I find myself inundated with voices these days. The newsfeed is 24/7, full of stories of pandemic, civil and racial unrest, political bickering and threats, and the plight of refugees. Even if I turn the radio and television off, there are the responsibilities of a busy job, family needs, and the ever-lengthening to-do list calling for attention. There is such a need today to hear the still, soft voice of God, despite and above the clamour.
The prophet Daniel also lived in challenging, anxious times. Taken into exile in Babylon as a young man, he faced re-training, political instability, and serving in a number of administrations for successive kings in a highly responsible position. But above all, he endured religious persecution. This led to death threats and highly dangerous run-ins with the authorities. Over his long life, he was called in by kings to interpret dreams, which could be fatal if the interpretations weren't favourable! He even had amazing visions and dreams of future times and promises given to him by God.
What kept Daniel going, in the midst of turmoil, was his time spent daily with God.
Daniel 6:10b – [Daniel] went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to God. (NLT)
He prayed for interpretations of visions and for the restoration of Jerusalem, but I'm sure that he also prayed for guidance in his daily duties as the administrator of a multi-racial state with a powerful economy. God honoured Daniel in ways that few people ever experience. The angel Gabriel was sent to give him insight; he was able to see God Himself, the Ancient of Days; and he saw the pre-incarnate Jesus:
Daniel 7:13-14 – As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey Him. His rule is eternal — it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed. (NLT)
We may never in our lifetimes be given such awesome experiences. However, we can share in the peace and strength that God gave Daniel, through time spent in prayer, praise, and reading our Bibles. Our fellowship with God will give us the strength, clarity, and focus that we need to live our lives well, to be a blessing to others, and to have God's will for our lives fulfilled. Sing with me:
- Standing by a purpose true,
Heeding God's command,
Honour them, the faithful few!
All hail to Daniel's band!
Dare to be a Daniel!
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known!
– Philip Bliss, 1838-1876
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for Daniel's life and legacy. May we likewise spend precious times with You, giving You thanks. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Standing By A Purpose True" (Lyrics)