An Israelite who was taken as a captive to Babylon about 605 BC and received the name Belteshazzar. God gave him divine wisdom and judgement.  He held important positions and served faithfully even though in captivity, as did three of his countrymen, who survived being thrown into a furnace.  Daniel’s story, his rise to power, together with his interpretation of several significant dreams and their outworking, along with prophecies concerning the last days, are recorded in the book bearing his name.

His prophetic ministry spanned the years 605 to 538 BC. He served under 4 different kings, two each of the Babylonian and Medo-Persia empires.

Lessons from his life: * As a slave he did not ‘apply’ for the positions he attained; rather they were thrust on him as his good attitude and outstanding ability were evident. He was loyal and faithful even in the conqueror’s administration and affairs, truthfully saying, “I have never done any wrong before you” (Dan 2:48, 6:3,22). He was promoted to become the ruler of all Babylon and next to the King over the whole kingdom. He was able to use the invested authority, coupled with the inner godly character, to bring glory to God. As an employee do l to excel in my responsibilities doing them as to the Lord (1 Cor 10:31)? Ensure, if you have leadership qualities and rise to a place of prominence and influence in your community, that God receives the glory.

* He resolved not to defile himself with non-Jewish food. This was an issue he had obviously thought about beforehand, and was able to offer an acceptable alternative to his superiors (Dan 1:8). A solution satisfactory to both parties is possible in most situations – so everybody is a winner and no one is disadvantaged. He was strengthened as he stood with others who held similar beliefs. His life is portrayed as one taking a stand, not being aligned with the values of his ungodly captors. Do I live by my convictions or bow to peer pressure?

* He acknowledged it was God who gave him the ability (Dan 2:28). Contrast this with the response of King Nebuchadnezzar, who proclaimed, “Is this not the great Babylon I have built…by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Dan 4:30). Do not claim any credit for your successes because God is our enabler and He has said He will not share His glory with anyone else (Isa 42:8).

* He lived a prayerful, God-honouring life.  He didn’t compromise his convictions even when he knew it could cost him his life (Dan 6:10). He wasn’t intimidated by the new rule outlawing worship of his God. Do I obey God rather than man? (Act 4:19, 5:29). Is my prayer life a vital non-negotiable part of my daily routine? He trusted God’s sovereignty even when he couldn’t predict the outcome of his actions. Is there enough evidence of my devotion to God to convict me?

See also: Babylon, compromise, convictions, Daniel (Dan), dreams, non-negotiable, sovereignty of God.