Daniel --part 1
(From radio broadcast of Bro. Julius Adewumi)
Let's talk about the faith of Daniel. How did Daniel exercise himself that he was listed among the heroes of faith? We are called to be men of faith, and "without faith it is impossible to please the Lord."
God gave Daniel wisdom and skill, but how did he get this wisdom and skill? How come he was chosen from among the Hebrew men to receive such grace? Let's see from Daniel chapter one how he conducted himself, and his ways, so that if we pattern our ways similar to that, we will see the same type of reward or better reward, because we are under the covenant of grace. However even with the covenant of grace, God expects something from us. When we look at these men of old we see that they were walking with God. This was written about Enoch, that "Enoch walked with God and God took him that he should not see death." We believe that we are going to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air. We are also to walk with Jesus and please God, and without faith it is impossible to please him.
Who was this man Daniel?
"In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it." (Dan.1:1).
When Judah was taken into captivity, Daniel was one of the young men who were taken to Babylon. If you go back to the book of Kings, you will see the prophecy about how Judah would be taken into captivity, given by prophet Isaiah to king Hezekiah. Isaiah prophesied that, even the descendants of king Hezekiah would be taken away to Babylon and they would be made Eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. (2 Kgs. 20:17-18). It happened and Daniel was one of the captives taken to Babylon. Daniel was made Eunuch as seen in Dan.1:3.
"And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of the Eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favored and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans." (Dan.1:3-4).
What we want to talk about is how Daniel got favor with God, to get supernatural results.
(v.5-6) "And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank; so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah." These were not the only Hebrews in the group. These four men just stood out of the crowd. This is what we have to notice here. Because they stood out in their attitude and in their ways of life from the rest of the Hebrews, this is the first thing I want you to take note of when it comes to faith. You may be in the midst of Christians in your congregation. You have got to stand out of the crowd also by your way of life, by your closeness, and your love for Jesus, and by your zeal for God. It has to be some things you do that others don't do: some specific things that will make you stand out of the crowd in the eyes of the Lord, that will make God say, "here is one that is after my heart." You see this also about king David. What was David doing differently? In the life of David you will notice that David was a singer, always singing praises to God.
In this book of Daniel, we see Daniel and his three friends stood out of the crowd by what they did.
(v.8) "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the Eunuchs that he might not defile himself."
The first thing we see here is that Daniel had purposed to remain pure for God's use. In their generation, to be pure in their religion they had to avoid some meat according to the law of Moses. Now this should be a pattern for you and me: if we want to distinguish ourselves from the crowd to be a man or woman after God's heart, we need to sanctify ourselves. Set yourself apart to the Lord. It may be in your fasting lifestyle, seeking the face of God, praising the Lord day or night, which others don't do, or separating yourself from sins as the word of God said, "touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you and will be a Father unto you and ye shall be my sons and daughters".
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor. 6: 14-18).
This is in the new testament, saying we should keep ourselves separate from the polutions of the world. What could be the polutions of the world? It could be all their dirty movies! It could be all their ungodly sins, homosexuality, or the dirty talks; also rebuke them that are doing those things. Then we shall be those after God's own heart.
Daniel purposed in himself to keep himself pure. When we say we want to please God, this is one of the ways we can begin to order ourselves just like Daniel. When he made up his mind to keep himself pure, it didn't come easy for him either. There would be some eyebrows raised. The next verse said, God had brought Daniel into tender love with the prince of the Eunuchs. "The prince of the Eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? Then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king."
"Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the Eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenance be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants."
Just like we said, anytime you want to stand for righteousness, there will be opposition. But there will always be a way to overcome or avoid that opposition. This is the wisdom God gave to Daniel to avoid the opposition, was to ask for ten-day trial. After the ten days they saw that Daniel and his friends even looked better than the rest of the men.
In our own case, maybe you are a student, or an office worker, and you purpose to separate yourself from the worldly things as discussed, people may ridicule you, they may laugh at you, but that should not bother you. If you request for exception they might say it is not possible. But if you look closely, there will be a way out, a way to get the exception. Take for example, an office where they declare all employees' party, where there will be reveling and many ungodliness, and you are intimidated to go; you don't have to be there. When you have made your stand known before hand, they will not be inviting you to such gathering. You still should have the love of Christ for the sinners, talking to them about the life of Christ without being ashamed of it.
Daniel purposed that he would stand for God not ashamed of what others would say. Similarly, stand and be counted for Christ. Stand and be counted for Jesus: that you will stand pure and holy, that you will not take bribe like the rest of them in your office. This is one of the steps in moving closer to the Lord, and there are rewards for such commitment and dedication. There are supernatural gifts that God dishes out to people. Look at some of them in 1 Cor.12, called the gifts of the Holy Ghost. If they are called gifts, then how can we be candidates to receive these gifts? We've got to walk with the Lord. We've got to sanctify ourselves.
Daniel was not antagonistic; he requested for permission and using his wisdom, they granted the permission. Here is how God blessed them:
(v.17) "As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams."
Some people may say, it's what they ate that gave them knowledge. Not so. The bible said God gave them the knowledge and wisdom, because of their stand for God. In the same way, when you stand up for Christ, you will be better than your peers for God will give you the reward of wisdom and knowledge, as it is written, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy is understand". You will also be avoiding the troubles that always accompany those ungodly behaviors. There is a lot of trouble that always accompany ungodliness. Take for example those given to promiscuity, and sexual immorality, and they may brag and boast about it. But when you keep yourself away from fornication, you are keeping yourself away from those sexually transmitted diseases, like AIDS that is plaguing the world.
Also there are more promises for the righteous: "If you abide in me and my word abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you." (Jn.15: 7).
Touch not the unclean thing! Touch not the bribery, touch not the embezzlement that the government workers of many nations are guilty of. Trust God to provide for your needs.
"Godliness with contentment is great gain".
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor. 6: 14-18). Amen.
Bro. Julius Adewumi
Gospel Distribution Ministry