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Dare to be a Daniel

When I was a young child, I had an illustrated Bible from which my parents would read to me each night at bedtime. I loved the colorful, exciting pictures and the wonderful stories. I can vividly recall the illustration of Daniel in the lions’ den: large, life-like lions surrounding a strong but serene Daniel. For years, my only association with Daniel was that image—a strong man standing calmly among the beasts.

Years later, I now have a more complete understanding of the narrative of Daniel’s life, and that one night in the lions’ den was but a small piece of the powerful witness his obedient life reveals to me.

The power and lesson of his story come not from the lions’ den, but from Daniel’s daily life for years leading up to that night. Daniel lived a life of daily, disciplined obedience to God, and that is what I need to study, not the lions.

Daniel was a man known for his excellence in work, his appropriate and respectful relationships, and his incredibly disciplined and consistent prayer life. These are the qualities we need to study and emulate and which we must dare to embrace.

Do I dare to be a Daniel?

Do I dare to walk away when coworkers share gossip or off-color humor?

Do I dare to do my job with excellence, even when others around me embrace mediocrity?

Do I dare to make healthy lifestyle choices to keep my body a strong temple for God?

Do I dare to create a prayer life so impenetrable that even my enemies know I will never be moved?

Do we dare to be a people standing apart as Daniel did when corruption closed around him?

Do we dare?

–Dr. Shari Finkler


Daniel 6: 1-10

It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom,  with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. 

Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.  At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. 

Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever!  The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.  Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”  So King Darius put the decree in writing.

Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.