The Old Testament story of the prophet Daniel proves that one’s commitment to God can be kept in the face of hostile circumstances, ministers say.
The Revs. Windsor Archie and Mark Bristow and Minister Doug Doyle say Daniel, who is believed to have lived from 620 to 538 B.C., was a very gifted man who gained respect and power in pagan Babylon, in present day Iraq, and in the subsequent kingdom of the Medes without compromising his faith.
“Daniel shows that no matter where you are, you can still be committed to God,” said Archie, pastor of Rose of Sharon Missionary Baptist Church.
Referring to Chapter Six of the Book of Daniel, Archie said the story of Daniel’s being put into a den of lions by King Darius the Great for his refusal to worship Darius instead of God “points out that we should trust God with everything, whatever it is.
“He had to trust God with his life at that very moment because he didn’t know how to handle the lions that God had created,” Archie said. “But he knew how to trust their creator. We can learn from Daniel that every fight and every battle is not our battle.”
Bristow, pastor of Parker Heights Christian Church here and Grace Fellowship Church in Monahans, said Daniel was about 14 years old when he was taken into captivity by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. “Along with David, he was one of the two people complimented by God,” Bristow said.
“One of my favorite stories is in Chapter Nine, where he is reading the prophecy in Jeremiah 25 that Israel would be kept in captivity for 70 years and then would repent and be returned home. He realizes he is living that prophecy and it’s time to go home. So he repents for himself and his people and God begins to change the government.
“It amazes me that he believes God for his people,” Bristow said. “The angel Gabriel came to him and said, ‘O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding.’
“‘At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved.’”
Doyle noted that at the beginning of the Book of Daniel, which is believed to have been written around 165 B.C. by an unknown scholar, Daniel successfully contends with Nebuchadnezzar about his refusal and those of his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to defile themselves with royal food and wine.
“Daniel said, ‘Test your servants for 10 days and let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink,’” said Doyle, minister of West University Church of Christ. “‘Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you and deal with your servants according to what you see.’”
Doyle said Daniel and his friends looked better and were then allowed to eat what they wanted.
He said most Biblical prophecy was a message to the people who lived in the eras in which it was written, not a prediction of the distant future, and that it was most essentially the proclamation of God’s will.
According to Daniel 6:22, the prophet told Darius after his release from the lions’ den, “My God sent his angel and he shut the mouths of the lions.
“They have not hurt me because I was found innocent in his sight, nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.”
The website learnreligions.com says Daniel “is a godly Biblical character who foreshadows the coming Messiah.
“His trial in the lions’ den resembles that of Jesus before Pontius Pilate and his escape from certain death is like Jesus’ resurrection.”