What did you do the last time you were faced with a difficult situation? Did you avoid it? Did you complain, worry or panic? Did you talk to a friend or loved one about it? Did you try to figure it out on your own? Most of us have a bad habit of handling tough circumstances in any number of these ways, and many more like them. Daniel, someone just like you and me, faced incredible peer pressure, temptation, threat, persecution, slander, and more and showed us how we should respond to threat, hardship, pain, and even threat of death.
Sometimes God will call us to prepare, act, move, or change in certain ways, and sometimes He needs us to be still. We must decide in our hearts every day to have faith that He knows our circumstances, whatever is ahead of us, and that He is bigger; that He can and will handle all of it. We need to be faithful and obedient to Him, trusting the promises He makes to provide, protect, and work all things together for our good - even when it doesn't feel good. Don't ever assume you know what to do on your own, what's ahead, or how someone will react - commit yourself to God's instructions.
But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, Daniel 1:8-9 ESV
Seeking God out with a desire to hear Him, to discover His truth, to learn, grow, and be nearer to Him is essential for surviving in this sinful, broken world. We need to be determined every day that we will bring everything in our life to God. Be disciplined enough in your faith and relationship with your Heavenly Father that whenever something happens, a decision needs to be made, a question needs to be asked, an emotion needs to be expressed, that He is the first one we run to and pour it all out to. Every ounce of our life needs to be brought to God through prayer every day. The more we pray, the closer we get to Him, the stronger our relationship gets, the deeper our faith grows, the better we become as followers of Christ, and the more people we have an opportunity to pour God's grace and love all over and bring closer to Him as well. Seek God out in all things, all times, no matter who may or may not be watching, and have no fear of the world around you.
When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Daniel 6:10 ESV
Lifting up our worries to God is vital in demonstrating our faith in Him, and so is humbly seeking His forgiveness when we hold onto our worries and try to tackle our circumstances on our own. As human beings we will certainly make mistakes, mess up, and commit sin and we need to give all of that to God as well and repent so we can come back into a right standing with our Heavenly Father. Daniel knew there was a need for this not only for himself, but for his people. He knew that there was power in lifting others up to God and praying for forgiveness over them. We should remember what Jesus said as He was hanging, dying, nailed to the cross; “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34), and pray this for the world around us, and for ourselves. Ask God to forgive you and others surrounding you, open your eyes to your mistakes, show you His will, teach you what is right, and give you the strength and perseverance for what is ahead. Even when you don’t know what you’ve done, we have much to repent for every day.
'Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. ' Daniel 9:3-5 ESV
Praise is an often forgotten, often discounted way to worship God. It's so easy to take credit for ourselves or immediately give someone a pat on the back, when really God is the one who deserves our praises before and above anyone else. We live in a culture that teaches us we've earned what we have and are entitled to what we want, but we only have what we have because God made it so. The only doors that open are ones God has put there and given you the tools to open it with. We have the choice, but He's paved and provided the way and deserves to be heartily thanked constantly for every bit of it. Don't forget to lift your eyes and your thanks to Him first.
Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. 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, for you have made known to us the king's matter." Daniel 2:19-23 ESV
Don't take for granted and miss all the blessings he is providing for you every day. Acknowledge that God's way is always the right way and that all you have is because He made it so. Give credit where credit is due and give God all the glory.
My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm." Daniel 6:22 ESV
Faith won't result in a personal victory every time, but either way we can learn and grow stronger as we persevere and give it all to God. Our faithfulness may get us into trouble sometimes, but our faith will always get us out of it because the Lord's salvation is so complete He is with us in the fire, closing the mouths of lions, and providing all we need in everything we face. He is faithful to us and asks for faithfulness in return. Decide in your heart to remain firm, pray to Him all day every day, praise Him for everything you have and need, and acknowledge that He is the one in control, blessing and providing, teaching and disciplining, guiding and listening. He is for you and wants you to live for Him.
' While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the Lord my God for the holy hill of my God, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, “O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word and understand the vision. ' Daniel 9:20-23 ESV