Dare to Be Devout
There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him . . . insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Daniel 5:11
Daniel served God in Babylon for more than seventy years (he probably arrived there in 604 BC and was serving under Cyrus in 536 BC). Like Joseph, Daniel began as a slave but rose to a position of great power and prestige. Like Joseph in Egypt, he maintained a stellar reputation throughout his career in Babylon.
We often single out the remarkable days of Daniel’s life—interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams, receiving prophetic visions, and sleeping with lions. But none of those extraordinary experiences would’ve been possible if Daniel hadn’t been faithful on ordinary days.
Daniel 6:10 reveals the source of Daniel’s godliness: “Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to God.” Cultivating a life of communion with God provided the spiritual strength and steadfastness Daniel needed to flourish in both obscurity and renown.
Daniel was never confused about the origin of his talents or his success: “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets,” he told Nebuchadnezzar. And throughout the book that bears his name, Daniel acknowledged the sovereignty, wisdom, and holiness of the God he served (2:18-19, 37-38; 4:25; 5:22-23; 6:22).
Prolific American hymn writer Philip Bliss wrote “Dare to Be a Daniel” for his Sunday school class in 1873. He set Daniel before those children as a model of boldness:
Standing by a purpose true, Heeding God’s command,
Honor them, the faithful few! All hail to Daniel’s band!
Dare to be a Daniel, Dare to stand alone
Dare to have a purpose firm, Dare to make it known.
If we are to be bold like Daniel, we must first be devoted to prayer and Bible study as Daniel was. We must purpose in our hearts that nothing will prevent us from spending time with God every day. To whom and what are we devoted?
Ezekiel and Daniel, both prophets, were contemporaries. According to Ezekiel 14:14, 20 and Ezekiel 28:3, what was Daniel’s reputation?
To read more about Joseph’s trials and triumphs in Egypt, read Genesis 39-41. Read more about Daniel’s experiences in Daniel 1, 2 and 6. How did God show His faithfulness to both men? How has He been faithful to you?
Read Daniel’s intercessory prayer in Daniel 9. What is his attitude about God? About himself and his people? What does his prayer teach us about communicating with God?
In that same prayer, Daniel quotes Moses, Jeremiah, the psalmists, and Isaiah. Using the cross references in your Bible, look up a few of passages he quotes.* What does Daniel’s example teach us about the importance of Bible study and Scripture memorization?
To read all of the lyrics to “Dare to Be a Daniel” go to http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/d/a/daretobe.htm
Denise K. Loock
*Note: If you don’t have cross references in your Bible, here are a few passages to examine: Leviticus 26:14-45; Numbers 6:24-26; Deuteronomy 7:6-10 and 32:4; Psalm 44:15-23, 106:3-6, and 80:3-19; Isaiah 44:22-28; Jeremiah 25:11-38, 32:17-21, and 44:4-21.