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Written by Nicasius Kamani

Part 2: Taking a Stand for God no Matter What—the Story of Daniel


The book of Daniel is written in two almost separate parts. Chapters 1 to 6 describe six incidents in the life of Daniel and his three friends; while chapters 7 to 12 describe Daniel’s visions and prophecies. The first six chapters record six distinct events that took place over a 70-year period from about 605 BC to 535 BC. As the book opens, Daniel along with 10,000 other Jews had just been deported to Babylon from Judea by Nebuchadnezzar. The most talented of the exiles were selected to be trained for three years, after which they would serve in Nebuchadnezzar’s government as administrators(Daniel 1:3-5 and 2 Kings 24).This forced the best people to work directly for Nebuchadnezzar under close supervision because thiskind could contribute the most to his kingdom. The ordinary people were left behind and they remained loyal to Nebuchadnezzar and continued to pay tribute (taxes) to his government since they still retained their homes and land. After completing this training, Daniel served in the government of Babylon during the reigns of six rulers including Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus.That was not a mean achievement—we don’t have many people who serve under more than two presidents today! But Daniel’s walk with God made this very possible.

The first six chapters tell familiar stories of Daniel and his three friends being selected for service to the king and then choosing not to eat the king’s food, and later refusing to bow to idols even under the penalty of death. With God’s help, Daniel was able to interpret two of Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams that tell of God’s unfolding plans for Babylon and the Jewish exiles. The men described in these chapters are inspiring examples for us of living a faithful life in a troubled and sinful world. These are stories of faith, perseverance, and trust in God under both good and bad conditions.


Recognize that there will always be times in every generation in which the forces of light confront the forces of darkness. We live in a world that is dominated by Satan and his evil forces. On one hand, Nebuchadnezzar represents kingdoms and systems that we live in and that constantly torments us by subjecting us to temptations of all kind. He also represents every proud and arrogant ruler. On the other hand, Daniel and his companions represent every faithful Christian. The same way God came to the rescue of these four faithful men, he has given us enough assurances from his word that he will deliver those who put their trust in him.

The first test that Daniel and his friends experienced is captured here:

Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego (Daniel 1:6-7).

Ashpenaz changed the names of Daniel and his three friends. The reasons for this change could have been to try and intimidate them, brand them, or frighten them. It maybe that he wanted to assimilatethem into their culture. Maybe, the new names were an attempt to change their religious loyalty from their old God to Babylonia’s gods. See the meanings of the old and new names that they were given:

Old Name New Name

Daniel (God is my judge) Belteshazzar (god Bel protect his life)

Hananiah (The Lord shows grace) Shadrach (Under the command of Aku, the moon god)

Mishael (Who is like God?) Meshach (who is like Aku?)
Azariah (The Lord helps) Abednego (Servant of Nago, the god of learning)

The second test followed as soon as they entered the service of the king. The four Israelites were required to eat from the king’s table. This would make them ritually unclean according to God’s word given to Moses.

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.” (Daniel 1:8-10)

Thankfully, the four friends encouraged each other and remained faithful. Also, God’s sustaining power offered the much-needed support at this time.Certainly our belief in God is extremely important, but in a very practical sense, Daniel’s three friends were equally important. We need to have a few close friends to fall back on, and receive encouragement and inspiration during times of testing. The greatest resource for taking a stand is usually a thorough understanding of God’s power (and the encouragement that comes from scriptures), support from our families, support from other people who share similar interests, and prayers of our small bible talks.

After taking their stand, Daniel and his three friends received incredible blessings from the Lord, as noted below:

At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. (Daniel 1:15-17)

This is how it will be for us if we remain faithful to God in the light of various temptations that come our way. At the end of the day, we shall experience these things as well:

  • Be better nourished: Just like Daniel and his three friends, God ensures that his faithful children will be well nourished. We ought to realize that physical nourishment does not last. We shouldn’t do things that displease God to merely fill our stomachs.
  • Be better protected and more peaceful: The protection of God that transcends understanding is not enjoyed by everyone. People work hard to hopefully ‘buy’ peace-of-mind, long life, and other assurances of life. They hardly get these things. Sooner or later, disaster strikes and they have nowhere else to run to, because their earthly options are very limited. What peace is better than knowing today that if I do not see tomorrow, then I will indeed be in a far superior position than I can ever attain here on earth? God’s provision of peace and protection cuts across the barriers of this life; it cuts across the boundaries of time!
  • Be happier and more fulfilled: Just like peace, people work very hard to try and ‘buy’ happiness, and other things that bring happiness. But God promises something that is far superior: Since he is the fountain of joy, he promises to make our hearts a wellspring of happiness. Which is better: to be a fountain of happiness (the joy that wells from inside) or to import it from outside? Many people are constantly looking for it from a new job, a new relationship, a new car, a new house, a new neighborhood, or even from a new country.
  • Be more knowledgeable and possess incredible understanding: Knowledge and understanding are imparted to us by God the Father. It is his nature to grant it to his children. In Daniel’s case, God gave him wisdom that was ten times that of the rest of the best men that Nebuchadnezzar had taken captive. That is not a mean achievement. This kind of ability can only come from the Almighty God.

A wisdom that is ten times is the kind that enables Christians to distinguish between good and evil, evaluate the repercussions of sins, and steer clear from them. Do you know how many people cheat on their spouses? And yet we all know what that does to themselves, to their spouses, to their children, to the society, to Jesus, and to God the Father. It takes months or years to heal the multiple wounds that arise from this careless misstep.

