When Jehoiakim reigned as King of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. After the victory King Nebuchadnezzar asked one of his officials to find all of the young men who were handsome, excelled in learning, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. Among these elite young men was a teenager named Daniel. These young men were taken from their families in Judah and forced to serve the King in Babylon. At that time Babylon resembled the culture today. People thought for themselves and strayed from the Lord. Daniel’s ability to live in Babylon, remaining faithful to Christ, makes him my hero.
I admire Daniel because he possessed humble wisdom, boldness, and faithfulness. During Nebuchadnezzar’s reign he dreamed and became troubled. After his astrologers failed to interpret his dream, he called upon Daniel to interpret it. Before interpreting the dream, Daniel gave thanks to the Lord and praised Him for His wonderful works and wisdom. Thus Daniel interpreted the king’s dream and gave all the glory to the Lord, humbling himself. Daniel’s boldness showed in his attempt to witness to the king when he pleaded, “Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed” (Daniel 4:27, NIV). Even though King Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful man in the kingdom, could have punished Daniel because of his insubordination, Daniel chose to witness. King Darius the Mede took over kingship of the lands of Babylon, and his advisors were jealous of Daniel’s influence with the king, so they convinced the king to institute a decree that anyone who did not worship the King be thrown in the lion’s den. Daniel, as was his faithful practice, opened his windows towards Jerusalem and prayed three times a day to the Lord. After the king’s advisors arrested Daniel and threw him into the lion’s den, the king woke up, ran out to the lion’s den, and shouted down to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” (Daniel 6:20b). God shut the mouths of the lions and protected Daniel from the lion’s. Remaining faithful to the Lord, Daniel prayed even though he knew that he would be thrown in the lion’s den.
My parents tell me to “Be a Daniel” which means to exemplify Daniel’s humbleness, boldness, and faithfulness. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” This verse accurately represents Daniel’s life; he renewed his mind daily with prayer which enabled him to not conform. My ability to be like Daniel begins with my relationship with Christ. Intimacy with Christ allows me to live in this world but not be changed by this world.
- Marcus (9th grade, Hawaii student)