As promised, today’s post is a continuation of the previous one.
Today we are going to describe the habits that Daniel had in order to maintain his faith in God. First of all, I want to be very clear that Daniel was not a religious man, in fact, it’s important to understand that the term “religion” only came into existence later on. In that time, people would create gods as part of their lives, it wasn’t just something they would do only on Sundays. Everyone had idols and their lives revolved around them.
The only people who didn’t have idols were the people of Israel, who’s God made a point of not being just another “god” and, because of this, He would interact with His people through His laws, prophecies and daily sacrifices made by priests. God is so marvelous and great He cannot be represented by an image, but wants to be represented by us, who are made in His image and likeness.
Faith in God is like this, it is the center of our lives. Those who have faith only certain days of the week don’t know Him, and therefore is another religious person in this world.
Daniel had this understanding. His life was based on his faith and had several habits that would bring him closer to God:
He wouldn’t corrupt himself. This is very clear in his arrival in Babylon. If he didn’t corrupt himself with the king’s food, imagine with the other benefits of the palace. (Daniel 1:8)
He tested his faith. As soon as Daniel asked Aspenaz (the chief of eunuchs) to eat only vegetables and drink only water, he tested his faith by saying, “Try it, and I ask your servants for ten days… and examine yourself our appearance, and the appearance of the youth that eat the same portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see you will do with your servants.” (Daniel 1:12-13) Daniel made a test with God! He believed so much in what he was going to do and relied on his faith without hesitating in showing it in few days. And ten days later, Daniel and his three friend were actually much stronger than the rest of the wise youth in the palace! Remembering that the other noble Hebrews had been taken to the palace, but only these four called the attention of everyone there… it wasn’t luck, it was faith – only those who have it, test it, they know how it works!
He was influential. Differently from many who say they believe in God but live hiding their faith, Daniel made it a point of not just living it before everyone (like we shared above) but he influenced others to have it. When Daniel made a purpose in his heart to not contaminate himself with the king’s delicacies, he passed this faith onto his other three friends, who later on came to show how they ended up having the same faith of Daniel in the furnace of fire (Daniel 3).
He prayed daily, three times a day. Daniel was handsome, young, noble and wise (Daniel 1:4), and governor of a powerful kingdom in that time. Still, he maintained his dependence on God through his constant prayers, even when they were prohibited and his life was threatened in the den of lions. Those who pray show exactly this: that they depend on God, that He has control of everything in their life, and that His will is more important.
He would speak the truth. It’s not always easy to speak the truth, especially when you can be misinterpreted, but those who are of faith suffer this consequences, for it’s more important to please God than any other person in this world. This is what happened with Daniel when he had to reveal the second dream to the King Nebuchadnezzar. He would become an insect during these seven years because of his arrogance before God (Daniel 4) and Daniel, after revealing the dream, said what no one dared to the king, “Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and break off your sins by righteousness and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.” (Daniel 4:27). But the king didn’t listen to Daniel nor to what God revealed through the dream. We cannot just say the truth when it’s favorable to us. The truth should be told always, whether it’s good or bad. Many cannot get close to God precisely because they don’t want to change this small habit of lying every now and again.
He prospered. Daniel had an excellent spirit, not only in his conduct but also in everything he did, and that’s why his reputation traveled not only miles, but times as well! Many years after, when Nebuchadnezzar had died and Daniel was no longer governor, Darius invaded the kingdom of Babylon and trusted so much in Daniel that he placed him as one of the three presidents of his entire kingdom. And look at what happened in Daniel 6:3, “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and officials because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” (!!!!!) He succeeded so much in everything he was entrusted with that everyone envied him, to the point of planning his death. It was at this point that he was thrown into the den of lions. Afterwards, in verse 28 of the same chapter, after coming out unharmed from the den, he prospered even more, not only in the kingdom of Darius, but also in Cyrus’, the Persian! His life was a constant offering to God. Everything he was entrusted with was done in the best way possible, like a perfect offering before God.
He would listen to the Voice of God. This was because he would seek to hear Him. God only speaks with those who want to hear Him. There’s no point in asking Him to speak to you if you don’t want to hear what He has to say. Daniel had so much intimacy with God that he was entrusted with many apocalyptic visions! God wants to reveal great things to us, but we must want to hear His Voice instead of wanting Him to just hear ours…
He didn’t think he was superior. After so many conquests, and being so trusted by the kings of that time, Daniel still kept his humility and would think about his people and where he came from. He wasn’t like many who, after they become famous, forget where they came from, of their origins, and who feel superior now. We see Daniel’s humility in the prayer he did in chapter 9. He places himself in place of his people saying, “We have sinned and have committed iniquity and have done wickedly and have rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and from Your judgments.” Daniel had kept his faith but his people had not, still he didn’t judge his people, he didn’t feel ashamed of being part of a captivated people, he didn’t pretend to be a “Babylonian” since he lived most of his life there – he loved his people, for his people were the chosen ones of God. Those who love souls love God, and does for them what they’d like to be done for themselves. He fasted for his people, not himself. (Daniel 10:2)
Before this exemplary life, who’s center was God, see what Daniel was called by God in Daniel 10:11:
“O Daniel, a man greatly beloved…”
Do you want to be greatly loved by God? See what the Lord Jesus says:
He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father. And I will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” (John 14:21)