Marvin L. Weir
The inspired book of Daniel has been thrown into the critic’s den just as Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den. But, like Daniel, God’s Book has escaped intact and as influential and powerful as ever. The modernists reject the book of Daniel because of its miracles and prophetic utterances. Unbelievers, however, do not alter God’s truths, and will suffer the consequences of rejecting God. As Jesus said of Jerusalem, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (Matt. 23:37-38).
Daniel was carried about 800 miles into captivity after the Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem (Dan. 1:1). He was a very young man of perhaps fourteen years of age. One thing is for certain–his youth did not keep him from being steadfast to his convictions and faithful to his God. Daniel practiced what Solomon besought young people to do–“Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them” (Eccl. 12:1). Let us learn some valuable lessons about this remarkable young man!
His Character! Fausset’s Bible Dictionary says of Daniel:
Daniel, like Moses, was trained in all the learning of the world; his political experience moreover, as a minister of state under successive dynasties of the great world powers, gave the natural qualifications to which God added supernatural spiritual insight, enabling him to characterize to the life the several world monarchies which bore or were to bear sway until Messiah’s kingdom shall come with power. Personal purity and self-restraint amidst the world’s corrupting luxuries (Dan. 1:8-16; compare Moses, Heb. 11:25; Joseph, Gen. 39:9); faithfulness to God at all costs, and fearless witnessing for God before great men (Dan. 5:17-23), unbribed by lucre and unawed by threats (Dan. 6:10-11); the holiest and most single-minded patriotism which with burning prayers interceded for his chastened countrymen (Dan. 9); intimate communion with God, so that, like the beloved disciple and apocalyptic seer of the New Testament, John, Daniel also is called” a man greatly beloved,” and this twice, by the angel of the Lord (Dan. 9:23; 10:11).
Nothing is revealed in the Bible regarding Daniel’s parents, but one or both must have nurtured him in a home that respected and honored God. Biblical principles not to be forgotten were evidently formed in Daniel at a very early age. Parents cannot begin too early to build character in their children. What a blessing it is for a young person to say with conviction, “For which cause I suffer also these things: yet I am not ashamed; for I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12).
His Temptations! A time for one to be tested will come. The Chaldean king selected young men skilled in wisdom and knowledge to enroll in three years of study to learn Chaldean customs and language (Dan. 1:4). Daniel and his three friend’s Hebrew names were changed to honor Babylonian gods. It is easy to see the goal was to eradicate their Hebrew religion and replace it with Babylonian religion and philosophy. The king also “appointed for them a daily portion of the king’s dainties, and of the wine which he drank (Dan. 1:5). “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile him self with the king’s dainties, nor with the wine which he drank” (Dan. 1:8). A worldly person will do what is necessary to attain earthly success and glory, but a person who values his soul will purpose to abide in the fellowship of the Father and His Son (cf. 2 John 9-11). One who will not stand against popular opinion is of no value to the Heavenly Father. Situations and circumstances do not change God’s truths! A follower of God will not be influenced to turn aside because of man-made conditions. Like Daniel, those loyal to God today will continue to serve and worship faithfully even under the threat of death (cf. Rev. 2:10).
His Reward! “Now God made Daniel to find kindness and compassion in the sight of the prince of the eunuchs” (Dan. 1:9). Daniel was at a crossroad in his life, and he made the correct choice to remain faithful to God. Having refused to forsake godliness and indulge in worldly and heathen pleasures, he remained true to his conscience and His God. The wisdom and character that profited Daniel is not to be found in the learned schools of men. Daniel was convinced of a Bible truth that served him well: “godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Tim. 4:8).
Because Daniel refused to lower his character and lose his faith in God, he continued to prosper before the king (Dan. 1:19-21). Will you and I purpose to be like Daniel? It will matter one day!