Reflection for November 2023

Daniel - an example for us all

Over the past few weeks we have been exploring the book of Daniel @ Emmaus and there is no doubt that we can learn much from the way Daniel conducted himself at a time when he and his companions were exiled in a hostile and pagan culture in Babylonia. His life is an example of how we can live a life of integrity and faithfulness to God in a 21st century culture that is trying to force us to conform to its secular and self-centred norms. Our task is to take the principles that Daniel lived by and apply them to our own everyday experiences.

1. Don’t compromise on your standards

Daniel made sure he didn’t compromise the godly standards he had been brought up with, despite being in a foreign, pagan environment. He could have eaten the rich food offered to him and his companions without a second thought, but having had the precepts of God instilled in him since a young age, his priority was to please God, not those around him. As followers of Christ we, too, have to decide just like Daniel that we’re not going to compromise our biblical principles or forfeit what we know is acceptable to God.

2.  God must be at the centre of our lives

We find out in Daniel Chapter 6 that part of Daniel’s daily routine was to kneel towards Jerusalem from his window and pray to God three times a day. Everything in Daniel’s life revolved around God and, as Christians today, we can learn from his example. You may have heard the analogy of the wheel on a bike.  For many Christians Jesus is merely a spoke on the wheel of their lives, whereas He needs to be at the very centre.

3. Use your influence

The people we come into contact with, whether they are the local shop assistant or visitors to church, are all influenced by us in one way or another.  Sadly, many Christians don’t use their influence to extend God’s Kingdom.  In Daniel 2, after interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the king proclaimed, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings…” In Daniel 6, after King Darius sees Daniel spared by the lions, he decrees that no one should worship anyone but the God of Daniel. Again, Daniel used his influence in an extremely positive and powerful way. While we, as Christians today, may never be able to have influence in changing laws like Daniel did, our influence can still be used for God’s glory.

 4. Don’t waver when hardships arise

Daniel 6:10 reads, “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. He knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God.  Again, pleasing God was the most important thing to Daniel regardless of the danger.  The  Bible makes it crystal clear that if we’re following Christ the way we should, we are going to suffer persecution - John 15:20 – be it political or personal. Either way, it’s crucial that we don’t succumb or yield to the enemy’s temptations.

There are many lessons to be learnt from the life of Daniel that go far beyond him being thrown into a lion’s den. He was a faithful servant of God who didn’t waver or compromise when hardships arose. He put God first and foremost in his life and was blessed for it.  So let us apply Daniel’s principles to our own lives going forward!

Bill & Celia Beales