Thursday, 1 October 2020
Title: Daniel, a life in the Lord
Author: Arnold Lim
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
You make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant place;
Surely I have a delightful inheritance.
In 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon laid waste to Jerusalem and carried off the Israelites, including Daniel, into exile. Elevated to the royal court after interpreting the king’s dream, Daniel served 69 years with distinction, first under Nebuchadnezzar, then, three other Babylonian kings and finally under Darius the Mede of the Medo-Persian Empire.
Three times, in the book, Daniel was called a man “highly esteemed” by God.
He remained true to God, no matter the circumstances
- Given choice food from the royal table, Daniel chose not to defile himself and became a vegetarian. In spite of his choice, it reads in Daniel 1:15, that Daniel looked healthier and better nourished than any of the other young men.
- Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators or satraps, the other satraps hatched a plot to end his life. Daniel was used to praying to God three times a day. To entrap him, the satraps tricked the king to issue an edict that anyone who worshipped any god or man other than the king over the next thirty days would be thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel remained faithful to God and continued to pray. We all know the story. God saved him when he was thrown into the lion’s den. And even king Darius came to recognise the power of the God of Daniel and praised Him (Daniel 6:26).
He remained concerned about God’s agenda – rebuilding Jerusalem
- Daniel was well aware of Jeremiah’s prophecy that the desolation of Jerusalem would end after seventy years. So, when the seventy years came up, he confessed the sin of the Israelites and made a request to God for the re-building of His temple.
Surely, in spite of being in exile, the boundary lines had fallen in pleasant places for Daniel. After all, God gave Daniel the interpretation of king Nebuchadnezzar’ dreams, not once but twice.
So, what lessons can we learn from the life of Daniel?
1) We, Christians, are just like the Israelites living in Babylon and later Persia; we live in a land where the culture and religion of the majority is different from ours. When the Israelites were allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and the wall, it was not like they were free. They were still under Persian rule.
Serve with distinction wherever you are, whether in the private or public sector. Endeavor to be the salt and light in this nation. Let us do good and contribute to the nation so that our God in heaven will be glorified. Expand church ministries to not only serve members but also the community at large.
Pray for Malaysia. In Jeremiah 29:7, we Christians are asked to pray for the nation that we live in, so that when the nation prospers, we too shall prosper.
2) Daniel, agonised over the destruction of Jerusalem and longed for the re-building of the temple. Even today, strive to align yourself with the will of God. For example, reach out to make disciples.
3) Just like Daniel, do not be so quick to resign from your job. Perseverance and long-suffering are the hallmarks of a Christian. I was about to resign from my job once, when I came across the story of Daniel 6. What struck me was Daniel could have resigned and fled, but he chose to honour God by continuing to pray three times a day and face the lion’s den. So, I stayed, and that was probably one of the most important decisions I made in my life as it paved the way for me to provide for the needs of my family.
Strive to be a man or woman esteemed by God! And the boundary lines will fall for you in pleasant places!
Our Lord and Heavenly Father, you a great and awesome God. And also, a faithful and loving God. You alone are our portion and our cup. You make our lot secure.
Speak to us, strengthen us and re-generate our hearts to be men and women esteemed by You. Grant us opportunities to serve You with distinction where You have placed us. And help us to keep Your agenda at the forefront of our mind.
We pray in Jesus name, Amen.
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