Posted by: rcottrill | June 29, 2012

Dare to Be a Daniel

Words: Philip Paul Bliss (b. July 9, 1838; d. Dec. 29, 1876)
Music: Philip Paul Bliss

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Philip Bliss wrote this song for his Sunday School class at the First Congregational Church, of Chicago, three years before his death.

As a young man, likely still in his teens, Daniel was carried away as a slave into Babylon (Dan. 1:1-4). From the very start, he showed himself to be an individual with strong spiritual values and the courage of his convictions. His first challenge related to the diet prescribed for him and his companions (1:5).

We are not told what Daniel had against it, but perhaps Hebrew dietary laws were at issue, or had been dedicated to an idol god of the Babylonians. Philip Bliss suggests he was “heeding God’s command.” Whatever the case:

“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” (1:8).

CH-1) Standing by a purpose true,
Heeding God’s command,
Honour them, the faithful few!
All hail to Daniel’s band!

The convictions of three of Daniel’s young friends bring them into conflict with King Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 3. The king set up a monstrous idol, and commanded all the bow before it in worship (3:1, 4-5). Daniel does not enter the picture, and he may have been off somewhere in the empire doing business for the king. But the three Hebrews are definitely part of “Daniel’s band” spiritually. They refuse to do as the king commands (vs. 16-18), and are throw into a roaring furnace (vs.21), there to be preserved by a mighty miracle of God (vs. 25, 28).

In the sixth chapter of Daniel we see the prophet, now an adult, once again put in jeopardy by his personal convictions. He had risen to a place of authority. And jealous leaders in the empire attempted to discredit him. Significantly, they had great trouble finding any fault in godly Daniel (vs. 5) But they pressed the king (Darius, in this case) to pass a law forbidding anyone from making a request of any god, for thirty days–addressing their petitions only to the king during that time (vs. 7).

In spite of the edict, Daniel boldly continued his practice of praying three times a day, and made no attempt to hide it. He was cast into a den of ravenous lions as a result, but was protected by the Lord (vs. 16, 21-22).

These are amazing deliverances, and wonderful demonstrations of the supernatural power of God. But such things don’t happen often. Sometimes the Lord delivers us from a trial; other times He gives us the grace to endure it and bring glory to Him in it (cf. Heb. 11:32-40). The three Hebrew friends of Daniel understood that. When threatened with the fiery furnace they said:

“Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (3:17-18).

They had confidence in God’s ability to rescue them, but they didn’t presume to know His will in this particular instance. “But if [help was] not” forthcoming, they still would not bow before the king’s image. How we need men and women of such conviction today!

CH-2) Many mighty men are lost
Daring not to stand,
Who for God had been a host
By joining Daniel’s band.

Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known.

Questions:
1) What kind of situations are you facing now that require moral convictions, and a bold stand for Christ and the principles of God’s Word?

2) How can we help and encourage others to take a stand for God?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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