Thursday, October 21, 2010

Faith starts with F: Life of Daniel

A Few Facts
   Daniel was one of few who did not have flaws recorded in scripture.
   He was a contemporary of Ezekiel, who considers him an example of righteousness.
   Daniel is a writing prophet, he does not interact with Israel actively as compared with other prophets.
     > It is speculated that he was influential in securing Cyrus' decree for the return of the people.
   Foremost theme in Daniel is God's Sovereignty.

6 Incidents of Faith

1. Dealing with Food (Dan. 1:5-8)
   Daniel is young and takes a small, humble stand. He does not demand religious tolerance or proclaim his God, he asks for a temporary test of 10 days (Dan 1:12) to avoid defiling himself with the king's food. God blessed them both in health and in knowledge (Dan 1:17).
        Faith does not need to be pushy.

2. Dream of the Figure (Dan 2:1-5)
    Note that Daniel was in trouble before he knew what was going on (Dan 2:12-15). He did not panic, however, he responded to the shocking news by requesting time, assuring the king that he can get the interpretation and holding a prayer meeting.
        Faith recognizes where the power comes from.
3. Fiery Furnace Incident (Dan 3:13-19, 25)
     This is the second life-threatening instance in a very short period of time. Here, there is no time or need for more prayer. Bowing down to idols is obviously wrong, there was no need to wait for instruction from God, they already had it. There was no room for compromise.
        Faith finds confidence in God's principles.
[Dan marveled that Nebuchadnezzar, after all this evidence, simply consented to the Hebrew God. He only had tolerance for Him, rather than devotion.]
[Calvin continued this thought with the fact that Nebuchadnezzar was simply supportive, but did not own God as his God.]
[Walter wondered how much time passed between the furnace and the lion's den. He wondered if people would have heard and remembered this instance.]
[EDIT: Scholars say that there were around 66 years between the two incidents.]

4. Dream of the Felled Tree (Daniel 4)
     Written by Nebuchadnezzar, perhaps as a testimony of sorts. When he calls Daniel in to interpret, Daniel is troubled (Dan 4:19). (N.) tries to console him, but the interpretation will be bad for (N.). Daniel had an obvious concern and love for (N.), and does not want this to come to pass. The truth can be difficult to say and may hurt. Daniel, as God's prophet, must deliver the message. Daniel also provides (N.) with some advice (Dan 4:27), something he does not do in any other interpretation. Daniel does not mince words, but is not abrasive or condemning.
        Faith need not be abrasive, it is always humble.
[Calvin notes the irony in the occurrence related in the passage since even the animals know who their God is and (N.) had to become like an animal in order to learn.]

5. Fingers of God (Daniel 5:32-End)
     Note that Daniel did not work for honor, he worked for God's glory and out of respect to the king which God has set up. Daniel diffuses a potentially explosive situation mainly with the help of the testimony he had built up. Before actually interpreting the writing, he exposes the sin and proclaims judgement. This is the closest that Daniel comes to resembling a fiery OT prophet. We as Christians can call out sin, but the closest to pronouncing judgement we may come is by adding the caveat, "if you do not repent." This is because God's grace is great, and He is willing to receive a repentant sinner.
        A well-built testimony of Faith only grows bigger.

6. Den of Ferocious Lions (Daniel 6:10-13)
     This is Daniel's greatest moment. It is no coincidence that Daniel says the least at this time. He lets his walk  do the talking for him. He continues his godly routine of prayer. Prayer fosters a strong relationship with God. Also note that faithfulness to God does not equal disparaging the government (Dan 6:21). Daniel obviously disagreed with the edict. Daniel even practices civil disobedience. But his respect for government stays intact.
        Faith does not have to speak, but it must act.

Three-Fold Spiritual Life

1. From chapters 2-7 Daniel interprets dreams for other people. He Foster's wisdom in others. In other words, he is a minister.
2. From chapters 8-12, Daniel's dreams are interpreted to him by an angel. He is a Follower of God's things. He is learning.
3. Throughout the book, it is apparent that Daniel has a healthy prayer life. His Fellowship with God is constant.

Three Things I Learned

1. Daniel was related to king David (1 Chron. 3:1)
2. Daniel's reactions were appropriate for his circumstances.
3. Daniel was a prophet without interacting with the people: lead with actions.

Key Principles

Be sensitive to the Spirit, he uses your circumstances to further His influence.
Pray when you can, but when there's no time, make sure you take a stand for God's Word.
Ultimately, God is your judge (meaning of Daniel's name). While He positioned everything as they are (thus, demanding respect) total devotion to Him is required above all else.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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