Funny thing that when I see Daniel, I see faith. As one of the main words I think of at the same time as "faith" is unseen. Faith is hoped for, it's matters unseen, it's a tangible assurance that what we believe is actually true. Hebrews 11:1 is my ultimate faith verse.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
That's how I have it memorized. Do you see why it's been so impossible for me to picture faith? This is what the amplified says:
NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, [a]the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
And even better this what The Message says:
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.
So even though my senses, such as sight, don't see faith, it's there. It's what makes life worth living and it's what set Daniel above the crowd. (I will visit being set above the crowd in a later post about Daniel but just know this ministers to my soul. A very dry and forgotten space in my heart was watered by faith today.)
As I have been studying this week and meditating on the fact that walking by faith takes courage and courage conquers fear, I have come to realize that as Christians, a people of faith, we live by what we know not what we can see. Talking to God, listening to God and believing God takes great faith. If we practice walking by faith enough, what we can't see becomes more real than what we can see. This is the place where Daniel came to life for me.
Through faith, that is by living a lifestyle unpopular to many and believing God would honor it, Daniel's boldness made him a true leader. The Bible is clear that it was through Daniel's request that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were given special treatment and preference by the king's servants.
The courage to ask. I have a child that is a little shy to ask. She doesn't ask for much. But when she does ask it is specific and it is expected. Just her style. She especially doesn't ask her dad for much. But when she asks, he always delivers. Always. There's just something about our children coming to us. Even though meeting her requests brings him great joy and he is almost always happy to comply, she is still shy the next time she asks. Hmmmmm
When I saw Daniel as the spokesman for this crew of guys, I thought of myself and the crew I've been made spokesman for by God. As a parent do I ask the right questions, requests the right treatment, guard their little hearts well? These are questions I ask myself daily. Questions I ask and then follow with lots and lots and lots of prayer!
Daniel is an incredible obeyer of God. He obviously fears God more than the king or even death itself. I teach my children to obey. Obedience is immediate, joyful and complete. If just one step is skipped, it is disobedience. Obviously God has chosen Daniel to live in the palace. Some in his position might believe God would justify eating forbidden food. Not Daniel. Daniel is setting the stage for a life of no compromise and full obedience here in chapter one for the dreaded lions' den. I can't wait to study his obedient heart even more.
I was so excited when I read that God blessed Daniel and his crew ten times over for their bravery and obedience. As they choose faith and courage any fear they might have dissipates. I'm pretty sure Daniel was recounting many stories like this as he walked into the lions' den. Aren't we blessed to have such incredible examples of faith going before us?
The Message says it best:
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! Hebrews 12:1-3
Because of many examples of faith in the Bible, including Daniel, I can let go of fear and run towards my destiny, that would be the race marked out for me. Welcome Year of No Fear!