A Distinguishing FaithJohn Pollard
What do people see when they look at you? Daniel was among some noble young men of the sons of Judah that were taken into Babylonian Captivity. The Bible tells us in Daniel 1: 4 that these were “youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the kings court…” King Nebuchadnezzar sought to brainwash these men and use them for his varied purposes but Daniel stood firm in his faith. “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8). Daniel chose to do this possibly because it was unclean food according to Levitical restrictions or food used in idol worship which would cause one to be a participant with such worship. Daniel realized that he needed to stay true to God and God was with him and Daniel prospered. By the time we get to Daniel 6 we see him prospering in the Kingdom of Darius the Mede. The scriptures tell us he began distinguishing himself among the satraps and commissioners. These commissioners and satraps sought to find any ground of accusation against him because of their envy. However they couldn’t find any evidence or corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful. Daniel was different. Daniel conducted himself in a very godly and responsible manner and this was no coincidence because he had A Distinguishing Faith. And with such faith Daniel:
- Served the true, living God and stayed true to Him. He was loyal and committed to God in all aspects of his life, even in government affairs. Such faith recognizes that God is number one all the time regardless of what we are doing, where we are and who we are with. Such faith does not straddle the fence but chooses to serve God with all its heart, soul, mind and strength. This distinguishing faith rests on the assurance that God is greater than any who is against us and Him. This is the kind of faith that not only talks the talk but walks the walk. When the commissioners and satraps concocted a plan to have Daniel ousted, he didn’t change and he didn’t succumb to the pressures but he let his faith…
- Be Seen by Everyone. The commissioners and satraps were in agreement that they would not find any ground of accusation against Daniel unless it was against him with regard to the law of his God (Dan. 6:5). These men were very aware of Daniel’s faithfulness to God and they knew that they could find something against him in regards to that because his faith was resounding and seen by everyone. When Daniel learned of the decree that was signed, that stated no man should make any petition to any god or man besides the king (Dan. 6:8), he wasn’t about to let that affect his relationship with God. The Bible tells us Daniel went and prayed to God “as he had been doing previously” (Dan. 6:10)
Two times the phrase, “Your God whom you constantly serve” is used by the king himself to describe Daniel’s faithfulness to God. Daniel in a very real sense was a towering beam of light. Everywhere he went people saw what he was doing. They saw his good deeds. They saw his persistent godly character that was exemplified both in political affairs and in the affairs of God. They saw his faith! His faith set him apart. It distinguished him from everyone else. And when the situation got tough he was firm and he understood that this kind of faith…
- Fades not at the first sign of trouble. Let’s be honest. Daniel could have easily succumbed to the pressures around him and he wouldn’t have to worry about facing the consequences of his actions and possibly dying. It could have all been avoided. It could have been an easy resolution to satisfy all parties. No big deal right? Wrong! This is a big deal, but in times of big deals, persecution, pain and trouble Daniel exemplifies to us what having this kind of faith means and here is what he does. He prays! (Dan. 6:10-11). But this isn’t just a coincidence. In 1 Kings 8:46-53, Solomon prays to God that if His people are taken into captivity, if they pray towards their land, then He will hear their prayers and Daniel does exactly this! What Daniel teaches us and what this faith means is that I will not give in, no matter how un-seemingly harmless the temptation, no matter how great the persecution, no matter how long lasting the pain is, I will not give in! Why? Because the God who is for you is greater than those that are against you! (Rom. 8:31-39). He is true, He is living and He delivers on His promises and He acknowledges our faith. Do you have a distinguishing faith? Is Christ being seen in you? What do others see when they look at you?