Modern-Day Daniels

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    The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus. Dan 1:19-21

    In roughly 605 B.C., probably as a teenager, Daniel was taken from his homeland in Israel and deported to Babylon, a land filled with wickedness and decadence. The time described as “the first year of King Cyrus” was most likely 536 B.C., meaning Daniel stayed in Babylon for approximately 69-70 years, virtually his entire life. Imagine being a devout follower of God and being uprooted from your home and forced to live in a land that openly practiced child sacrifice, idol worship, prostitution and a host of other detestable things. There was no recognition of God and Daniel was undoubtedly pressured to give up his faith and conform to the local customs. I can’t imagine trying to handle this for a few weeks, let alone 70 years.

    So how did Daniel fare? “He (the king) found none equal to Daniel” and his three friends. “He found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters”. Why? Because they did not falter. They maintained their faith in God and their commitment to obey His commands every day, even among such an ungodly people. Daniel prayed, despite the king’s edict not to pray to anyone but the king himself. The three friends refused to bow down and worship the golden image the king had made, despite the threat of certain death by being thrown into the furnace. They would not eat the king’s food because it violated God’s dietary laws. God placed them in unique positions as the king’s advisors and gave Daniel special talents (the ability to interpret dreams) which earned Daniel favor with the king and brought God glory.

    Friend, do you and I not live in a modern-day Babylon? Everywhere you look, you see the same sorts of things – people doing whatever they please with little or no regard for God. How are we supposed to live in such a world? Many of us would just like to give up or run away. But how do you think God expects us to live?

    In the exact same way as Daniel and his three friends lived. God expects one thing – obedience. He expects us to stay true to Him and His commands, no matter the consequences. Rather than run and hide from the ugliness and dangers of the world, God calls us to live a godly, obedient life – a life where people will see the difference that being a follower of Jesus Christ makes (“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.” – 1 Pet 2:12). It may not be easy; Daniel was thrown into a den of lions and the three friends were thrown into the furnace. But in both cases God miraculously delivered them, and the Babylonians “saw his deeds and glorified God”.

    Lord, give us the resolve and determination of Daniel, to commit ourselves to following your commands each day. Let the consequences be what they may be. May those around us see the difference being a Christ-follower makes in our lives.

    May God bless your obedience this day and always.

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