As you know from the last two blogs, Daniel, Shadrack, Meshach, Abednego, along with many others, found themselves exiled some 900 miles away from home, family, and their spiritual heritage. They were thrown into a three-year Babylonian indoctrination program. The purpose of the indoctrination was to teach them how to think, act, and live like Babylonians. Daniel, Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego were, however, unwavering and undaunted by the evil around them.
Think a moment about being 15 years old, in a new land, taken from your family, given a new name, new customs, new language, new things to eat, and being told you had to believe whatever you were told!
What would you do?
Our youngest son was 16 when he wanted to go to Africa as an apprentice-hunting guide. He had been to Africa before with his Grandma and Grandpa, but not by himself. His father and I had not traveled to a third-world country, so we had no idea the magnitude of danger and hard, hard, circumstances he would encounter. His life was forever changed from that point forward.
Looking back from our human perspective, I had often wondered if we had done the right thing in letting him go! Recently, however, when he was sharing with us some of the horrifying experiences he had, I realized as never before what God had done in his life and the protection and growth God gave him through the experiences he had. That old saying that states, “What does not kill us will only make us stronger” is so true. Through it, God made him the young man he is today – strong, grounded, and walking with the Lord.
Daniel and his three friends had no idea what any given day would hold. The problems and situations looming in front of them seemed impossible and insurmountable, but they knew that God had placed them right where they were and that their God would enable them to stand for Him.
Warren Wiersbe said, “Each of us is either a conformer or a transformer. We’re either being squeezed into the world’s mold, or we’re transforming things in the world God has put us in.”
To be a conformer is to behave according to socially acceptable standards, to comply, be molded, or manipulated. Conformers are people whose lives are controlled by pressure from without, but transformers are people who are controlled by power within.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
These two verses, written by Paul hundreds of years after Daniel, give us a perfect picture of what being a transformer should look like. The big, big problems Daniel and his friends faced could not be solved with human wisdom or power. They needed courage, discernment, and good judgment. So what did they do? They humbly got on their knees before God in faith and trust, knowing that whatever happened, it would be about “God’s glory,” not their own.
Proverbs 4:23 tells us to “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
If we love the Lord, trust the Lord, obey the Lord, God has promised to take care of the outcome and consequences of our lives. It has been said, “Faith is not believing in spite of evidence, but obeying in spite of consequences.” Daniel and his friends chose God’s Word over the king’s edicts, food, and even possible death.
“Oh, how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
For it is ever with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
For your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts:
I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.
I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore, I hate every false way.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Your testimonies are my heritage forever for they are the joy of my heart.
I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end.”
(Psalm 119:97-106, 111-112)
D. L. Moody said, “Daniel thought more of his principles than he did of earthly honor or the esteem of men. Right was right with him. He was going to do right today and let the tomorrows take care of themselves. That firmness of purpose, in the strength of God, was the secret of his success.”
Could we –
“Dare to be a Daniel!
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known!” (Phillip P. Bliss)
I wonder what would happen if we, like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were resolute, purposeful, determined, and unwavering in our love and obedience to our God, King and Savior! Daniel lived his life before his God, not the world. He delivered the message God gave him, and he left the results with the Lord!
“And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. And he said to me, ‘O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.’ And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.” (Daniel 10:10-12)
Kathy Niswender is the wife of our pastor.