Unwavering Devotion and Integrity

When Daniel was an old man, things had changed. A conquering ruler, Darius, had taken over the kingdom. Amazingly, Daniel survived the takeover and continued his duties as a trusted administrator of government affairs.

He conducted himself with integrity and diligence, so much so that the other authorities were jealous of his success, recognition and despised his conduct. As long as he retained authority, they could not engage in corrupt activities. So they approached Darius with deceit and convinced him to issue a proclamation that effectively prohibited prayer and petition to anyone but him.

Daniel was predictably undeterred in seeking God. The conspirators found him in prayer and turned him over to Darius to carry out the sentence of being cast to the lions. Darius was appalled at the consequences of his decree but the officials pressed him to keep his word and his established law and he reluctantly sentenced Daniel.
We know the rest of the story, how God closed the lion’s mouths and Daniel’s life was preserved.

Again, this raises the question about our devotion to prayer. Would we continue our times of prayer if prayer was suddenly outlawed?
Would we continue to pray with a threat of death hanging over us?

Daniel didn’t waver when hardships arose

Most people who know the story of Daniel know the reason he was thrown into the lion’s den. The other administrators working under King Darius were exceedingly jealous of the king’s favoritism towards Daniel as well as his renowned success as governor (6: 3-4).

So they tried to find something they could charge Daniel with, either in his ruling skills or his personal life that would diminish his influence with the king. But according to verse 4 of chapter 6, they couldn’t find any error or fault in Daniel because he was faithful. So, these satraps and governors trick the king into signing a law basically forbidding anyone in the kingdom to worship anyone as God, besides Darius. Chapter 6 of Daniel, verse 10 reads, “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” It wasn’t like Daniel wasn’t aware of the new decree. He was completely aware, but that didn’t matter to him. Again, pleasing God was the most important thing to him. This is an example of political hardship, but the Bible makes it crystal clear that if we’re following Christ the way we should, we are going to suffer persecution (John 15:20).

It could be political, it could be personal. Either way, it’s crucial that we don’t succumb or yield to the enemy’s advances. We’re to put on the whole armor of God so that we’ll be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one (Ephesians 6:16).
Just like Daniel, our first priority should be whether or not we’re serving and honoring God.

There are many lessons we can learn from the life of Daniel that go far beyond him being thrown into a lion’s den.
He was a faithful servant of God who didn’t waver or compromise when hardships arose.
He put God first and foremost in his life and he was blessed for it.
We can apply many of Daniel’s principles to our lives today.
Next time you hear the name Daniel, I encourage you to reflect on his continuous examples of faithful servitude towards God rather than just to the picture of a guy sitting with lions.

Faithfulness and Excellence

Daniel is a story of a person being faithful to God. More importantly, the life of Daniel recorded in the Old Testament gives evidence of God’s faithfulness. God knew Daniel – He knew Daniel’s needs and what Daniel was struggling with – and it’s clear that God cared for Daniel.

We need to be reminded as we begin a new year that the God of the universe, the all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present God, wants a personal relationship with us – with each of us.
God knows you, He knows your needs and your struggles, and He cares for you.
He formed you. He has a purpose for your life. He wants to talk to you. He wants to walk with you. He wants to help you. He wants to be your God.
We LOVE You Lord 🙏✝️🛐💐

Do you want Him to be your God?
To be human is to have gods and the most likely gods trying for our attention revolve around power, money, and sex.
Friends, these are false gods: they demand more and more from you – and give you less and less.

How do we develop a relationship with this God of the Universe?
How do we deepen our relationship with God?
God primarily reveals Himself through His letter to us – the Bible. Spending time in this book – hearing and learning and applying it will help us develop and deepen a relationship with God.

To help you, to help me, to grow in faithfulness by spending time in the Bible – time with God.

Faithfulness is an obvious quality from the book of Daniel.
Why have I chosen to highlight excellence as well? In reading Daniel, I was captivated by Daniel 6:3 that states, “Daniel had a ‘spirit of excellence.’” It means he out-shown, performed better – did his work with higher quality – than others.

Even those who jealously plotted against him could find no flaw. “So the governors and the satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him” (Dan. 6:4).

Daniel and his friends exhibited a purity of character and a commitment to following God in righteousness. Their deep connection to God enabled them to stand up for what is right with incredible courage. They made a decision to follow God and His ways, regardless of the danger involved.

