The book of Daniel in the Old Testament bears record of Daniel’s life. The Babylonians, in the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, besieged Jerusalem and took the Israelites captive, carrying them off to Babylon to serve him. Daniel was among the captives.
King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the wise and learned captives should be brought into his palace, allocated special food and taught their language, (Daniel 1: 3-6). Once the language barrier was removed, the Babylonians could glean from their knowledge of science, skills and learning.
As we read Daniel’s life story we see how God gave him favour with the king and promoted him to a high position of rule in the Babylonian kingdom. In captivity in a foreign land, Daniel stayed true to serving and reverencing his God, even though it could have cost him his life. He refused to eat certain Babylonian meats and wine that his Jewish upbringing denied, eating instead, pulses and water. He refused to stop his daily routine of prayer to the Lord. He refused to bow down to the golden image, which the king decreed that all his subjects should. The penalty for disobeying the king’s edicts was death, but Daniel considered being faithful to God more important than his life.
What was it about Daniel that made him so devoted to his God? In Sunday School we learnt the little chorus:
“Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone,
Dare to have a purpose firm, and dare to make it known”.
Although it appeared Daniel “stood alone”, we know that he was overshadowed by the Almighty One. A spirit of excellence was in Daniel (Daniel 6:3) and God protected him from death by lions, also from jealous, wicked Babylonian advisors to the king who sought to kill him. God gave him favour and promoted him. In captivity in a foreign land, God raised him up to a position of great authority and favour with the king. Daniel was steadfast in his allegiance to his God and the Lord rewarded him with His favour and protection.
We pass through many seasons in our lives where we, too, are presented with many opportunities, divine appointments, where we can display to others this same spirit of excellence as Daniel did, for it is the nature and character of Jesus Christ. Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost and the immaculate conception took place. The Christ child was placed within her womb supernaturally. When we bowed the knee and received salvation, the same Holy Spirit overshadowed us and we were born again supernaturally. Christ now lives in us – in measure by our daily choices. His is the excellent spirit that seeks to be displayed to the world through each of us. Surrender is a daily choice to the living Christ. As I die to self…..He lives! Hallelujah! Paul said: “…..I die daily”, 1 Corinthians 15:31. This “excellent Spirit” is described in 1 Corinthians 13. It is never self seeking but always strives to please the Father in humility and love. We do not have to strive for favour and position in this world. As we commit to His pre-eminence in everything, trust and acknowledge Him in all our ways, (Proverbs 3:5-8), He will come along side of our choice and enable us to stand firm in Him……”…….doing all, to the glory of God”, (1 Corinthians 10:31). As we walk this path, we will also discover how it is God who rewards, gives us favour with our fellow men and promotes the humble. In our everyday relationships and choices, whether small or great, we each have opportunity to display this spirit of excellence, the nature of our Lord Jesus. Christ in me, the hope of glory to God.