DANIEL – A Man “highly esteemed” by God
I have been studying Daniel - yet another remarkable leader in the Bible.
“Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous…” (Psa. 15:1,2a NIV)
Daniel was such a man. One of Daniel’s major roles was that of an Intercessor, or prayer warrior. Daniel knows the Presence of God. He prayed 3 times a day facing Jerusalem, which would have been where his Temple of worship was located in his homeland. (Dan. 6:10b)
Jerusalem had been beseiged by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and Daniel had been taken captive. He had been chosen as a young man “without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace”. (Dan. 1:4a NIV)
Daniel was to learn the language and the culture of the Babylonians for 3 years, and then serve the King. This would have been a very different culture from his indigenous Jewish culture, but Daniel “resolved not to defile himself” with this new culture, but to remain 100% committed to his heritage and faith! (Dan. 1:8a NIV)
This was remarkable for such a young man! It would have been easier and more pleasurable to live on choice food and wine in the palace, but Daniel lived on vegetables and water. And God kept him healthy and well-nourished.
God gave Daniel “knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds”. (Dan. 1:17 NIV)
The interpretation of dreams and visions was a spiritual Gift from God. In several chapters, Daniel is called upon to “know” the King’s dreams and to interpret them. He also has to interpret the supernatural appearance of the handwriting on the wall. Daniel is able to divinely and correctly know the King’s dreams and interpret them. He does what no other magician, sorcerer or astrologer can do in these pagan kingdoms… and Daniel’s God is declared as the One and Only Mighty and Sovereign God!
These Divine confrontations between Daniel and the wise men are set up to show God’s Sovereignty over witchcraft and other false gods. The Gift is used for God’s Glory, and not for Daniel’s personal elevation. This can be seen, when Daniel is called to King Belshazzar to interpret the supernatural handwriting which appeared on the wall in the King’s Palace. The King promises Daniel a purple robe, a gold chain, and the third highest position of authority in the kingdom!
“Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.”” (Dan. 5:16 NIV)
Daniel is a true man of God. He is not interested in position or monetary gain. He cannot be bought, nor does he necessarily want to have any “strings” attached to him, but will use his heavenly gifting as God directs.
God so recognises Daniel’s wholehearted commitment to Him, that as soon as Daniel prays, Heaven responds!
Daniel sees the Angel Gabriel who says, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.” (Dan. 9:22, 23a NIV)
Wouldn’t we all like to be like Daniel? As soon as he prays, God sees fit to respond! God is moved by the consecration of Daniel’s life. Several times the words “highly esteemed” are used to describe Daniel, and this is God’s endorsement of Daniel’s exemplary character and life.
In Daniel 9:3, Daniel is fasting, in sackcloth and ashes, and praying to God. Daniel stands as a Mercy Intercessor for Jerusalem and the Jewish people. He repents of the sins of his people, and because of his honest, humble prayer, God sends the Angel Gabriel to him with an answer.
God also gives Daniel some end time visions, which Daniel faithfully records for future generations.
Daniel was exemplary in his job for several kings over the years. In fact, “Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.” (Dan. 6:3 NIV)
Daniel was serving a foreign king in an alien culture. Yet, he worked at his best, and he was recognised for his excellence.
Daniel was really a remarkable man and leader! He served His God faithfully and steadfastly. He demonstrated this, while living within a foreign culture and rising to the top position in Government, and still maintained an excellent reputation!