Most of our listeners are familiar with the life of Daniel. In fact, you might have learned about Daniel and the lion’s den via flannel graph (did anyone else experience the ol’ flannel graph?) in Sunday school.
But, given the pressures of our times, his life and example demands a review right now.
Why? Because this Old Testament prophet and statesman faithfully served God in competing kingdoms that were religiously and culturally diverse. He pointed rulers and empires to the one, true King; built relationships with officials (even his captors), modeled the spiritual discipline of prayer, provided wisdom to rulers and courageously stood for Biblical principles (Daniel 1, 4, 6).”
I recently re-read the book of Daniel and was struck by 5 key principles that can help all of us live effectively and courageously in changing times. Here are those principles along with a summary:
- The Gospel: The Great Commission is our mission, and making disciples who make a difference is the best strategy for transforming culture (Matt 28:16-20). Though Daniel administered his government posts with wisdom and skill, his primary message to and his legacy in two ancient kingdoms was to point those kingdoms and their leaders to the one, true King (Daniel 4:34-37).
- Relationships: All individuals are created in the image of God and, therefore, are worthy of our attention and respect. Daniel worked to build relationships with many people (even his captors), and God gave him favor with various leaders, including the king of Babylon (Daniel 1:10).
- Prayer: We are commanded to pray for our government officials (I Timothy 1:2-3). Because of this command and because of our care for these individuals as well as our state, we will diligently pray for the individuals tasked with leading our cities, state and nation. Daniel faithfully and publicly prayed every day, and this habit was a testimony to his contemporaries (Daniel 6:10-28).
- Wisdom: We should strive to be well-versed in Biblical truth as well as the issues that affect the spiritual, physical and economic life of our state. Further, we should endeavor to faithfully apply Biblical wisdom to the complex cultural and moral issues of our times. Daniel and his friends were found to be ten times better in all matters of wisdom and understanding, and Daniel effectively translated spiritual truth to the leaders of his day. (Daniel 1:17-20).
- Courage: We will winsomely stand for Biblical truth in our cities, state and nation no matter the consequences. Daniel and his friends repeatedly displayed courage by declaring and exemplifying God’s principles despite the hazard to their positions and lives. (Daniel 1, 4, 6).
Other key takeaways:
- The modern idol is a selfie.
- The fascinating and important story about the Dr. Seuss book Horton Hears a Who.
- Senator Scott and Senator Lankford’s great and practical idea for encouraging racial reconciliation.
- The importance of King Josiah in Daniel’s story.
- Many people focus on Daniel’s daring, but it is more important to focus on his discipline. Daniel was Daniel because he was a disciple of Jehovah.
- Courage is built, not discovered.
- He was an extraordinary man who lived in extraordinary times, but he was just a man. He provided wisdom and stood for truth in two ancient and competing empires because he looked to a coming and eternal kingdom. He stopped the mouths of lions because He stood beside the lion of Judah And, he stood up to emperors because he kneeled before the one, true King.
- God has placed us in our own version of Babylon, a multicultural, religiously diverse melting pot with great power in the world and a god (ourselves) we cannot worship. So, what should we do? We should focus on the gospel, build relationships, pray fervently, learn wisdom and live without fear.