Do you know why I love reading and re-reading the book of Daniel? Because every test that he and his friends went through, they passed with flying colors! Daniel was called a “man of preciousness” (Daniel 10:11) with “an excellent spirit” (5:12). He interpreted forgotten dreams, saw prophecies of the end times, and read writings on the wall. They don’t get burned in the firey furnace or eaten by lions! Usually I’m just left amazed after I read about their adventures, but this time I wondered what was it that made them so AMAZING!?
How were they not tempted? Or discouraged? How were they able to remain Israelites during a time of captivity in Babylon?
As the week long training continued I started to see that there was an unshakeable foundation in Daniel and his companions that made them the way they were…and they didn’t stand against the evil tide alone, they had one another. Here are some points that stood out to me. Firstly, they recognized themselves as Israelites, children of God. Nothing changed that identity even when their environment changed. And as children of God they knew that all the kings and kingdoms of the world were under God’s administration (4:17). They knew that the “heavens do rule” (4:26) and God was the one ruling over the entire universe, everyone and everything. Realizing their identity helped them in their absoluteness and consecration to God, and to stand against the idolatrous age.
They treasured God’s Word. After reading the book of Leviticus, they couldn’t eat the king’s unclean food (1:8). After Daniel read about the restoration of Israel (Jeremiah 29:10-14) he fasted and prayed for the restoration (Daniel 9:2-3). The Word affected their living and they joined themselves to God’s desire in His Word. They were able to cooperate with God by praying out what was on God’s heart.
They were people that saw the unseen realm. They looked beyond their current situation and environment. They put their trust on the unseen God that rules the heaven and earth; therefore, they did not care for the kings’ recognition. They cared for God’s interest. Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9 asked God to do something for Himself, “Now hear, O our God, the prayer of Your servant and his supplications, and cause Your face to shine upon Your sanctuary that has been desolated, for the Lord’s sake” (v. 17). His prayer gave God a way to carry out the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
They took a stand as God’s people, for God’s interest. I focus on the part about the lion not eating Daniel, or the fire not consuming Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. But they were doing more than just having miracles happen, they were standing for God’s interest and not putting their own interest first. Daniel was a person living before God; he depended on prayer to do what man could not do, and he depended on prayer to understand what man could not understand (Message Two, IV. D. 3). May there be many Daniels, Hananiahs, Mishaels, and Azariahs standing for God’s interest today.