Sunday service, Arno Stegen, 11 Mar 2018
Here we read of the impact of Daniel’s life on king Belshazzar. We know of the impact he had on king Nebuchadnezzar’s life.
Daniel was in a far-away country, in Babylon, a heathen place. He was in a place he would not have wished to be. It was an extremely difficult position. But it’s amazing how this young man in this very difficult situation stayed faithful to the Lord throughout his life. And that is his challenge to us. He started following the Lord in his youth, when he was young.
Many choose to go into the world without being forced to go there. And it takes no time and they are swept away by the world. It’s most probably because the world was in them from the beginning.
But these young men, Daniel and his friends, stood and lived a life without compromise. Even though when they were still young the king tried to integrate them in a program to change their worldview and values. And when one looks at today’s schools it is clear that they try to influence the children to think in a certain way through the literature and prescribed books. The people that don’t know God want you to think and speak in a new way, the way they think and speak. So the program that Nebuchadnezzar had is ongoing. But Daniel and his friends purposed in their hearts not to defile themselves.
When you’re in a foreign environment, what is your attitude and purpose in your heart? Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself. At work, school or university, what do you purpose in your heart. That to a large extent will determine the way you turn out.
Daniel thrived on an intimate relationship with God. That kept him going. Even when everyone went against him, he remained faithful. He could not be corrupted. When they tried to find fault with him, they could find nothing. Because of the Spirit of God that was in him. We can only ask God to give us more of that Spirit.
When in a totally hopeless situation, where he knew that even praying would get him killed, he didn’t go sit in a corner and felt sorry for himself, thinking of how he was faithful to God but everything turned out against him. No, he went to his room, and as his custom was, prayed three times that day giving thanks to God!
Belshazzar took God’s dedicated vessels to use for himself. That which has been set apart for God’s purpose must be used for God’s purpose. God’s word teaches us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Is your life being used for the purpose it was created?
At a time when Babylon was surrounded by enemies on all sides, instead of calling for a fast he called for feasting. He learnt nothing from his father king Nebuchadnezzar, but went his own way. But as soon as God’s hand appeared writing on the wall, his whole countenance changed, and his knees knocked against each other.
When king Belshazzar promised honour and riches to anyone who could interpret the writing, all those who were attracted by such things gathered but they could not help the king. Daniel didn’t go. Such things didn’t attract him. But when the mother queen, who weren’t at the party, heard about the matter, she went to the king and told him about Daniel, who was filled with God’s Spirit and helped his father, king Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel was known as someone filled with God’s Spirit and who could solve problems. For what are you known?
May God give us more of His Spirit, that made such a man of God out of Daniel. A man who knew what God expected of him and stuck to it whether he was exalted in the kingdom or pushed aside. As a young man he stood for God and as an old 90-year old he could still speak what God was speaking.