Daniel, writer of the book that bears his name, is portrayed in the Scriptures as beloved of the Lord. In Ezekiel, the Lord in speaking of the sureness of His judgments about to come upon the land of Judah, said, “Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness” (Ezekiel 14: 14). These words were spoken shortly before the desolation of Jerusalem, while Daniel was in Babylon, where he had risen to a position of great prominence.
Daniel, at age fourteen, was carried captive to Babylon eleven years before the final captivity in the days of Zedekiah, when the land was left desolate without an inhabitant, and the seventy years of desolation began. Daniel and his three Hebrew companions, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, were recognized as noble young men by King Nebuchadnezzar because of their brightness and general intelligence. Consequently, they were placed in a class from which the king drew his assistants and councilors of state. One of the first things done was to change their names: Daniel was named Belteshazzar, Hananiah was named Shadrach, Mishael was named Meshach and Azariah was named Abednego.
Daniel’s Plain Diet
Daniel 1: 8-20: The college that these four young Hebrews entered was maintained by the king and supplied with wines and various dainties usual to the table of the king and his nobility. But Daniel purposed in his heart that if possible he would choose plain food and not defile himself with the king’s dainties and wine. He therefore made a request for simple food called pulse, perhaps peas, beans, etc.
Daniel’s appeal to the prince of the eunuchs was met with the objection that if such a change of diet should make them physically impoverished, it might cause him his life. But Daniel urged a ten days’ test, which was followed. After the ten days Daniel and his companions were in better health and every way brighter and more intelligent than their associates who were eating the richer fruits and wines.
We may all draw a lesson here respecting our diet, and all other affairs of life which have so much to do in the formation of character, so all-important for those who would inherit a place in God’s Kingdom.
Daniel in the Den of Lions
Daniel 6: 10-24: Daniel was now an old man. He had been wise and faithful in his administration of the government entrusted to him. He had seen the Babylonian dynasty perish and in its place came the empire of the Medes and Persians. Daniel’s grand character was again recognized. The new universal empire was divided into 120 provinces with 120 governors. Over these were three presidents, of whom Daniel was first. Over these presidents was King Darius, above whom, as chief emperor, was Cyrus.
Grafting was prevalent, but Daniel would have been a hindrance to the grafters. They needed to find some fault with him, so they approached King Darius with the proposition that the king should be recognized for a month as the only channel of mediation between his subjects and their god or gods. King Darius agreed to the arrangement and issued the order. Daniel heard of the decree, but continued his usual custom of praying three times a day before a window of his house.
The conspirators testified that Daniel had violated the king’s edict, which he had been entrapped into signing. Daniel was cast into the lion’s den. The king was in great distress that night, but in the morning when he went to the den and called to Daniel, he rejoiced to learn that Daniel was safe, that his God had sent an angel to stop the lion’s mouths. The king proceeded to make another decree – that those counselors who had sought Daniel’s life should themselves be put to the test by being cast into the same den of lions, which in their case meant destruction.
Oh, that every Christian could and would live as high above the world’s standards as did Daniel, so that their enemies might see clearly that they have no ground for charges except those to their credit; that their God whom they serve is indeed the true God.