Today’s reading: Daniel 1-3.
“Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings…”
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was present at the Vienna Music Hall, where his oratorio The Creation was being performed. Weakened by age, the great composer was confined to a wheelchair. As the majestic work moved along, the audience was caught up with tremendous emotion. When the passage “And there was light!” was reached, the chorus and orchestra burst forth in such power that the crowd could no longer restrain its enthusiasm. The vast assembly rose in spontaneous applause. Haydn struggled to stand and motioned for silence. With his hand pointed toward heaven, he said, “No, no, not from me, but from thence comes all!” Daily Bread, September 20, 1992.
The Book of Daniel is known for its prophecies, but in the first three chapters it demonstrates how to glorify God by living a set-apart life.
Chapter One. Daniel and his friends chose to eat only those foods that they believed were fitting for God’s people. They refused the king’s delicacies because they felt it would defile them. They were allowed to follow their vegetarian diet for ten days.
At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. 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. Daniel 1:15-17
God responded to Daniel’s faithfulness by giving him great knowledge and wisdom. The king took notice and said that Daniel and his friends were ten times better than all the other men.
Chapter Two. The king had a disturbing dream and demanded an interpretation, but refused to tell anyone what he dreamed. After a night of prayer God gave Daniel the dream and its meaning, and Daniel shared both with the king.
“The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.” Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.” Daniel 2:45-47
Chapter Three. Daniel’s three friends refused to bow down to a golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar built. As punishment he threw the three men into a blazing-hot furnace. Instead of burning up in the flames, the king was amazed to see them walking around with a fourth man “like a son of the gods.”
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.” Daniel 3:28
In each of these stories the king saw a convincing demonstration of God’s power in the lives of ordinary men.
- He saw men who lived a different lifestyle in order to obey God.
- He saw a man who spoke with God.
- He saw men who were willing to die for their faith in God.
Daniel and his friends glorified God by the lives they lived. They were different in a godly way. Their walk with God allowed him to give them power and wisdom. They took a stand for the LORD, and he used their faithfulness to magnify his own name. Today, as you live your life, don’t be afraid to be different from the world. Don’t forget that God is the source of wisdom and understanding. Don’t hesitate to take a stand for the LORD so that he can magnify himself when he rescues you.
Image by Steven Depolo on Flickr, CC by 2.0