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FAMILY:  Live Like Daniel

In Daniel 1, King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Kingdom of Judah, besieged, plundered and destroyed Jerusalem, and he took the Jews away in captivity. In Daniel 5, a new king comes rolling into Babylon, Darius the Mede. Daniel has continued his public service and would continue to field attacks from jealous officials over 6 decades.  Fortunately, no one could find any dirt on Daniel to discredit him.

One of the habits or spiritual disciplines that Daniel had was that he prayed 3 times a day.  What does this tell us about his spiritual health?  He was spiritually healthy don’t you think?

Unfortunately the only weak spot for Daniel, if you could call it that, was his faith in God.  Daniel was so consistent in his faith while living in this pagan culture, the jealous officials had complete confidence that he could be trapped.  Knowing this, these officials made a decree that if anyone prayed to anything other than the king, they would be executed.

Even though Daniel lived in the king’s house, ran his government and received meals from the king’s table, he never trusted the king to be his ultimate provider.

In Daniel 1, Daniel prayed when they tried to get him to eat forbidden foods.  In Chapter 2, he prayed when he was asked to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams. In Chapter 3, he prayed when he was told to bow down to the golden statue.  Whenever Dan was in trouble, he always went to God for answers.  Prayer was as natural to him as breathing.

Daniel recognized that his life didn’t belong to him, it belonged to God.  He also recognized that his problems didn’t belong to him either, they belonged to God.  All Daniel was responsible for was what God calls us to do, to love and serve Him.  When we trust God, the Provider and Sustainer of life, we too can be courageous because everything in life is dependent on Him.

The jealous officials trap worked and they couldn’t wait to tell the king.  Darius saw through their ruse and was very displeased.  But, he was bound by their ridiculous customs. It was irrevocable.

Judgement was passed and the order made for Daniel to be executed by being thrown into the lions den.  That night, King Darius couldn’t sleep.

Daniel 6:3 doesn’t tell us that Daniel was delivered because he was special, it says “He was found to be unharmed, for he trusted in his God.”

Notice while everyone around him was frantic, Daniel was calm.  Because of his integrity, Daniel’s faith drew the king to Daniel instead of repelling him.

I.M.P.A.C.T. Others!

When God delivers for us in our lives, our trust in Him can IMPACT others.  But how?  How was Daniel able to IMPACT the king of Babylon.

I’d like to use the acronym - I.M.P.A.C.T.

The I is for Integrity.  Integrity is doing what’s right, even when no one is looking.  Sometimes we do things that aren’t right because we feel no one is looking. BUT, God is always looking.  God ’s omniscient; all knowing, all seeing & all wise.  Daniel was a man of integrity.

M is for Make Your Mark. Daniel was always in tune with the holy Spirit and where he was directing him and left his mark on King Nebby and King Darius.

P is for Perseverance.  Perseverance is keep on keeping on - even when we feel like quitting.  Pastor and Leadership guru, John C. Maxwell once said “The only guarantee for failure is - to stop trying.”  Daniel never quit following what God told him to do. He persevered.

A is for Accountability. Accountability boils down to one thing; responsibility. When you are are accountable to God, yourself and others, you make sure you achieve the goals you have agreed to. Daniel was responsible to God and no one else.

C is for Courage. Nelson Mandela once said: “courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”

When I was in college, I had to take a speech class. My self-confidence wasn’t the greatest and was afraid to speak to a group of people. The day came when I had to give my first speech.  I just happened to get sick that day.  (Not Really)

When I came back the next day, my teacher asked where I was and I lied and told her I was sick.  She said “Well, you get a zero for your speech.” I’m not sure what I was thinking, but I guess I was hoping that I could get out of it by not doing it.  Not so.

That was a wake up call for me.  I made sure to be there for all of my speeches after that.  But how? I did them afraid.

It’s said that public speaking is the number one fear for most people.  Death is number two.  That means, most people would rather be the one in the casket than the one giving the eulogy. Daniel would do God’s will afraid no matter what, knowing that God would be with him.

The last letter in IMPACT is T for Transformation.  Because of Daniel’s Integrity, Making a Mark, Persevering, being Accountable and showing Courage, this caused King Darius to become a fan of not only Daniel, but also Daniel’s God.  When we honor God, God honors us.

I just wrote a book titled “Choose Honor-God Honors Right Choices”. It talks about how God will honor you if you honor Him by obeying and following His ways, just like Daniel.

Daniel Chapter 6 starts with a prayer but ends with a pagan king preaching a sermon about God’s protection.

Daniel 6:25-27

Listen to this in Daniel 6:25-27.

“Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth: “May you prosper greatly!  “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.

He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

In his study, “Daniel, Faithful in the Fire”, J.D. Greer shares in verse 25 that King Darius said God is a Global God, that God is the God of all people, nations,  and languages. He’s the one God for all people, for all times and for all places.

In verse 26 mentions that King Darius said that God is a Personal God.  In other words, He’s a living & active speaking God. He’s not like the Babylonian gods that neither speaks nor relate to humans.

In verse 26, King Darius also said that God is Eternal or that God endures forever and that God is Sovereign by saying that His kingdom will never be destroyed.

In verse 27, the king said that God is Faithful or that “He rescues and delivers His people” and that God is Immanent by performing signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. God is actively at work in the world today, pursuing us and working in our lives.

King Darius ends in verse 27 by saying God is our Savior because He saved Daniel in the Lions Den. Notice that all of these attributes of God by King Darius, point us to Jesus.

Greer states that, in Daniel and everywhere in the Bible, the point is always to Jesus.  The Old Testament was not primarily written to give us heroes to emulate but a Savior to adore.

Here are some similarities between Daniel and Jesus. Daniel and Jesus were both innocent and falsely convicted.  Jesus was thrown to the lions in judgment.  *Jesus took our punishment and now promises to preserve us when we are thrown into the lions dens of life.  With Him, we can have the courage to face all of our circumstances.

In Daniel 6:10, it says “When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house.  The windows in its upstairs room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” 

What we rehearse in times of ease, we will remember in times of hardship. Let me repeat, “What we rehearse in times of ease, we will remember in times of hardship.” That’s why regular spiritual habits or disciplines like prayer and Bible reading are so important.  These habits that we cultivate in our lives today will tether us to Jesus and His work in our lives for eternity.

May God bless you as you dare to live like Daniel.

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