Are you respected for your talents but disliked for your standards? Do you have to risk offending or angering your superiors on a daily basis? Then you have a lot in common with the Old Testament prophet, Daniel!
You probably heard the tale of Daniel in the lion’s den as a child. Maybe you thought, “Wow! I can’t believe Daniel could be brave enough to pray even though he knew he could die over it!” It’s true that Daniel had great bravery. But his story started long before the lions. When we study it, we realize that Daniel’s courage wasn’t unbelievable at all.
Incident number one. When he was young, Daniel and his friends were exchange students in the Babylonian king’s court. They learned they were expected to eat and drink things against the Hebrew law. The boys told their Babylonian caretakers that they wouldn’t follow the king’s rules. They said, “We’ll prove to you that our standards are best. Let us live them for ten days and see what happens.”
Daniel and his friends could’ve gotten kicked out of the king’s court or worse. But their firmness paid off. After ten days, they were the healthiest boys in the group, and their diet was made the new standard in the king’s court.
Incident number two. The Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, insisted that his scholars recount and interpret his latest dream. None of them could. So the king ordered that all the scholars in the land, including Daniel, be killed. When Daniel heard about the decree, he went to the king and told him that, if given a little time, he would give and interpret the dream.
Daniel was blessed with a vision, and he interpreted dreams of Nebuchadnezzar and of the next king years later. Even when the interpretations may have angered the kings, Daniel gave them anyway. Daniel could’ve been killed for doing this, but his courage paid off. Not only did he save the scholars’ lives, but he was made the king’s chief of governors and treated like royalty.
Finally, incident number three. A new king, Darius, was in charge, and he was tricked into making a law against praying to God. Of course, Daniel knew it was right to pray to God daily. Now, based on the pattern from Daniel’s earlier life, what course of action made the most sense for him to take?
Of course there is only one answer. Daniel didn’t stick to his standards just because he was brave—he did it because he knew it would work. God had proven time and time again that He would bless Daniel for obeying His commandments. Even King Darius saw this and said so:
“Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee” (Daniel 6:13).
We all have to make choices every day about whether to follow the standards we know are right. Sometimes we’re rewarded immediately for our obedience. Other days, we may feel that obeying gets us nowhere but the lion’s den. But we can take courage in the life of Daniel. We can believe with all our hearts that, even if it takes longer than we’d like, our Heavenly Father will make us happy when we follow Him. As we show our bravery and receive God’s blessings, we will also strengthen the faith of those around us. Then Daniel’s story will be repeated through the ages.
|What Daniel Did||What We Can Do|
|Immediately chose the right (Daniel 1:8)||Choose to live our standards from the very start|
|Proved his standards’ worth by action (1:11-13)||Show that our standards are good by example|
|Gained his knowledge from God (1:17)||Study the scriptures and rely on Gospel truths|
|Asked his friends to pray for him (2:17-18)||Accept help and prayers from our loved ones|
|Reproved the king for his wickedness (5:22-23)||Tell the truth, even when it’s inconvenient|
|Prayed even when it was dangerous to (6:13)||Trust that doing good will always bring blessings|