Daniel - A Role Model for us All

Glenn Addington By Glenn Addington, 17th Mar 2017 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Personal Development>Improving Potential

A character study of this Old Testament figure is a challenge for us all.

The desperate need today.

Someone once said that every generation needs it heroes, who will stand as role models and inspirations. Looking around today, there is a desperate need for such, and the task of finding a modern hero is daunting. Our young people have, for generations, idolized rock musicians or sports figures. Sadly, even sports magazines have spoken out and said that, oftentimes, the lives of sports figures are fraught with drug and alcohol abuse and other illegal activities. It was surely a sad day when someone noted that the legal team for a major league football team had more on the staff than the football team. And another sports team had gained a reputation in its own home town as having more jail time than any other professional team in any of the sports leagues. And drug and alcohol use and abuse among professional musicians is no surprise to anyone.
There is certainly a scarcity of political figures in our day who can be looked on with admiration. Many desire to get into office, but it seems that their campaign promises were only that, and their intent is often their own personal gain and to become career politicians. Never mind the wishes of the folks back home.
Young people need heroes to look up to - people with integrity and credibility, and who will accept responsibility. But where are they to look?

Consider the man Daniel...his history

Daniel, the author and main character of the book which bears his name, was one of the Jewish exiles brought to Babylon when the Jews were carried into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar. He was probably of the Jewish royal family or nobility. and between twelve and fifteen years old at the time of the deportation, or exile, to Babylon. He and other young people were evaluated as to their appearance, intelligence, and demeanor as potentials to eventually serve in the king's palace. They were to be educated in the literature and language of their captors. This education process was quite extensive, being three years in length.

Daniel's first challenge: refuse to compromise

The education in the language and literature of the Chaldean culture extended in the direction of destroying their Hebrew background and heritage. Daniel was given a Babylonian name, Belteshazzar, which in part was a call on the Babylonian god Bel. Also, he and the others chosen for this role were to be fed from the king's table - whatever the royal wine and dine might be. This would certainly have violated the dietary laws which he had grown up with, and be an affront to his Jewish religion. He asked the steward in charge over him and three other Jewish young men to allow him not to defile himself with this food and drink. When the steward spoke of fearing for his life should Daniel and his friends appear in poor condition due to their diet change, Daniel offered a ten day trial. " Allow us to eat only vegetables and drink water for 10 days, and evaluate our appearance after that." After the 10 day trial was done, Daniel and his three friends were better in appearance than the others who regularly ate at the king's table.
After the three year education process was completed, Daniel and his friends were evaluated by the king along with the rest of those in this education program. They were found to be ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in all of his kingdom.

Daniel's second challenge regarding compromise

When Daniel distinguished himself among all the leaders within Darius' kingdom, they decided to set a trap for him. They knew of his habit of praying daily, and decided to encourage the king to pass a law forbidding anyone to pray to any god but the king for a thirty day period. They were certain Daniel would be guilty of this, and would suffer the penalty of being cast into the lion's den. The king didn't realize their intent to see to Daniel's destruction. He passed the law mentioned above.
Daniel, knowing the law had been passed, refused to compromise, and continued to pray as was his custom, knowing that his life would be put in danger.

Daniel demonstrated concern for others

In chapter 2, we read of Nebuchadnezzar having had a troublesome dream. He called in all his magicians, sorcerers, and counselors to tell him both the dream and its interpretation. When they said it was impossible, he said that if they weren't able to do it, they would all be put to death. When Daniel heard this, he encouraged his three Hebrew friends to seek God in prayer for the dream and its interpretation, so that he and his three friends AND all the rest of the king's advisers would not be put to death.

In chapter 4, after Nebuchadnezzar had had another troubling dream, he again called in all his advisers, seeking the interpretation of the dream. When the others failed, the king related the dream to Daniel. When Daniel heard the dream, he was horrified. His concern for the king is evident in his reply. In verse 19, he says,"My lord, if only the dream applied to those who hate you and its interpretation to your adversaries!" He further says, in Dan 4:27, 'Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.'

Daniel was one to express thankfulness

After having been given the interpretation to the dream mentioned in the early part of chapter 2, Daniel personally expresses his thanks to God in verses 20 - 23. I would encourage the reader to read these verses.

Even while being personally honored, he would seek to have others lifted up.

After giving the king the interpretation of the dream in chapter 2, we are "Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon." Verse 49 then tells us that Daniel made request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the administration of the province of Babylon."

He was noted, even by his enemies, for his integrity, consistency and honesty.

We read in Dan 6:4 "Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him." Speaking among themselves, they admitted that they would not be able to find fault with Daniel in any way unless it was in connection with his religion. This was why they set the trap mentioned above, regarding his habit of prayer.

Daniel readily identified himself with his fellow Israelites

As Daniel begins chapter 9, he tells of reading in the books of the predicted 70 years duration of the captivity period for the Jews. Realizing that the people have not repented, but are as wicked as ever, Daniel petitions God, confessing the sin of the people and their leaders. He includes himself in this prayer; we hear him say, "we, us, our, all Israel", even though his personal conduct is exemplary. We hear this repeatedly in verses 4 - 19 as he cries out on behalf of his fellow Israelites.

An example for us all

A character study of Daniel reveals someone who would truly be a good role model for anyone. Unwilling to compromise, concerned for others, willing to lift up others even while being honored, having an attitude of thankfulness, and being ready to be identified with his fellow countrymen, praying for mercy for them as well as himself. Daniel is a worthy example for any and all to follow and imitate.


Daniel, Morality And Ethics, Old Testament, Religion

Meet the author

author avatar Glenn Addington
I am an American, former Viet Nam veteran, and a Christian, living in East Tennessee. I am now retired and am pursuing a writing career. I would welcome writing assignments.

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