Updated: Oct 1, 2020
The Book of Daniel tells the story of a young Jewish man who choose to live righteous in the midst of Divine Judgment. His small group of praying friends took on the most powerful governmental institution of their day and prevailed. They did this simply through reading the Word of God, Fasting, and Praying. Perhaps their story is shouting to us today, warning us of what happens when we do not follow Gods Commands, point the way to what it means to live radical in the midst of Divine judgment, and how to gain understanding of the end times. But that's not how his life started. Daniel suffered severe pain.
Daniel was a victim of extreme injustice. He lived through a horrific siege, which lasted years (the Babylon army surrounded Jerusalem and starved the people of Israel until they gave up). Then with Jerusalem humiliated, and many people viciously murdered, Daniel became a human trafficking victim. But he did not let his current circumstances overcome His life. Instead He read His Bible, Fasted, Prayed with his friends, and overcame his present pain until he was both success in the eyes of his piers, the leaders of Babylon, and most importantly before the eyes of God. He was an ordinary person called to do extraordinary things. Daniel was a young man that chose to live radical in his generation.
Daniel said,"Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink."
Note, he did not look for an opportunity to live radical. Instead the situation was forced upon him and he responded. The first time, second, and then the third time. Until responding in a radical way was a byproduct of who he was at the very core. Daniel read the Bible, prayed three times a day, lived a fasted lifestyle, and worked hard to succeed in a wicked land. He thrived in the land that killed his fellow countrymen and enslaved him. (Most likely his parents had been killed, he was humiliated, and then walked through the desert some 1678 miles from Jerusalem to Babylon).
IS GOD CALLING YOU TO LIVE RADICAL IN YOUR GENERATION ?
But Daniel responded with righteousness, meekness and humility. This very response is what we want to focus on. His daily simple lifestyle choice: fasting, daily prayer, meditation on the word, and faithfulness in the workplace. But he did not start as a radical man. He started as an obedient son, to his righteous parents.
HIS HOME LIFE
Daniel grew up in Jerusalem, as an educated young man, who was obedient to his parents for the sake of Yahweh. He was trained in Torah, and possibly heard the message of Jeremiah (we know that he studied them in his later years; Daniel 9). But the key to Daniel’s faith lay with his parents’ devotion to God. Remember, Daniel was taken as a slave to Babylon and stayed steady when all else did not. How do we know he stayed true to God?
When Daniel got to Babylon, he made lifestyle choices that would have been given to him by his parents. Daniel was immediately thrust into Babylon school where he had to learn a foreign language, complete his studies in 3 years, all while being surround by some of the most power occult leaders of his day. But Daniel did not let the spiritual landscape infect him. Instead his inward sanctification and devotion to God, became the light that influenced the most powerful king in all the world (In Daniel chapter 2, when he is approximately 20 years old, after he interpreted a dream for Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful king in the world bows down before Daniel to pay homage to the God of Daniel (Daniel 2:46-47).
Immediately Daniel was faced with one of his biggest tests, and if we are honest our biggest test. What food do we put into our bodies? Daniel was used to eating a Kosher diet. But when he went to Babylon, they put food before him that was not kosher, sacrificed to idols, and was unhealthier than what he was used to. Daniel pushed his plate away and refused to eat even at the threat of death. Wisely, Daniel sets up a 10-day test (He choose to eat vegetables and drink water). His boss agrees, because a boss always want a solution, and they always have bosses that they are accountable to. At the end of 10 days they looked better.
Daniel lived a fasted lifestyle. He purposed in his heart to live a lifestyle of fasting. What does this mean today? The Scripture said, his steward could have been killed for not taking care of Daniel (and his 3 friends). A life was at stake and Daniel did not cave in. How many times have we caved in to “what other people think”? Daniel did not let the intensity of the situation infect him, instead his inward devotion to God, and radical choice of fasting, affected those around him. So, what about you? What has God called you to do? In whatever season you are in fasting will ultimate help you in your radical devotion to Jesus. Let’s take a deeper look at Daniel’s life.
"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank"
Daniel and his three friends chose to live a holy lifestyle. They started a group that fasted and prayed together. (Imagine, your home is destroyed, your enslaved, your forced to learn another language, and you choose to fast and pray. Interestingly enough the Bible doesn’t record that any other Israelite lived this way—just the four, and they changed the world. So, start your small group today). Ultimately, they arose in the midst of crisis and lived differently in their high school and university years. As a result, God poured out His Spirit, gave them gifts, callings, promotions and influence, both in Heaven and on earth. (Oh, did I mention that they all did this in the midst of God’s divine judgement? Israel was in a 70-year captivity for their disobedience. If Daniel and the 3 thrived in the midst of judgement, if they thrived in the midst of their city being destroyed, if they survived being a human trafficking victim, then you can thrive in the midst of any horrible situation that life throws your way). But you can’t do it alone, so gather your friends and begin your journey to live radical together.