Sunday, February 24, 2013

Daniel - The Servant of God

By Colleen Podmore

Daniel was a refugee. He was taken from his home at a young age and lived his entire life in another country. The book called ‘Daniel’ was written by Daniel, a servant of God and is about the sovereignty of God. That is God has absolute authority over everything that happens on planet earth. Although men, rulers like Nebuchadnezzar had great power, they were still under the authority of God and could go so far but no further. Although often unacknowledged, God is still the King both then and now!

The book Daniel is not in chronological order. That is events don’t unfold as they happened. The first 6 chapters are historical and the second 6 chapters are apocalyptic (which means they reveal the future). Our God is gracious and in tough times wanted to comfort His people about the future. But today, we don’t want to focus on understanding future events or past events, we want to look at Daniel’s life and try and get some insight into the way he lived as a servant of God, so that we can then pray effectively for modern ‘servants of God’, which includes both men & women

What sort of man was Daniel? On the outside it seemed like he had everything in life: position, wealth, privilege, good looks, intelligence, youth (Daniel 1:3). But Daniel had more – he put God first and was uncorrupted by all material things. They were not things he desired. When he got to Babylon, the place of his life’s ministry, he already had a strong foundation in proper living and that dictated his actions and the choices he made (Daniel 1:8).

Moreover he had friends who were like-minded (Daniel 1:6). Daniel lived a life of discipline and self control. In Daniel 6, it tells of how Daniel prayed three times a day, giving thanks to God (vs 10), this was his habit. Daniel was trustworthy and was neither corrupt nor negligent (Daniel 6:4). He rose to a position of the highest influence in the government (Daniel 6:3) Daniel accepted his situation and fitted in to where God had placed him.

He applied himself to his studies and God gave him knowledge and understanding (Daniel 1:17). Although when he was much older and his enemies had conspired to get rid of him by forcing the king to put him in the lion’s den, because he prayed to God (Daniel 6:11,12), Daniel never lost confidence in God and he was able to testify of God’s deliverance(Daniel 6:21). When you live for God, persecution will come.

Daniel had gifts of understanding dreams and visions (Daniel 1:17). When the time was right he had confidence to use these gifts (1:24), but he took no glory for himself. Daniel always gave the glory to God (Daniel 1:28). He was humble in all he did and this was reflected in the type of lifestyle he lived. The fame and fortune that was given to him did not influence him in any way (Daniel 1:48; 5:17; 6:3).

Daniel seemed to care for the king. He was terrified about the interpretation of a dream the king had, but nevertheless he told the whole truth (Daniel 4:19), that the king would become like a wild animal for a time (Daniel 4:25).

Daniel read the Scriptures and acted on them (Daniel 9:2; 9:11). In this passage we get an insight into the heart of Daniel through his prayer. First he gives glory to God (vs4), then he repents (vs 5-15), then he makes his request (vs16,17), not for himself but for Jerusalem, not for his glory but for God’s sake (vs18,19). See Jeremiah 25:11-12. God heard his prayer and Ezra tells us of the decree that Cyrus made to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem in 538BC (Ezra 1:1; Isaiah 44:28; 2Chron 36:22) If Daniel was a teenager when he was taken captive, and 70 years has passed, he must now be in his 80’s. Nothing has changed, he is still a servant of God (Daniel 10:1). Cyrus reigned from 559BC to 530BC.

Daniel’s life and lifestyle brought him to a place of seeing incredible visions from God, to understanding mysteries and future events. There were times when he was completely overwhelmed by these things and even terrified (Daniel 8:27; 10:8). Are we ready to see God? These visions may have destroyed a lesser man, Daniel knew he was struggling and asked for help, without the intervention and help he received he may have gone insane (10:16 17).

How does a servant of God live with the revelations from God? Only with God’s help (10:19). It’s amazing to consider the battles being fought in the spiritual realm (11:1). Daniel’s prayers were answered (9:23; 10 :12) - powers and principalities in the angelic realm are answering our prayers and petitions to bring about the will of God! Amazing dynamics that we are often ignorant of. If we truly could glimpse these things we would be inspired to greater deeds, I’m sure!

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