How did Daniel respond? “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Dan. 6:10).

Notice, Daniel prayed three times a day. This is a Jewish custom that continues to the present day. Devout Jews pray in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening.
These are known as the sharcharit (morning), mincha (afternoon) and maariv (evening) prayer times.
Otherwise it is inconceivable that Daniel would have endangered himself for the purpose of prayer…the institution of praying three times a day has its roots in ancient times.” Later, the prayers were formalized in the time of Ezra. At that time, they determined that this formula of standard prayer be said thrice daily, corresponding to the Temple sacrifices.”

Daniel prayed three times a day and had been doing so since he was young. The threat of death was not going to stop him from communing with God. It was a trap, but God delivered him out of the trap. Yes, he was thrown into a den of hungry lions. But, God stopped the lions from attacking Daniel.

Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts, Chapter 7

Daniel sees four great beasts coming up out of the ocean. He describes each beast as he sees it in his vision. They are as follows:

A beast that looks like a lion having eagle’s wings.

The wings are torn off and the beast is lifted up off the ground so it could stand like a man. The beast was given a heart of a man.

A beast that looked like a bear with 3 ribs in his mouth. The bear was lopsided.

A beast that looked like a leopard with four wings on its back. The leopard had four heads.

A beast that was terrifying and powerful. It had large iron teeth and crushed and destroyed everything in its path. This beast had ten horns. Another horn appeared on the beast and spoke boastful words.

Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about.
King Nebuchadnezzar saw his dream from a human point of view. He saw a beautiful statue that represented his kingdom and future kingdoms. He may have been troubled by his dream but when he found out that he was the head of gold he was very impressed with himself.

Daniel was seeing these same kingdoms from God’s point of view. He saw the kingdoms as beasts that were vicious and destructive.

How many beasts did Daniel see in his vision? – (Four)
Describe one of the beasts.
Who came in and sat on a throne?
(The Ancient of Days)
Who helped Daniel understand the meaning of the vision?
(Someone in his vision)
What did each of the beasts represent?
(Four kingdoms)
Who was waging war against the saints? (The little horn)
Whose kingdom will win and reign?
(The Most High)
Why should believers not be afraid of the future?
(They are on the winning team)
How long will this king reign?

Daniel’s Vision of a Ram and a Goat Chapter 8
The vision Daniel had over 2500 years ago has already taken place in history. Alexander the Great from the Grecian Empire is the goat that destroys the Medo-Persian Empire. When Alexander the Great died, four of his generals (the four horns) ruled different territories in the Grecian Empire.
A man named Antiochus Epiphanes IV rose up from one of those four territories. He was a very wicked ruler and commanded that the Jewish people worship Zeus in their temple. He even offered pigs (unclean animals forbidden to be used as offerings to God) on their altar. He put to death over 80,000 Jewish men, women, boys and girls.

Let’s read how long this evil ruler was going to rule and desecrate God’s temple in verse 14.
2300 days equals 6 years. Antiochus caused the Jews to suffer for six years. God raised up a Jewish family named Maccabeus (Maccabee).
The Maccabee’s fought against Antiochus and they were able to restore the proper worship of God in the temple.
God caused many things to happen in history in detail according to the vision He gave to Daniel many years before it happened.

Antiochus Epiphanes foreshadows the future antichrist (boastful little horn from the vision about the fourth beast).
One day the Antichrist will rule in the land and hurt God’s people but will be conquered by King Jesus. This is still future to us and we learn about the antichrist in the Book of Revelation. Everything written in God’s Word is true.
What He says is going to take place. God can be trusted with our future.

How many years passed since Daniel’s vision of the beasts? (2)
What did Daniel see in his vision? (Ram and goat)
How do Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of the statue and Daniel’s dream of the four beasts connect with this new vision?
(They are about the Medo-Persian Empire and the Grecian Empire which the other visions introduce.)
Who explained the vision to Daniel? (Gabriel)
What did the vision mean? (Allow several students to respond)
How has this vision been fulfilled in history? (Alexander the Great, Antiochus Epiphanes IV, Maccabees)
Who does Antiochus foreshadow? (Antichrist)
What changes do you need to make in your life after hearing this lesson?

✍️🦁🐏Mrs. Kalaiselvi Balakrishnan in Jesus Christ 🐏🦁✍️