Bible Examples of Godly Character: Daniel
Even as a slave, Daniel’s relationship with God had incredible impact on the world.
…even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord GOD.
There are only a few people in Scripture about whom nothing negative is recorded. Daniel is one of them. Although he was enslaved as a war captive of the Babylonians, he was promoted to governor. His unshakable trust in his God’s goodness led him to intercede for Israel, confessing his own sins and those of his people. God heard his prayers, gave him incredible insight, and showed His great love for Daniel and his people, as well as to us through Daniel’s amazing book.
Daniel, revealer of secrets
“King Nebuchadnezzar… made him chief… because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel.” (Daniel 5:11-12) Daniel was promoted after he interpreted a dream troubling the king of this worldwide empire. The tense account is found in chapter two. Prophecies in Daniel are a summary of world history written in advance. From the time of the Babylonian Empire, he predicted all the following worldwide kingdoms until the appearance of the antichrist. One prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 predicted the day of Jesus’ Palm Sunday arrival, 483 years in advance! What Daniel saw has had great impact on everyone in the world, even in our day.
Daniel, intercessor for his nation
As Daniel was reading the book of the earlier prophet Jeremiah, he realized that the captivity of Israel was almost over. “I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.” (Daniel 9:2; see Jeremiah 25:11, Exodus 23:11 & 2 Chronicles 36:20-21) Because he was a humble student of the Scriptures, he did not simply wait for it to happen. He followed the pattern God had prescribed when He warned the people of the Exodus generation that this would happen:
“…if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me… then I will remember my covenant…” (Leviticus 26:40-43)
You can read Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:3-13. It was Daniel’s confession that he and his people deserved the punishment God had warned them would come. He knew that if no one did this, the captivity would continue, as God promised.
Daniel, greatly beloved
The prophet Ezekiel lived through the same events as Daniel. As the captivity was beginning, God told Ezekiel: “…if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out my wrath upon it with blood, to cut off from it man and beast, even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, they… would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness. (Ezekiel 14:19-20)
Imagine someone in our day being ranked with the Apostle Paul or the early believers in Fox’s Book of Martyrs! When God wished to make an impact upon Ezekiel as he grieved for his nation, He mentioned three men Ezekiel would recognize as especially faithful. Noah lived about 2,300 years before Daniel. Job may have lived 2,000 to 1,700 years before Daniel. Then there was Daniel, a young man Ezekiel would have known as the current governor of the Babylonian province. God was communicating His great regard for Daniel.
In Daniel 10, Daniel had an encounter with a glorious heavenly being. Daniel was too stunned to move or speak, but the visitor comforted him: “And he said, ‘O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.’” (Daniel 10:19) God wanted Daniel to know just how greatly he was loved, and this gave him the strength to do what God planned for him to do.
But was Daniel loved because of what he did? If you could meet Daniel today, would he tell you to try to be like him? Let’s look at his words again:
Daniel’s insight came from God: “To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you…” (Daniel 2:23) “…there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.” (Daniel 2:28) “…this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living” (Daniel 2:30)
These words actually echo another important figure in the Bible: Joseph. God revealed dreams and visions to Joseph, but Joseph likewise deflected the praise: “Joseph answered Pharaoh, ‘It [the power to reveal secrets, Gen. 41:15] is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.’” (Genesis 41:16)
Daniel’s virtue came from God: Daniel said that he was “ruined” when he met an angel, just a servant of God: “So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength.” (Daniel 10:8) He found himself speechless: “When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and was mute.” (Daniel 10:15)
How about you? Daniel’s story reminds me of a spiritual principle found in 1 Corinthians 4:7: “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” Daniel was a human being just like you and me, with all the weaknesses we experience, yet he trusted God. God’s power made up for all his limitations. God used him to point the way to Jesus in a miraculous way. Daniel was strong and was unshakable in standing for God only because he was convinced of God’s great love for him. That means God’s love can transform my life, and your life in a similar way.
Pray this week:
Father, I want to know Your Word and be awakened by Your Spirit.
Seeing far into the future, Daniel described how hard it would be to live for God while evil reigns. But, he said, “the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” (Daniel 11:32) Will you stand firm and take action because you know the God of Daniel?