It’s a story of courage, integrity, and incredible faith. Daniel, a Jewish captive living in Babylon (modern day Iraq) rose to great prominence, becoming an advisor to the king. Later, after the Persians (modern day Iran) conquered Babylon, Daniel’s wisdom and influence lead him to a similar position alongside the king of Persia. Well, it didn’t take long for the other advisors to become jealous of Daniel’s influence (especially because he was a foreigner).
Knowing that Daniel was fully devoted to God and prayed three times a day, they convinced the king to issue a month-long decree that outlawed prayer to anyone other than the king. The advisors knew that Daniel would put God before the king’s decree and therefore be killed – death by hungry lions. But in an incredible miracle, God intervened. God protected Daniel from death, which in turn caused the king of Persia to proclaim the greatness of Daniel’s God throughout his empire!
So, what does this have to do with us today? While identifying as a follower of Jesus isn’t always popular, it rarely results in this level of persecution – at least for those of us in the West. But it does demonstrate what our response should be when it comes to popular culture and authority. We may lose our job, our friends or our status, but Daniel’s example inspires us to be faithful.
It’s about submission. As followers of Jesus, we are called to submit to Christ above all else– it means trusting Christ with our lives. At the same time, we are also to submit to worldly institutions like educators, laws and government– unless it means violating your conscious and God’s will, as shown in Scripture. So what would you do if forced to choose between God and government? Daniel chose to obey God over government when government commanded that he betray his faith. What courage! What faith! What an example for us all!