Bible Society of South Africa
Louise Gevers

Walking with God – Day 19

Walking with God in prayer: Daniel

Bible text(s)

16So then, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you will be healed. The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect.

James 5:16GNBOpen in Bible reader

Daniel was a handsome, intelligent young man from Judah who, along with other young nobles, had been taken off to Babylon to serve King Nebuchadnezzar and became one of his advisers. Daniel worshipped God and remained faithful to him, praying three times a day and upholding his values in all circumstances, regardless of the consequences. It was very difficult for Daniel and his Jewish friends to live in a different culture that did not keep God’s laws, but from the very beginning, Daniel showed strength of character and made a stand in a practical way. This tested him to the point of death twice, but opened the king’s eyes to the power of God.

Daniel understood that honouring God meant praying to him and keeping his laws, and so “resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine …” (Daniel 1:8). He, thus, kept focused and steadfast. God favoured him and the result was that not only did he and his companions look “healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food” (Daniel 1:15), but God gave them “knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds” (Daniel 1:17). This found them in good stead in this foreign land as, unsurprisingly, the king “found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom” (Daniel 1:20).

King Nebuchadnezzar was the greatest of the kings of Babylon, but although he considered himself to be a god, he did not know everything and needed his advisers. He thought it was his right to order the death of all these wise men (including Daniel) when they could not tell him the dream that he had dreamt and could, therefore, not interpret it for him. He had clearly never heard of the Golden Rule! When Daniel discovered the reason why he had been summoned to be executed with the Babylonian astrologers, magicians, sorcerers and enchanters who made up Nebuchadnezzar’s wise men, his first action was to gather with his friends to pray and to plead for God’s mercy. God answered their prayers by revealing the king’s dream to Daniel in a vision.

When Daniel went to the king to interpret it, he took no credit but acknowledged that “no wise man … can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries” (Daniel 2:27). Once Daniel had explained the dream, Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed that he “fell prostrate before Daniel” and “said to Daniel: ‘Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries because you were able to reveal this mystery …’’’ (Daniel 2:47).

Honouring God brought Daniel promotion to rule over the entire province with the wise men under him, which also brought God’s influence into the government. His faithfulness in prayer enabled him to survive and flourish in exile, and never waver in his faith.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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