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Devotionals

Dare to Be a Daniel (Part 1)

Today we celebrate Veterans Day, symbolizing the end of the First World War. After the Second World War, Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day to commemorate all war casualties. Some observe one minute’s silence at 11am in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts and appreciation of their sacrifice. The reason poppies are used to remember those who have given their lives in battle is because they are the flowers which grew on the battlefields after World War One ended. This is described in the famous World War One poem “In Flanders Fields”. We do the same on the 31 October each years as we remember Reformation Day. Reformation Day is memorialized on October 31 every year. Reformation Day started in the 15th century when a German monk, aggrieved by the activities of the Catholic Church, especially the sale of indulgences as penance, nailed his arguments, named “The 95 Theses” to the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church. More importantly we remember and celebrate the Lord Jesus’ victory on our behalf providing pardon for sin, deliverance from hell and assurance of heaven each time we come to the Lord’s Table. Often we forget the many men and women who gave their lives for the Bible and The Gospel so that we might be freed from sin, the devil and the world. In dealing with Jesus’ Second Coming and him refuting the teachings of the false teachers, says under inspiration

2 Per 2:15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

This is just after teaching that all Prophecy of Scripture comes from the Holy Spirit. This is a reminder to “remember” the Bible. So as we proceed with “Dare to be a Daniel”, we need to remember Daniel and his willingness to serve God faithfully as a cog in the wheel towards the Messiah. The reason we ought to remember Daniel is because Daniel, knowing God loved him, had self-love and knew that His identity was in God. This is the reason he was a man, who as a leader was open and willing to learn how to manage government affairs including learning other languages. Yet, he was a man of God too. He knew The Law and lived it as he would not reduce his integrity and compromise himself before his God. We saw that

Da 1:9 God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel.

God always goes before His people, shaping, preparing and providing.

1) Fear of Nebuchadnezzar. His servants (officials) were extra careful because as said before, no one dared to challenge the king.

Da 1:10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age?

The king would then have my head because of you.” This official understood he needed to follow the king’s instructions faithfully because failure would mean death (have my head). From a secular point of view he believed not eating or drinking the selected refreshments form the royal (king’s) table would disadvantage Daniel’s (and that of his friends) appearance. One needs to understand the officials concern. This request was beyond his expectation. He thought such top class food would be desired because he did not know nor understand Daniel’s religious convictions. So on the one hand the servant must be commended for his faithful service to the King (and Babylonian Government), but we need to see his concern for Daniel because God “caused” him to show favor and sympathy. Yesterday’s Note reminded us of the Sovereignty of God.

2) Dare to be a Daniel.

Da 1:11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”

Daniel’s daring spirit is fully revealed here. His approach and request to the king’s chief official was unsuccessful but his faith would not accept defeat. He then approached the “guard” [servant of the chief official] because proof of faith shows that even though the door is closed it does not mean it cannot be reopened. Don’t think that this is going behind someone’s back … rather, this is seeking to be obedient to God where it came to religious faithfulness with regard to dietary laws verses food sacrificed to pagan gods. Look how “daring” this is …

(a) Courtesy and respect.

Da 1:12 “Please test your servants for ten days”.

The word “please” here is significant.

This is more than a request … it is a plea. As believers we must learn this lesson of humble respect in all circumstances. All he wanted was ten days grace to use … nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Perhaps this was a short period for the benefit of the guard. This does not mean they were vegetarians. They were seeking to avoid spiritual defilement by consuming meat offering in dedication to a pagan god. God’s honor meant them obeying God’s Word. How faithful are you when it comes to honoring God’s Word for His glory and your spiritual integrity?

(b) Faith provides the daring spirit.

Da 1:13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”

See that? Compare us with those who participated in the royal table’s delicacies after ten days. Compare our appearance … complexion, body, strength, vision … He was so confident in His God because he was a true Jew, following the Law meticulously that he knew success would follow.

(c) Sovereignty is not only causing one person to respond favorably.

Da 1:14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

Do you see God’s hand here? “He agreed” to Daniel’s request. This action is qualified under

Da 1:9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel.

Because God is Sovereign you as His child may have a daring spirit. You may exercise courtesy and respect because the people of God are above the lost world when it comes to behavior and morals. Gospel integrity is the most important witness we can leave behind us. Without being a bore … because God loves Daniel, he has self-love and self-love in Christ says I can be daring in my faith because my Sovereign Lord stands with me. As Daniel won over the guard, so we are able in God strength to be Gospel winners … but remember, there must be courtesy and respect.

Lord help me to practice daring faith that honors You. Amen.

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