A wisdom that is ten times is the kind that keeps us away from people and business enterprises that are corrupt. Those who engage in corrupt practices have little understanding of what it does, first to them. They don’t understand that they are heaping curses upon themselves, and their children, and their children’s children to the third and fourth generation. (Study out Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:9).

A wisdom that is ten times is the kind that keeps us from robbing God in tithes and offerings? It helps us understand that by robbing God we are shutting the floodgates of heaven. It helps us remember that it is God who supplies seeds to the sower and bread for food—and he desires to increase our store of seeds. It reminds us that God cannot be mocked, for a man reaps what he sows… I can go on, and on, and on…


Read the entire Daniel chapter three (Daniel 3:1-30).

A few scriptures back in Daniel 2:47, we see that after Daniel interpreted the king’s dream, Nebuchadnezzar seemed to honor God, saying to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings…” But did he really mean the words that he uttered? If he did mean those words, why then would he go ahead and build a huge gold statue of himself and order that it be worshiped?

First of all, note that the statue in his dream had a head of gold, chest of silver, thighs of bronze, and legs and feet of iron and clay. The gold head represented Nebuchadnezzar, but it was destroyed by the silver part (representing Persia) which in turn was destroyed by the bronze part (representing Greece), then by the iron and clay part (representing the Roman empire), and finally by a huge rock representing the God in heaven.

Perhaps Nebuchadnezzar thought that if he made the entire statue out of gold, his empire would prevail over the later conquerors. With it, he was clearly saying that his kingdom would last forever. It certainly showed that his devotion to Daniel’s God was short-lived. He neither feared nor obeyed the God who was behind his dream.

Isn’t that how we are most of the time? We frequently know what we ought to do—but don’t do it. But Hananiah, Mishael and Azeriah would not bow to this statue of gold. Yet, we know that they were tempted to rationalize their predicaments the way we do when in similar situations. Why didn’t the three men just bow to the statue of Nebuchadnezzar and tell God that they didn’t mean it? God’s word was written on the tablet of their hearts. God does not accept worshiping an idol under any circumstances. (Exodus 20:3 says: “You shall have no other gods before me.” And Hosea 13:4 says, “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no savior except me.

Nebuchadnezzar gave the three men a second chance to bow to the statue. And they could have given these excuses if all they needed was to escape the wrath of Nebuchadnezzar:

  • Well, we will bow down, but not actually worship the idol!
  • Or, we will worship it just once and then ask God for forgiveness.
  • Doesn’t the king have absolute powers and we must obey him?I guess God will understand!
  • Or, since we are in a foreign land, God will forgive us for following its customs, rules and regulations.
  • I guess even our ancestors set up idols in God’s temple; bowing down to a statue isn’t half as bad!
  • If we are killed, pagans will take our high positions in this kingdom and won’t help the Jews in exile!

These excuses may sound sensible at first, but they are dangerous rationalizations. To worship the idol, even just once, would violate God’s first commandment (Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 5:7). It would also erase their testimony for God forever. And so they chose to be thrown into a blazing furnace. (Daniel 3:17)

In Daniel 3:18, when they say their God could save them from death in the blazing furnace, do you think they are merely putting their bets before the king with their “even if he does not” words in Verse 18?No! This is not the “if not” of doubt; it is the “if not” of supreme faith in a God who is able to save all who draw near to him. This promise is reiterated in Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them

The statement illustrates a trust in God not for what we get in return, but for its own sake. It recognizes that God can deliver his faithful people from the blazing furnace but that they also may not, in fact, be spared and may die in the flames. But even if that be the case, there is no doubt of God’s power and love. Indeed, if God always rescued people who believed in him, Christians would not need faith. Their religion would be like a great ‘insurance policy’ and there would be queues upon queues of selfish people waiting to sign up. And so in his wisdom he disguises his blessings and his salvation for that reason. God is so wise, don’t you think?

Therefore, we must be faithful to God whether he intervenes on our behalf or not. And that kind of faith is reinforced by the fact that our eternal reward is worth any suffering that we may have to endure for his sake.

Again in Daniel 3: 28-29, after Nebuchadnezzar saw the miraculous rescue of the three men, one begins to get the feeling that the king had at last come to truly experience the power of the true God of Israel for he said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants!…”Wrong! Even with these words, Nebuchadnezzar was not committing to make God the Lord of his life. Far from it! Instead, he was acknowledging that God was powerful and he commanded his people not to speak against God. But he did not tell the people to worship the LORD God alone or to get rid of their other gods. A few lessons for us here:

This is one of the major problems of Christians today: people are willing to add the LORD God to their list of gods, but not to worship the only true God. Many people are not willing to make a life-time commitment to serve the only true God. This is evident in their mindset, their words, their character and indeed in their actions.

It is easy to acknowledge what is good (good behavior, character, deeds), but to live them out is a totally different story. There is a very big difference between KNOWING and DOING. The difference between the two rests in the strength of our character.


The bottom line is this: Have faith in God under all circumstances. Be true to his word no matter how difficult the pressure, threats, or punishment that you may be encountering knowing that God can deliver you from any situation—but you must also be faithful whether he does so or not. Always remember that your destiny is in God’s hands, being thankful that it is! And lastly, put your complete and total trust in God. It is the only safe place to put it, both now and forever more. Amen.

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