Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
I have been reading in the book of Daniel lately and am seeing things that I haven’t really picked up on before. Daniel is a great book. I know that last year, Pastor Brandon preached on the book. I have listened to some of the sermons. The book of Daniel is one of the greatest books on prophecy there are. In it, the entire history of mankind is laid out. But that is not what struck me this time. What did strike me was the character of Daniel himself. There is way too much to go over everything in this blog post, but I would like to talk about a couple of them.
We have all heard of the story of Daniel and the Lion’s den. If you’ve been raised in the church from a child, I am sure you heard about it in Children’s Sunday school. While the teaching often centered on the protection of God from the Lions, I think a side story is about Daniel’s character. Chapter six starts out with Daniel being appointed one of three commissioners that looked over the kingdom. He was over several satraps and verse 3 says that Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps. In other words, Daniel shown like a bright star! Daniel was getting older by now but he hadn’t changed from the time he was taken as a captive many years before. He made a covenant that he would not defile his God from the very beginning. And no matter who was king, whether good or bad, Daniel served him with integrity of heart. These facts still remained when serving King Darius.
The story goes on and talks about the plot of the other rulers to discredit Daniel on a point of his religion. They talked the king into signing an irrevocable decree that anyone who worshiped any god but Darius for 30 days was to die. Being king, it sounded good to Darius and he signed it. The next scene always struck me as foolish on Daniel’s part for a long time. Verse 10 says that after Daniel knew the document was signed, he went into his house and opened the windows and prayed to God three times a day. Personally, in my younger days, I thought that was a bit arrogant on his part. That is until I read the last six words of verse 10 carefully: “…as he had been doing previously.” It finally dawned on me that Daniel’s character was so strong toward his God, that nothing would make him change his previously engrained habit of worship. No, things would go on as they always had. Daniel would worship his God and no other.
These two characteristics of Daniel brought out in this chapter are amazing. First, Daniel’s ability to be a person of integrity and second, his love and dedication to his (and our) God! I thought about applying this to us today. The applications are obvious enough, but hard to do at times. Even in a ministry like I serve with, it is often hard to serve our leaders with humility, obedience and integrity, especially in the areas of speech. When you find yourself disagreeing with your “boss” do go around and talk about him behind his back, or do you keep quiet, pray for him or her and still serve to the best of your ability. It hurts me to think back in my life about how many times I have done the former. It was nothing but pride and sin on my part.
The second characteristic is that of continuing on with our walk of our Lord regardless of the circumstances. Have we developed habits in our walk that can carry us through the hard times in life? Or are you like me that when things get too tough (real or imagined) you just check out and seek ways to get out of whatever the circumstance is. I will end with a verse that I just became reacquainted with recently: Psalm 51:17—The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” There is a little booklet I have read a few times in my life that is simply titled: Lord, Break me. This has recently become my main prayer for me. That our Lord would show us areas of pride, stubbornness and rebellion in our lives and bring us to that place of having a humble and contrite heart before Him. There is a price to pay in this of course; the kingdom of God is a backwards kingdom. The way down is the only way up! May God’s grace be with us to become broken for Him and follow Him with all our hearts.