Saturday, December 24, 2005

Daniel' story.

Daniel's Life:
In 605 BCE, as a teenager, Daniel was captured by the Babylonian army, during its first attack on Jerusalem. He had been a member of the royal house or of the nobility. Daniel survived a castration operation and spent the rest of his long life in the city of Babylon, in the service of the royal court. He went by two names: Daniel and Belteschazzar. The name "Daniel" means -"God is Judge."

Daniel is described as living in Babylon for the entire duration of the Babylonian empire, a period of 72 years. He arrived during the last year in the reign of Nabopolassar, stayed through the entire 45 year reign of Nebuchadnezzar, assisted 5 succeeding kings, survived through the occupation by the Medes and into the occupation of the Persians. He was present as Israel was taken into captivity; he died two years after a fragment of the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem.

1. Better lifestyle

But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials, and the commander of the officials said to Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking more haggard than the youths who are your own age? Then you would make me forfeit my head to the king." But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, "Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be observed in your presence, and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king's choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see." So he listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days. And at the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king's choice food. So the overseer continued to withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink, and kept giving them vegetables. (NASB) Daniel 1:8-16

My Veiws.
In this illustration Daniel and his friends had to submit to the government but beyond that to his God. Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself. Purposed in his heart. He's running after holiness. Even though some people may think its only food what. Why so fussy? Its good stuff, even got wine. What a temptation! Who wont yield to eat? Daniel didnt! No compromise. Daniel made an unpopular choice to honor God. He did what he did to bring glory to God alone. 10days to look better than the rest just by eating Vege and water! Isnt that a faith statement. And God indeed blessed them. Their appearance seemed better and fatter! More than that this showed God that daniel can can be trusted with these little things. Therefore He blessed daniel with the greater secrets of His mystries. Was daniel faithful so that God's blessing will come or was he faithful because because he wanted to be. But definately daniel didnt know that God will bless him with such a gift. A gift to intrepert dreams and prophersize. So even if we are faithful to the little things of God, but we dont see his blessings coming. Does it change who think God is? If it does, then the question is are you worshipping the God of the bible of the God of your mind?

2. Fiery Funnel
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." (NASB) Dan. 3:16-18

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he responded and said to his high officials, "Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?" They answered and said to the king, "Certainly, O king." He answered and said, "Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!" Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!" Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king's high officials gathered around and saw in regard to these men that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them. (NASB) Dan. 3:24-27

My views
In this illustration: though their lives are in great risks, they choose to submit to God. It because the government itself is against God himself. They are making a stand. Do they know that God will deliver them? I dont think so. Because he said even if He does not, let it be know to you, oh king, we are not going to serve your gods or worship... They made a stand for God not knowing whether or not God will deliver them. No Compromise but holding to the Promises of God. Their faith was not in what they saw, they looked beyond unto God. How many will do that! Not denying God in times of trials. They did not doubt that God could rescue them; but if He decided not to, they were prepared to die for Him. Great faith is faith that is willing to die. Weak faith doubts God when it suffers. The test of great faith is not wealth and luxury - it is a willingness to suffer for God.. Faith is not what you it into, but Whom you put in it!

During A.D. 250 Christians were ordered to worship a deity other than the Christian God and to purchase certificates proving they had. The certificates had to be shown to a government official to save their lives. Tertullian, an early church father, complained that whole churches bribed government officials to avoid death. Those who did these things were called Lapsi. They had "lapsed" in their faith.
Later another Caesar ordered Christians to burn their Bibles. Those who did were called traditores. Today we use the word "traitors." Many Christians have not been willing to die or suffer for Jesus. They have been self-centered. They have cared more for themselves than for the God they claimed to love.

Will my faith stand such tests? I pray that it will. I want to live a life that honors God which maybe silly in the eyes of the world. Yes, i dont care what people will say, i want to run after Him. Will my worship for God be simple yet extravergant? That will bring delight to Him. When i say i love Jesus, will i do all it takes to love Him... All i pray is that everything will be about Jesus in my life.

