Daniel A Man Greatly Beloved

 

20And while I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before Jehovah my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21yea, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22And he instructed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee wisdom and understanding. 23At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment went forth, and I am come to tell thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision.

Daniel 9:20-23

 

The story of Daniel is an old and fascinating one.  All who have had the advantage of a godly rearing, early in our years, our mothers, the world’s greatest theologians,  have read and told us Bible stories. Most remember how we loved the story of Daniel.  Perhaps your mind wandered back to this scene as you read the opening text.

 

Daniel is certainly one of the great figures of the Old Testament and like Joseph, Daniel rose to a position of high authority in an alien land and served with great distinction. He is spoken of as  beloved of God in our text: A review of his life, his godliness, and consistency of character clearly show why he was so highly esteemed and much used by God.

 

The story of Daniel also fascinates us because it reminds us of the possibilities of living Godly lives in the midst of ungodly circumstances. Four young men (Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) were all worthy representatives of God’s people. Israel had gone astray, but these young men remained true even in the face of death.  In such circumstances it is always much easier to float with the tide than to stem it.  The true test of one’s convictions is not in the worship services, but at the work place, in the school room, and in the midst  daily  activities. Daniel and his friends in the midst of ungodly conditions in the work place, were loyal to their God.

 

The key to Daniel's fidelity and the key to God’s great love for this young man. I believe to be found in the text of Daniel 6:3 

“3Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; “ This is an interesting statement, and literally means that in Daniel, his spirit was dominant, not the fleshly side. I have often thought that Paul might have had this youth in mind when he wrote to  Timothy.   2 Timothy 2:22

22But flee youthful lusts, and follow after righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

 

Daniel a man who had an excellent spirit within him. The etymology of the word excellent is something that excels surpasses and goes beyond dominates and the Hebrew word translated “excellent” carries that exact meaning.  We could with perfect accuracy translated and read  Daniel 6:3 this way “3Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes  because a spirit that excelled was found in him”.   The principle thing was not the physical, though he was fair, ruddy, and splendid; The Spirit was the dominant factor in the personality of this young man.

 

This is evident at the very beginning of the story of Daniel.  To him, it was not the king's dainties or wine from the king's table, that were the principal things. One writer suggested, that Daniel was not a man who thought of himself as a material  person possessing a spirit, but spiritual possessing a material body. “an excellent spirit was in him;”   Daniel began his day in the spiritual realm, and from that he governed the material side. In all his relationships, he recognized that the supreme quantity, the supreme quality was spiritual. Daniel a man greatly beloved and of excellent spirit.

 

Let us then examine the qualities of this man  in whom it is stated  an excellent spirit was in him   We  focus primarily on two things, “Daniel the man beloved was first of all a man of purpose”. And secondly Daniel a man of prayer”. First then,  “Daniel a man beloved of God” was a man of purpose.   Daniel 1:8 we read:

8But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's dainties, nor with the wine which he drank,  therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”   Daniel determined even before the challenges of the king’s court presented themselves;   I will not defile myself with the king’s dainties, nor with the wine which he drank ”. He did not wait until pressures were applied. He made up his mind to be faithful to God and to His law.  Purpose is at the beginning of everything. From this everything else flows.

"Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself"

 

This the a matter of supreme importance.  Thousands drift into evil courses for lack of a definite and positive commitment of themselves to some position,  for a lack of having purpose, something they have settled in their hearts. 

 

Life is a series of choices, “As a mighty oak grows from a very small acorn, We make our decisions and from them our character is formed. We are today who we are…because of choices and decisions we have made over the years. Most of the time we don’t realize how important (small) choices can be. Many of the most important decisions we will make is made during teenage years. Where will I go to college?  What will be my life’s career, my job?   Who will be my friends?  Who will I date?  Marry?  Will I drink?  Will I take drugs?  How far will I go?  Will I keep myself pure?

 

Daniel speaks to us today in no uncertain tones and the message he utters is:

"Dare to be Daniel, dare to stand alone.

 Dare to have a purpose and  Dare to make it known."

 

I would that I could impress upon all of us, the importance OF PURPOSE IN OUR LIVES.  It affords us  an anchor in the time of storm,  creates for us a base in the time of battle. To have committed oneself to some definite thing is always of value in every walk of life.   When a person has formed his purpose he is halfway to victory.  Now it is possible that we have formed a purpose, and   have never attained our goals, but one thing is certain, the goal cannot be reached without purpose.

 

Underlying life somewhere, every man has a purpose, if we are a Christian: That purpose is to serve God bringing glory to His name, to love with the all the heart mind and soul. Daniel had a purpose he, settled it,  he announced it, and then ¾ Stood By It.

