Daniel was faithful, fervent, fearless, and favored by God

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
Many years ago now, I studied diligently and taught a series of lessons on the life of Daniel. For a quick recap, let us note that Daniel’s name means “God is my judge,” and he lived his life with that truth in mind. He is considered a prophet in the time of Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus. His wisdom and faith earned him a position of esteem under Nebuchadnezzar and Darius. He was one of the sons of David and a Levite of the line of Ithamar. His words are often quoted in biblical prophecy as to coming events.

Further study will teach us that Daniel was taken to Babylon as a captive and that he refuses to eat the food of the king. He later is called upon to interpret dreams and then honored by the king. He interprets the mysterious handwriting on the wall in Daniel 5:10-29. He is appointed to high office, conspired against, and thrown to hungry lions. He shares his vision of the four beasts, ram and goat in Daniel 7:8 and he intercedes for Israel and Daniel 9. There are many wonderful truths taught in the book of the Bible that bears his name.

For me, the key verse in the entire writing is Daniel 1:8. Here we read, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” My boss and editor for many years, Dr. John R. Rice, wrote of Daniel, “He resolved to live a clean, godly life. And, from what we can read in Scripture, he appears for the most part to have achieved this goal. Almost all of the great men and women of the Bible had glaring faults recorded. None were recorded of Daniel.

“Noah got drunk. Abraham lied. Jacob cheated. Samson chased after women. David committed adultery and murder. Moses had a violent temper. Peter was profane. James and John were guilty of selfish ambition. Barnabas and Paul experienced sharp contentions. Daniel and Joseph, however, stand as two men of remarkable purity of life and heart. Temperance in eating and drinking certainly make for health, a keen mind, and a pure heart, as was abundantly proven in the case of these young Jews.”

If we take the necessary time to study Daniel’s life in detail, we can learn it was not an easy one. The enemy took Daniel captive in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, King of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar gave orders to his servants and militia that they were to chose children in whom was no blemish (Daniel 1:4), but well-favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand (or serve) in the king’s palace and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

Daniel found himself a young Jewish captive in Babylon where the king had appointed a certain diet and drink to be given to them. Daniel stayed true to his traditions and teachings. He kindly asked the prince of the eunuchs that cared for the captives to spare him from eating the food that he did not believe in consuming. The chief of the eunuchs feared that the king would be dismayed at what appeared to be disobedience. Daniel, in his young wisdom, asked for a ten-day trial period of eating the diet he believed to be right for him consisting of vegetables and water. Verse 15 of Chapter 1 gives us the exciting outcome.

At the end of the ten-day period, the eunuch admitted that their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh that all the children, which did eat the king’s diet. Daniel continued to prove himself in a foreign land where it would have been much easier just to go along with the crowd. How many of our young people, or grown adults, for that matter, have what it takes these days to “purpose in our hearts” that we will do right no matter what comes our way? I believe the key to his success if found in Verse 8 of Chapter 1.

Reading Daniel’s entire story, we find that he was found faithful to what he believed and had been taught. He was fervent in his beliefs and not wishy-washy. He did not come and go with the tide. He was fearless to stand up and speak out for what he believed, and Daniel was certainly favored by God. I am praying today that I will have the courage of Daniel to stand true to what I believe even when times are difficult and the demand is great. To achieve this, we must first purpose in our hearts.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or
[email protected]


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