November 28, 2015
No Picnic for Daniel
It is common in our environment to refer to raising up “Daniels” to go out and influence influencers in the world. Having the ear of the king and a position of authority in his kingdom is a high honor and should not be taken lightly.
In modern times, the “king” can be any number of leaders in our society—from politicians to celebrities to CEOs to actual kings. To have this call on one’s life can sound like a prestigious—and even glamourous—gig, and while there can be some fun perks to this level of favor, there is a severe reality to this role that is not discussed often enough.
I don’t say this to scare you away from pursuing a high calling on your life. I’m telling you this because it is critical that you are prepared for the reality of taking the light into dark places, and to be fully secure in your identity in Him before stepping into these world-changing roles.
In the story of Daniel, we appropriately revere the favor and anointing God put on Daniel’s life to interpret the dreams of the king. But let’s take a look at some of the surrounding context in this scenario. In Daniel chapter 2 when the king is looking for someone to interpret his dream, he tells his officials:
“’The command from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you will be torn limb from limb and your houses will be made a rubbish heap.’ …[T]he king became indignant and very furious and gave orders to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they looked for Daniel and his friends to kill them.” [emphasis added] –Daniel 2:5, 12-13
This was no joke. Just imagine for a second the kind of stress and anxiety that was probably in the atmosphere all the time, never knowing if you were going to do a good enough job for the king to let you live!
There are four key lessons you can draw from Daniel—and his friends—to equip you to serve in and minister in the courts of kings:
“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.” Daniel 1:8
Daniel didn’t wait until he was in the midst of this; he came in already knowing who he was and what he would and would not do, regardless of the consequences. If you don’t discover your identity now, you will not have the resolve it takes to stand your ground when you’re facing the fire.
“Then Daniel went to his house and informed his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, about the matter, so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” Daniel 2:17-18
When faced with the threat of death, Daniel knew the first place he needed to go was to God. He didn’t make any attempts to solve this by his own wisdom or cunning—and he didn’t try to run away either. He turned immediately to the Lord and, as He always does, the Lord came through.
“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.” Daniel 3:17
Daniel’s companions—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego—were faced with the choice of worshiping a false God or death. They chose to put their faith in God’s ability rather than the human logic in front of them. In modern times, worshiping an idol might not look like literally bowing down to a statue, but if you are in the court of a “king” you will undoubtedly find yourself with choices of going with the crowd in sin or setting yourself apart in faith. It may seem like a no-brainer from an outside perspective, but—like running a marathon with no training—if your faith is not exercised before you’re faced with that scenario you’re not likely going to have the strength you need in that moment.
“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.” Daniel 3:18
This is one of my favorite moments in the Bible. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego chose to honor God despite what He might or might not do—even at the expense of their own lives! This is the true essence of our faith: that we love and believe in God for who He is, not what He does for us. These men set an example of what it looks like to honor God above all—even above our own lives. And, as we all know, in the end He honored their faithfulness and rescued them from the fiery furnace.
When we look closely at the lives of these men, it is clear that their situation here was not glamorous by any means. As much as you may be longing to race to the top and have an impact on the world, it is imperative that you steward where you are now and let God form your heart and character to a place where you can handle the pressures high places will undoubtedly thrust upon you.
Do not despise your season or compare to and covet the lives of others. You are where you are for a reason; trust God and let Him promote you in the right timing.
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