Heroes of the faith
Daniel: The Right Stuff for a Wrong Culture
By Laura J. Bagby
Hebrews 11:1 lists those men and women of valor, those heroes of the faith. Now, Moses and Abraham get a lot of attention, as do others. But not a lot of mention goes to Daniel. We see him possibly mentioned in 11:32 as one of the prophets, and hinted at in 11:33 as being one who by faith “shut the mouths of lions.”
Daniel has been given more press the last couple of years with the introduction of Beth Moore’s Bible study on his character, but I have always appreciated this man of God.
A Short Profile of Daniel
First of all, this guy is a high-profile, cream-of-the-crop leader who was meant to walk the halls of palaces. He was to be in the spotlight for the cause of God. Of course, that didn’t come without a very high price: nearly losing his life. But this young man knew whom he served and was willing to stand firm despite the political and religious leanings of the immoral city in which he lived.
In Daniel 1: 4-6, the Scriptures list this man as good-looking, intelligent, educated, with knowledge and understanding, and the ability to serve in the king’s court. He was the Phi Beta Kappa, the National Honor Society student. And, instead of giving into the decadence of a kingly lifestyle by eating off the king’s table, he opted to go vegetarian – all to honor his true king, God Himself. It was like Daniel said no to the company car, no to the penthouse apartment, no to that extra bonus all of which would have come with a steep moral price tag (see Daniel 1:8). After three years of intense, specialized training, Daniel and his crew of believing friends entered their jobs to serve the king as wise consultants (Daniel 1:8 and 1:18-19).
One of the first breaks Daniel gets in his new hot-shot career is boldly and correctly translating Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, something Neb’s 'Psychic Network' of magicians could not do. I love the fact that in this instance, when his life and the life of the other wise men were at stake, Daniel doesn’t simply trust in his God-given talent. He gets his group of guy friends to pray for him to get the interpretation from God (Daniel 2:17-18).
And then when Daniel gets the interpretation in a dream, he makes sure that the true source of his wisdom and understanding is clearly known: He informs King Neb that the interpretation isn’t something he pulled out of his own human bag of tricks, but rather words coming from the throne room of God.
Here’s a portion of the introductory speech Daniel gave to the king: “As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men, conjurers, magicians nor diviners are able to declare it to the king. However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days” (Daniel 2:27-28a).
Daniel wins the favor of God and the king, and gets promoted to become ruler over Babylon. Not only does Nebuchadnezzar acknowledge Daniel’s amazing God-given talent, but he also gives thanks to Daniel’s God. How’s that for a testimony of someone’s Christian faith! Plus, Daniel remembers those who helped him, his faithful friends, and gets them promoted as administrators (Daniel 2:49).
Being Culturally Relevant Today
There is so much more that can be said about this man of faith, but I chose this first part of Daniel because it shows a pattern of godliness that he managed to keep throughout the other events and trials of his life, even when his friends got thrown into a fiery furnace (Daniel 3) and when he himself got thrown into a lion’s den for praying to God illegally (Daniel 6).
Here are some key points from Daniel that I hope will strengthen your faith today:
- You don’t have to work for a Christian ministry to serve God; God can make you a Christian witness to the most worldy of peoples.
- God can and will use people of influence, people with a platform, to further His kingdom, so pray for those Christians in government and the media.
- When you get a powerful career position, don’t pander to your boss and don’t give in to the decadent lifestyle you see around you, even when it is offered to you.
- Take care of your faithful friends as you continue in your calling and God will honor you.
- Be sure to give God credit publicly for your victories – both before the victories and after.
- Boldly say and do what God says, even if it might not be popular or understood.
- When your life is threatened for standing up for your faith, God can protect and deliver you. When He does, He will be glorified and hardened hearts will be saved.
May God help you shut the mouths of lions, speak prophetic words that will glorify His name, and remain wholeheartedly committed to the Lord God with all passion, boldness, and integrity, just as Daniel did.
How to Give Your Life to Christ:
1. Admit you are a sinner and need forgiveness.
2. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the Cross and
rose from the grave.
3. Through prayer, confess that Jesus Christ is the only
way to God and commit to live for Him for the rest of your
What to Pray:
Dear Lord Jesus,
I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe
that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave
to give me life. I know You are the only way to God so now
I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You. Please
forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You. In
Jesus' name. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, please send
us an e-mail to let us know. Or you can call our CBN Prayer
Counseling Center at (800) 759-0700. We would love to talk
with you and send you some resources to help you begin your
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