This past Sunday we explored an in-depth teaching of the life of Daniel in the Bible. We all may know the Story of Daniel–how he was thrown into a den of lions because of his disobedience to the ruler he sat under at the time. Essentially, he was punished for maintaining his integrity and loyalty to his God.
But, as we learned from Dave this past Sunday, there is so much of Daniel’s life and character that we can study and learn from. Daniel was a very gifted leader with a God-given ability to interpret dreams and due to his solid reputation, he was selected to work for King Nebuchadnezzar. During his time under King Nebuchadnezzar, you could say God continued to show him favor and Daniel was praised and honored, for a time.
I think we can relate to Daniel. When things were going well for him, he kept his loyalty to God. Most of us would. But what truly stands out about him is when things began to become challenging and opposition came head on, his faith and devotion to God remained. Maybe it was not always easy for him, but nevertheless, he was not shaken. As covered on Sunday, we are all leaders in some way and there might be times in our life where we lead in greater capacity, much like Daniel. So it is essential to learn from him when it comes to how and where we lead. Most of us may work in a secular environment like Daniel. But his integrity as a man of God won him the respect of even the outside world, without the need for him to compromise his faith in order to do so. He was steadfast in his commitment to God, as we all strive to be.
All of us have a sphere of influence; in our homes, work places, schools etc. These spheres of influence are an opportunity to live out our faith in a way that can plant a seed in others. A few qualities of Daniel are worth looking at:
Daniel had a strong work ethic. He most likely took his roles and calling very seriously; and his excellence and hunger to learn caused him to stand out among the rulers.
Daniel had an excellent spirit. Even when a new ruler and administration came in, he did not complain and continued to do as he was asked, as long as it was in accordance with the laws of God.
Daniel had a regular pattern of prayer. The very thing that got Daniel thrown into the lions den, was his commitment to his prayer life. A commitment he was not willing to go back on. We can also attribute his longevity and success, to his unwavering loyalty to his spiritual life.
Daniel respected his authority. Despite maybe some uncertain circumstances around him, Daniel respected his authority and those placed over him, and in the end, God honored it.
Another great point was also discussed on Sunday: you cannot please everyone and not everyone will like you. When the new regime took over, Daniel continued to excel to the point where King Darius considered making him head over the kingdom. Well, the other men in the kingdom did not particularly like this idea, and found a way to attack Daniel; hence the law about no longer being able to pray to your God publicly, which led to Daniel ending up in the lions den. As good as he was, and as well as he led, people did not accept him. Therefore, we can expect similar situations at times in our lives.
I love the way the story ends with Daniel. Yes, he did go into the lions den, but he did it out of his faithfulness and love to God. Later on when the kings went to go find Daniel killed by the lions, he remained unharmed. He was able to share with the rulers about the angel who was sent to protect him in the den, which ultimately led to King Darius sending out a decree telling everyone to worship the God of Daniel.
Ultimately, Daniel’s example of godly leadership and deep reverence for God won him the respect for believers and unbelievers alike. If there is anything we can learn from him, it is to truly love God, and love others.