Daniel: A Great Example
Daniel prophesied during the reign of four kings of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus). Though captured, exiled to Babylon from his home town of Jerusalem, and renamed, he refused to live by the standards others set for him. He chose the standard found in his faith. Even in captivity he chose to live by faith in the one living God.
Since they wanted to redefine him, his captors renamed him, Belteshazzar. Daniel means God is my judge; Daniel worshipped God. Sources I read all refer the name to who God is. The new name, Belteshazzar, means one who lays up treasures in secret. Other sources say it means protect the life of the king or favored by Bel. Any one is quite different from the definition of the person deported, Daniel. There are so many variables mixed into who people say you are. Be careful how you let others call you outside of your name. You do not have to accept their reference of you.
Some people will want to officiate your destiny (Daniel 1:7). The king’s officials had three years to get the captives ready to present to the king (Daniel 1:5). Does their redefinition align with who you say that you are? You must choose; let your character define you. People’s perceptions of you will develop from what you present to them. They may choose to try to change you, however, the choice is yours. Daniel could have chosen to go along to get along. Instead, he chose to live by the faith in God that was inside him. Whatever is in you will be reflected in the daily choices you make, in what you do and in what you say.
Promotion or Demotion: Devotion not Emotion
Daniel 1 & 2
Daniel was presented to King Nebuchadnezzar and entered into the king’s service because none was equal to him (Daniel 1:18-20). Later (2:11-13), the king became furious because no one could interpret his dream. Being controlled by his angry emotion, the king ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death. But just as easily as the king decided to promote Daniel he could demote him even unto death. Again, being ruled by emotion, this time ecstatic emotion of having his dream interpreted, he praised Daniel. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men (2:46-48).
Even facing the possibility of execution, Daniel chose to live by faith, turning to God to reveal the meaning of the king’s dream (2:17-24). He went to his prayer partners for support. He prayed, listened to God’s response, and then praised God. Daniel was continuously devoted to God and lived it. Even today we must choose to live what we believe, not making decisions based on how we feel. Make choices according to what God says.
Elevated or Deflated
Daniel 5 & 6
Choose to live by faith in the one living God. The second king that Daniel served also used Daniel’s gift of prophecy. I cannot help but notice that those who supervise us may come and go; but the faith I have must not be so transient. Each one in authority over me needs to see my God in me and know that I believe it is up to God to elevate or deflate me.
Belshazzar was not as humble before God as Nebuchadnezzar (5:22-23). He and his party guests used vessels previously used in the Jewish temple to drink wine into drunkenness at his feast. The Lord wrote something on the wall for all to see but only Daniel could interpret it. Though he elevated Daniel for interpreting the writing, he was slain that same night. We must not fret over what those in authority over us do.
We must maintain our integrity in the midst of all things. We must make choices according to what God says. Whatever is in us will be reflected in the daily choices we make. Choose to live by faith in the one living God.
Daniel was so distinguished by his exceptional qualities even among the government leaders and was elevated again. Some tried to bring charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. (6:3-4). Thus, the need for the fiery furnace lions’ den and another godly victory for Daniel. We, too, can survive the plots of others against the work that God chooses to accomplish through us. Choose to live by faith in the one living God.
I challenge you to read (listen to), study, and meditate on the Book of Daniel, only 12 chapters.
And so we grow … grow in grace, which is God’s special favor. www.barbaraafbrehon.com