 

Daniel's purpose was  simple  yet inspirational.  The simple purpose he announced as he came down into the midst of the Chaldean court and all its corruption;   "I will not defile myself with the king's dainties, nor his wines." Because he stood there strong in the beginning, he was strong and victorious throughout his life. I urge you the importance of having a purpose. Whether young or old, have a purpose, declare that purpose, stand by it, and commit yourselves absolutely and positively.  Not merely in the face of other Christians, but everything you do.

 

But notice next Daniel man beloved was  not only a man of purpose – but Daniel was a man of prayer, and nothing stands out more clearly than this fact. When  the interpretation of the king's dream was required of the wise men of Babylon, the magicians, enchanters, and sorcerers, responded, "There is not a man upon earth that can do what the king has asked." And they were right in this. But Daniel, the man beloved of God and of excellent spirit, was called in to interpret the king's dream and I begin reading just here.   Daniel 2:16-23

“And Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would appoint him a time, and he would show the king the interpretation. 17Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 18that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his companions should nor perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever; for wisdom and might are his. 21And he changeth the times and the seasons; he removeth kings, and setteth up kings; he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that have understanding; 22he revealeth the deep and secret things; he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. 23I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast now made known unto me what we desired of thee; for thou hast made known unto us the king’s matter”.

 

Daniel called his friends together into prayer, asked them to pray with him that he might have the necessary light for the interpretation. But as the story of Daniel’s prayer life proceeds we read the king had signed an unalterable law banning prayer,  with the punishment of being cast into the lion’s den. We read in Daniel 6:10

And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house (now his windows were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem) and he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime”.

 

Daniel was  a man with a  prayer habit.  Three times a day he turned his face toward Jerusalem thought on God and prayed to his God.  Here we touch the secret that underlay his purpose not to defile himself.  Strong purpose is powerful in execution only as we are dependent upon God.  Our hearts may be firmly determined on loyalty, but unless we know how lean firmly upon God the forces will prove to be to much for us. A person who has purposed  to do right, and depending upon God is absolutely invincible.

 

If the purpose has been formed in the heart,  what next? Prayer, rely upon strength from God.  If we desire to be loved of God and live a life with an excellent spirit, it is not enough to have purpose. We recognize we have limitations, weakness, shortcomings,  and depend upon the God of Heaven.

 

Doubtlessly, I speak to many who have fallen, who have sinned, and we know it.  I take you back to the point of your failure and I ask why did we fail? Was it not  due  to our independence.  Had we been dependent and trusting upon God, recognizing His supreme power, communicating with Him by prayer,  we would have won where we failed. A man who is dependent upon the strength of God is absolutely invincible.  Evil may come, but it will not master a man  dependent upon the Heavenly Father.

 

Another word about prayer, the great word of the Hebrew letter is prayer, Hebrews 4:11-16

Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need”.

 

At the back of this phrase “in time of need  we have a Greek word which we can easily translate with the English cliché "just in the nick of time."  Right when peril threatens I go to God, and there timely  help. The strong Christian is one who has purposed in his heart to do right, to be loyal to his King,  And who says to Christ in the morning "I will not forsake Thee today"  He does not then turn to go out and fight his battles alone.     

 

Paul tells us where he found the strength to fight all the battles he passed through   Philippians 4:13

13I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me”.

   

 The strong man is the one who says         "Be with me Lord, I cannot live without Thee, I dare not try to take one step alone. I cannot bear the loads of life unaided, I need Thy strength to lean myself upon."

 

The phrase “Daniel, A Man Greatly Beloved”, Is found three times in the book of Daniel Ch (9:23; 10:11; 10:19).  Why do you think Daniel was a man greatly loved of God?   I believe that it was because of an excellent spirit that dwelled with him,  leading him to be a person of purpose and one of habitual prayer.

 

It has often been said that Daniel is the John of the Old Testament, and John is the Daniel of the New Testament. Those two men, Daniel and John, were choice saints. They rose to the greatest height of spiritual obedience, and then to the greatest height of spiritual enjoyment. They were men that were greatly beloved of God. To these men God revealed many  things.  To John Christ revealed the great messages of Revelation. Daniel saw the four great kingdoms of the world. Dan 7:1-12; The Ascension of our Lord Daniel 7:13-14; And visions of the end times Daniel 12:1-4

 

My last word is this:  For the child of God, the true purpose of each of our lives  is focused in the  PERSON of  CHRIST. Our Lord Himself has said:  15If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.” But notice this statement from the beloved John:  John 14:23

23…If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings

 

Our true purpose is loyalty to Christ, Our communication is prayer  with the Father through Christ.  I pray for you, and I pray for myself, that we may be children of excellent spirits.  And may  we cultivate purpose and prayer that we may find help in the time of need.   To any outside of Christ,  our prayer is that you may devote your life to Him, that you may be recipient of every spiritual blessing in Him Ephesians 1:3   that you may enjoy the salvation that is in Him 2 Tim 2:10   That you may one day hear Him say:                                                                 Well done good and faithful servant

 

contact:

Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658