3. Lion's den and Dan
Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.
Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. (NASB) Dan. 6: 10-11

Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him. Then the king arose with the dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions' den. And when he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?" Then Daniel spoke to the king, "O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime." Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. (NASB) Dan. 6:18-23

My veiws
Since these men could not find anything wrong with Daniel, they decided to create a situation and have Daniel killed. They used Daniel's faithfullness to God aganist him!
So Daniel should have known the decree has been signed. So he knew he has been aimed. He will be killed if they caught him praying. Then why still go and OPEN the window and pray 3times? Why Open? If it was me, just close the window and secretly pray. Some others may say pray in the head. But why this move? Daniel is a wise man. Would'nt he have known the consequences. Thinking longer, why would he have done it.. Of course Daniel would have known in all his wisdom that the people are after him. So does it matter if he prays secretly or openly, they will surely find a way to expose Daniel. But the relationship Daniel had with God, the faith he had. Its definately far more than i can imagine. He worshiped openly but it could have never mattered to him whose after him. He simply didnt want to change his lifestyle because of life's circumstances. No compromises, faithfullness to God. The key to faithfulness is trust and boldness which comes through the Holy Spirit. Isnt that a lifestyle of prayer, instead of suiting prayer into lifestyle.

Then Lion's den? Oh no! How scary can that be. I would tried all ways not to go into the den. And if the king wanted to save daniel so much, he could have over-fed the lions (if he tried harder!). But daniel just accepted the punishment. Was he not bothered? What could be holding on to? Was it God's promises! And all that time Alive in lion's den?? Wah, miracle isnt? "No injury watever was found on him, because he had trusted in God". Just because he trusted in God! This could only mean his faith didnt waver in the light of this situation. He submitted to God and to his king by going into the lion's den. In the end no harm befall him. But those who intended evil for daniel, were killed. They had a taste of their own medicine.

My Analogy:
When suddenly you see someone striking your face, what your normal reaction? Isnt it a defensive action! You close your eyes, hands raised up defending yourself. What then is trust in God? What if you see the hand coming but you dont flinch. That is not natural. Right? But if this hand represents the trouble/trials/temptations, you trust in God. Therefore you know God is deliever, so you dont flinch! Definately trust in God is not natural. Its Super-natural. Thats why people may have a problem trusting in God at times. Look at these, God is the same yesterday,today and tommorw. Daniel trusted God. God honored him. What more for us..?

The miracles of the Book of Daniel bring strong reaction from those who have determined that miracles don't happen. Then Is all a fairy tale, nice stoires or events that took place in history? The word of God is true! I believe it. For it takes more faith to prove God doesnt exist then to say He does. It is history that backdates God is real. So is He now.. Its history, His- story! Definately a God of miracles. How then will i live my life? Supernaturally for God, my deliever enables me to.

Daniel's Contribution

(1) The godly personal life of Daniel is a model for the saints. Daniel was not a priest nor was he a typical prophet like Isaiah or Jeremiah. We are not told that he ever had a "prophetic call" like that Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-13) or Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:1-10) or Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:1-7). So far as we are know, Daniel was not given direct revelation to guide him in those daily decisions which proved to be turning points in his life and ministry. In his youth, as in his final days, Daniel remained faithful to God and his fellowmen. Daniel is a man whose personal piety can challenge and inspire us in our walk with God.
(2) The life and ministry of Daniel provide us with some valuable insights on Christian leadership. Daniel was indeed a great leader whose ministry impacted the lives of several of the greatest political leaders of his time. How Daniel got to be a leader, and the way in which he led, are not the way of our culture (Christian or heathen). Daniel is a model leader, and we should learn about leadership from him.
(3) Daniel was a man who served God in the midst of his suffering. Though he suffered because of the sins of his nation and because of his own personal piety, Daniel faithfully served God even in the midst of affliction and has much to say to those who suffer.
(4) Daniel is a book which has much to say about prophecy and about personal piety. In the New Testament, Peter instructs us that prophecy should inspire the Christian to personal piety (see 2 Peter 3:11-13). Daniel demonstrates how this is done.
(5) Daniel is a book which inspires hope and comfort, giving constant witness to the sovereignty of God. God is in control just as he was in the defeat and captivity of Judah. He was in control of the history of the world, so He could foretell the powers who would rule from Daniel's day onward. He was in control, using the captivity of Judah for their good, and for the blessing of the Gentiles. Daniel bears witness to the comforting truth of God's power and His control over the affairs of men. The book assures us that nothing happens to His people which is not a part of His plan, designed for our good and His glory.
(6) The Book of Daniel teaches the Christian how to relate to a godless, heathen society, outside of church walls and stained glass windows. The people of Judah were inclined to think that God was with them only when they were in the promised land and in the proximity of the temple. God was still present and active among His people in Babylon, as seen in His intervention on behalf of Daniel and his friends. They are examples of how saints can live in a heathen society so as to bear witness to the majesty, power, and grace of God. This book shows how to live godly lives in a fallen world and how to impact a heathen society, even when a minority as small as "one."

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