Why Daniel Didn’t Eat That

I recently did a Daniel Fast with a few other people.  If you don’t know what that is you can click the link.  I will explain briefly.  It is based on the prophet Daniel and how he fasted for 21 days eating no pleasant food.  During the fast there are certain foods you cannot eat like meat, dairy and anything processed.  You can, however, eat as many great things like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains as you want.

A big point of this fast, aside from the nutritional benefits, is the spiritual journey. I used this time to get closer to God. There are things in my life that I am trying to get straight and in this time I prayed and focused on them and my relationship with the Lord.  I noticed as I did this, my faith was tested,  I know that anytime you get closer to God, the evil one does not like it.  He comes to tempt you to break away from the Lord. He comes to tell you that what you are doing in meaningless.  He comes and messes with your faith in Christ.  He comes to mess with your family.  But a faith not tested is no faith at all.

During this fast, I read again through the book of Daniel.  I noticed some things I have not before.  I remembered hearing a sermon once on Daniel and the pastor pointed out that Daniel is one of two people written about in the Bible that there is no mention of them committing a sin.  The other is Joseph.  This does not mean they did not commit sins because only One was sinless and that is Jesus Christ.  Daniel just has no documented sin.

Daniel did however have a tested, tried, and true faith in God.  In the beginning of the book, he and his three friends choose to not eat from the king’s table showing that they would only eat the clean food God said he could eat.  For their faith God rewarded them with the gift of knowledge as well as giving Daniel the ability to interpret dreams and visions.

 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. Daniel 1:17

In Daniel 2 we see the gift from God used to help Daniel interpret the King’s dream.

We see the faith of Daniel’s friends being tested in chapter 3 as they refuse to worship the statue of king Nebuchadnezzar.  The penalty for not doing so was one would be placed into the fiery furnace.  The king had the furnace burn seven times hotter for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  But their faith saved them and a fourth person appeared in the furnace with them.  Was it Jesus?

He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Daniel 3:25

Then, of course, there is probably the most popular story of Daniel and that is him in the lions’ den found in chapter 6.  Daniel was favored by King Darius and others in the kingdom didn’t like that.  They tried to find dirt on Daniel to get rid of him.  They could not find any.  So they manufactured some knowing that Daniel faithfully prayed and worshiped God.  They tricked the king to make a decree saying only he can be worshipped.  The penalty was being thrown into the lions’ den.  Daniel, being faithful to God, was caught praying.  He was thrown into the lion’s den and God saw to it that he was unharmed.  As a result, king Darius saw that Daniel’s God was real.

Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth: “May you prosper greatly! “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed ,his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and winders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” Daniel 6:25-27

Something I focused on during this fast was trying to have the faith of Daniel.  I have faith, but enough to be tested after ten days of eating only vegetables?  Is it enough to be put into a furnace?  Is it enough to survive in the den of lions? I made it through and I believe my faith is stronger.  It is growing stronger everyday. I do have days when it is tested and tried to the point of breaking but it does not.

This I so, but not because my strength, but because of His.  The One who was truly without sin.  The One who became sin for me and you.  The One who gave Himself as a blood offering for our sins.  I know Him.  His name is Jesus Christ.

Do you know Him?  He can set you free.  One thing I know in having my faith tested is that we are all sinners.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23

But Jesus Christ came to free us from our sin.

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:18

I pray that in all you do, you meet and follow Jesus.  I pray He works in your heart.  I pray you have a faith like Daniel.  I pray you put your faith in Jesus.

What Good is Wisdom?

Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
from men whose words are perverse,
who have left the straight paths
to walk in dark ways,
who delight in doing wrong
and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
whose paths are crooked
and who are devious in their ways. Proverbs 2:12-15

God was pleased with Solomon and told him he would give him anything he wanted. Solomon decided he wanted wisdom.

“At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 1 Kings 3:5, 3:7-9

He could have asked for anything. God was even surprised that he did not ask for long life or riches. Solomon, with the wisdom he already had, asked for more wisdom. No one ruled as he did. He was one of the smartest men in history and wrote Scriptures such as Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. If you read Ecclesiastes you will find wisdom of a different kind. You will see Solomon at the end of his life looking back on his mistakes. Yes, even with all of his knowledge, Solomon made mistakes. Even with all of his wisdom, Solomon was a sinner.

Over his reign he did rule wisely, but in his own life his sinful nature was his downfall. It is one thing to be wise, but it is another thing to act wisely. It is another thing to act Holy. Solomon loved women. We see in Song Of Solomon how he loved his wife. He went on to love many wives. This went against God. He went on to follow the gods of his wives. This certainly went against God.

Why then, with all this wisdom, probably the most wisdom of anyone ever, did Solomon commit these sins? Why did he go against his own Proverbs and his God? I think it was because no matter how smart you are you still need God. Solomon, like most of us, probably thought he was so smart that he didn’t need help. He might have thought he didn’t need council. I remember hearing in a sermon, I believe by Chuck Swindoll, that there are no records in Scripture of him consulting a prophet. His father David had a couple of prophets advise him including Nathan who came to him after his transgression with Bathsheba that lead him not only into an adulteress act but also to murder. Nathan came to him to warn him of God’s anger and also to tell him that God still loved him but he needed to obey the Lord.

Solomon did not seem to get council or have a prophet come to him after his sin. Is this because he felt he was above being told how to act? Was this because in all of his wisdom he was still human and a sinner?

What good is wisdom if we do not act wisely?

How many of us try to be wiser than we act? (Convicted)

How many of us know what to say but not what to do? (Convicted)

How many of us rely on our own wisdom and deny the wisdom of God? (Convicted)

I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 1:16-17

Solomon, in his end, realized all his wisdom was meaningless without the Giver of wisdom. He realized it means nothing without God.

He concluded:
Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

My friends, seek wisdom but seek it from God, for God and His glory. Be wise and obey.  His grace will be there when wisdom fails.