This is the beginning of a series of godly character shown through the examples of God's Bible greats from the Old Testament.
One of my all-time favorite people of the Bible, other than Jesus, is Daniel. I aspire to take on at least some of his godly qualities, yet fail on my own power. However, the Holy Spirit keeps working in me. Someday, I hope to be like Daniel!
Daniel was a young man when he was taken into captivity with the rest of Judah by the Babylonians (Chaldeans in some translations) during the Israelite Exile. There were other young men taken with him into the King's service indoctrinated with their literature, culture, and even re-named in the Babylonian religious traditions. His Babylonian name, Belteshazzar was after a Babylonian god. Interestingly, it means "Bel protects his life." Bel, also known as Marduk, was a chief god of Babylon. The Jewish name Daniel means "God is my judge". He could have kicked up a big stink--and lost his life. Instead, he cooperated within the guidelines of the law in of God.
What he and his friends went though was rather humiliating when you consider that the Hebrews were brought up believing they were God's chosen people, protected, loved and blessed by God (Daniel 1). But something went horribly wrong that caused them to be taken captive. Israel as a nation committed idolatry, forsaking the God who was faithful to them. They had not been faithful to God. What God told them would happen, did happen. They lost the homeland God had given them.
When it came to violating God's law to abstain from certain foods, Daniel determined to avoid breaking the covenant law of the Jews. He negotiated with the official over himself and his friends to eat only vegetables and drink only water. The official reluctantly agreed to a ten day trial. At the end of the trial, God had blessed Daniel's obedience marking the beginning of blessed favor in the King's court (Daniel 1:8-20).
When most people think of Daniel, they think of the fiery furnace and the lion's den. Both very important; however, there are gaps in the story which need filled in. He and his friends almost lost their lives because the astrologers told the King that no one could interpret his dream (Daniel 2). Daniel tactfully asked why such a harsh decree was made. He talked the guard into requesting that the King allow him interpret the his dream. Following deep prayer, he did it. Their lives were spared that day because God gave Daniel the insight to interpret the dream for the King. Daniel and his friends were protected by either an angel or a theophany--appearance of Christ before He came to earth-- in the furnace (Daniel 3:8-25). This happened to them because they refused to bow and worship the king. Daniel was thrown into a pit with lions because he prayed to God regularly and the astrologers were jealous, trying to get rid of their "competition" (Daniel 6:10-23). It is important for us to understand why God would show favor to Daniel in such dire circumstances.
Daniel was faithful to God under extreme pressure. Daniel was privileged to serve three more kings--Belshazzar , Nebuchanezzar's son, for whom he interpreted the writing on the wall by God's finger (Daniel 5), as well as Persian kings, Darius and Cyrus (Darius first appears in Daniel 6, Cyrus in Daniel 9). This was due to Daniel's ability to negotiate and his wisdom and faithfulness to God.
Here are the character traits I discovered with Daniel which are desireable to integrate into our lives:
God blesses His servants for their faithfulness. He gifts us with a lot of abilities, one of which is the gift of influence. May we seek God to receive the ability to positively influence those around us, that they might see God through us.
How about you? Who in the Bible inspires you? Although I have some Old Testament people listed, I am open to researching others. Please offer suggestions. I will accept those from the Old Testament of the Protestant translations of the Bible.
Take the time to camp out in the book of Daniel over the next week. Feel free to let me know how God speaks to you through this godly character. I'd love to hear from you. There is a comment section here or you can email me at email@example.com.
May God bless you!
Special notes: the Daniel in Prayer picture is from www.eborg3.com
NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers www.ThomasNelson.com
The Open Study Bible by Nelson Bibles www.thomasnelson.com
Who's Who in the Bible by Zondervan
Old Testament Commentary by Zondervan