minority. It is today we need to live out our faith, not in the future, we don’t know what it holds, God alone does. It’s in the dining room, the living room, the bedroom, the school, the office, the factory we need to be resolved to be faithful. The question would we be faithful if we were faced with the lion’s den is completely inappropriate if we are not resolved not to be defiled in the place where we are now. It would appear that only these four were faithful, was Daniel the initiator? Where were the rest of the royals, nobles (v3)? Were they already defiled, compromised? Of course, there would be those among the Hebrews who would criticise Daniel and his comrades. Too rigid, too narrow. We’re in a different culture now, we need to be flexible, what we eat and drink is of no real consequence. We need to get on with the world, show them that we can be like them. The church in the West has been bending over backwards these last sixty years to make that very point, and look at us now. More worldly than the world. The young Daniel has decided that if God will not bless it then he does not want it (v8). Whatever it is if it will not add to our life of faith and obedience to God, then it has no place in our lives. If there is a danger that it will take us away from God or compromise our testimony, then we will do without it.What others, even older Christians think, or if it costs us, friends, what does it matter? Daniel’s only concern is what pleases God.

It was very soon made clear to Daniel that God was with him (v9). That must have sent a thrill through his soul. His stand was a costly one, but he was soon seen to be the healthiest and happiest of the young men. Both physically and spiritually. This was in his youth that he made this resolve, and he went on in the same vein into old age, growing in grace and fruitfulness all the way. How sad it is that many are past their spiritual best before they’re twenty. Daniel was resolved from the start he was going to be God’s man, and he was in for the long haul (v8). He stood before God before he stood before the king. Doubtless, he would have had his critics, many their faith would have just collapsed in Babylon. What’s the use of believing anymore, it’s all over, God is not with us, it’s time to just accept the inevitable? Daniel will not succumb to unbelief, he holds the high ground, faith. He holds to the hope of his fathers, he clings to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who he believes will not fail his people. He is firmly resolved (v8). It is hope not despair in the worst circumstances that marks the life of this young man. He is God’s man in God’s place at God’s time. Seventy years down the line when it came time for Israel to return to Jerusalem, there were not many who returned, just a remnant. The rest had become Babylonianised, the world’s culture had consumed them a long time ago. While Daniel from the start, in faith, humbled himself, was content to wait on the Lord, and not rebel. What a remarkable young man is this Daniel. Who would dare to be like Daniel today?

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
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