Daniel is one of my favorite books of the bible. The early chapters are filled with God taking care of the exiles as they dwell in Babylon—in particular Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They remained true to their God and refused to worship any of the foreign gods. No matter what King Nebuchadnezzar threatened them with, they were unwilling to renounce their faith. They were willing to die rather than forsake the Lord. Because of this, God blessed them.
Daniel is devoted to God:
8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. (Dan 1:8) NIV
And God blesses him:
17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. (Dan 1:17) NIV
Daniel seeks God’s direction:
17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. (Dan 1:17-18)
God answers their prayer:
19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. (Dan 1:19)
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refuse to bow down to other gods:
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
God saves them and brings glory to His name:
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” (Dan 3:28-29)
Meditating on these chapters, their act of devotion has spurred a fresh resolve in me. They were constantly praising and worshiping God in public. They didn’t care who heard them; they were unwilling to compromise. I must confess I have noticed myself compromising in the area of praying before a meal when I am in public. There are many times I go to a restaurant with people and do not pray before I eat—even with fellow believers. I am more concerned with what others around me will think than giving God the recognition of His provision. The Lord has blessed me and deserves my devotion. He deserves to be praised and thanked for the abundance in my life. So, from now on I am going to pray quietly to myself if I am with a group of non-believers with my head down and eyes closed. Maybe others might see me and do the same. When I am with a group of believers, I am going to lead us to pray out loud.
Jesus prayed for the disciples:
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. (John 17:16-18) NIV
Daniel and his friends lived their lives that way; they knew they were not of this world. They did not let the world dictate their actions. They were true to their God. I pray to live my life the same way.
Lord, I pray that my love for you overcomes any fear of what others think or say. I want to live my life devoted to you. I think our world today is no different than Babylon and like Daniel, I want to keep my focus on you. In Jesus name, Amen