“Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mi-shael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego” (Daniel 1:6-7).
The Old Testament Book of Daniel Chapters 1-6 offers an amazing example of the things a man of faith will and can do when challenged by circumstance and personality. Faith in God has created a spiritual and moral balance in Daniel that was as rare in his time as it is today. Daniel clearly understood that human morality will always be at odds with spiritual morality, righteousness and godliness. With faith in God and a clear understanding of his personal circumstances Daniels musters the courage to do two things; display moral courage and do the right thing. Daniel’s life was amazing and faithfully he dedicated it to an amazing God:
Chapter 1: Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, chooses Israelite captives to be trained to serve him: Moral courage is the resolve to do what is right—even if no one knows, regardless of the consequences. Doing it when you are tired, weary and when there are extenuating circumstances and everyone would understand if you “caved in.” Daniel is a man of moral courage. The food he is offered certainly violates the dietary restrictions in the Law of Moses. Note the words: “Daniel purposed in his heart” (Daniel 1:8). Then God brings Daniel into favor. He gives him skill and He gives him a healthy glow. When faced with moral challenges, we must do our part—be obedient from the heart and trust God to do His part.
Chapter 2: Nebuchadnezzar requires the wise men to tell him his dream and its interpretation: One of our responsibilities as children of God is to give God credit for who He is and what He does. It is a careless Christian who stands under the showers of God’s blessings without recognizing them. It is an irresponsible Christian who recognizes God’s blessings and does not give God the credit. Daniel recognizes God’s work and tells the king that it is God who “reveals deep and secret things” (verse 22). And through this, God is glorified. We must always be alert to the blessings of God in our lives, express our gratitude to Him, and give Him public credit.
Chapter 3: God supernaturally protects Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace: What courage it took to defy the king! Nebuchadnezzar sets up a golden image and orders everyone to bow down to it. When the three young Jew men are brought to him in violation of the order, they say; “God may protect us from the fire, but even if He doesn’t, let it be known that we are not going to serve your gods!” Surely God gives His grace in times such as these. For those of us who are living in easier times, our total dedication to the Lord must be seen in our selfless commitment to serving Him.
Chapter 4: Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream: What a towering figure is Nebuchadnezzar! Sovereign over the greatest nation on earth—at the time—wealthy beyond imagination yet subject to fits of rage, and somehow remained vulnerable and teachable. Nebuchadnezzar rages in fury at the three Jews who refuse to worship his image—yet proclaim their God the only God when He saves them from the furnace. Then, warned by Daniel that unless he repents he will be stripped of his kingdom, Nebuchadnezzar lapses into convenient forgetfulness and self-adulation. True to Daniel’s word, the king becomes an animal and roams the forest. Yet, when his senses are restored, the king again worships God and proclaims His praise to the ends of the earth.
Chapter 5: Handwriting appears on the wall, prophesying the king’s death: It is a terrible thing to go into the presence of God standing on your own merit. All have sinned and fall short of His glory. Belshazzar discovers this truth. While he revels—desecrating the holy implements from the temple—the hand of God writes on the wall: “You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting” (verse 27). In the providence and grace of God, we can come before Him standing on the merit of Christ Jesus—holy and undefiled.
Chapter 6: God miraculously delivers Daniel from the lions’ den: Daniel is a man of prayer. He loves God deeply and God in turn shows Daniel mercy. We are told several interesting things about Daniel’s prayer life. Verse 13 says that he prays “three times a day.” His prayers included giving thanks (verse 10) and supplication” (verse 11)—that is, Daniel asks God for things for himself and others. If our prayers reflect the commitment and balance of Daniel, our relationship with the Lord will grow.
I urge you to read this amazing story. Faith and trust in God brings balance into a person’s life—and not just balance for today—but forever. Daniel is an example of what God will do with a person of faith He gives your life spiritual and moral balance. That is what He will do with anyone who believes in Him and asks Him for a spiritually and morally-balanced life. Have you asked God for spiritual and moral balance in your life? You cannot have one without the other.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