Daniel, A Model for the Church

Over the last week as I have been studying Daniel, God has highlighted a few things I haven’t noticed before. I’m impressed by Daniel’s incredible boldness in the face of great intimidation to faithfully declare the word of the Lord. He was a young man in the most threatening of circumstances and proved to be a faithful witness. I believe His situation mirrors the circumstances the church is facing right now. The question is: will the Church be a faithful witness, like Daniel, in the face of great intimidation and the threat of suffering?

Think about it. Daniel was about sixteen when he was taken into captivity in Babylon. Put yourself into his shoes for a moment. Imagine how painful and disruptive it would be to have your hometown stormed by an invading army and then to be forcefully relocated as a prisoner of war to a distant, foreign land.

You arrive in Babylon to find that nothing is familiar. The customs, the language, the food, the surroundings are all completely alien. After experiencing favor with your guards(Daniel 1:8-17) and increased revelation from the Lord, you begin to feel confident in God’s nearness and have hope for prosperity.

It’s now a year or two later, you’re 20 or 21, and you hear that the king is going to put you and all the wise men in the land to death. How would you respond? Just when you thought God was beginning to prosper you everything begins to unravel. Daniel showed amazing maturity. He inquires as to why the king is going to kill all the wise men and then he gets together with his friends to seek the Lord. Instead of panicking he prays and God meets him with power!

The Lord unpacks Nebuchadnezzar’s dream giving him the full interpretation. Daniel then boldly asks for an audience with the king to declare the word of the Lord. This would be like living in Poland during World War II, being taken captive back to Germany, and then asking for an audience with Adolph Hitler to declare the word of the Lord to him. This is exactly what Daniel did!

We tend to focus on the details of the dream, and rightly so, it’s full of end-time revelation. But the point that is touching me is Daniel’s boldness to declare to the word of the Lord to Nebuchadnezzar. As I think through the dynamics of Daniel’s situation – living as a captive in Babylon and serving the king who had destroyed Jerusalem, it’s evident that it took a true gift of boldness for Daniel to proclaim God’s word to the king. If Daniel got it wrong he would be put to death. Then again, if he didn’t speak he would still be put to death.

This is a picture of where the church is right now. We are at a crossroads. The world is intimidating us on every side, even threatening suffering and death. However the Church must speak the word of God with faithfulness and boldness if we are going to survive. If we speak the word of the Lord the world may ‘crucify’ us…but if we don’t speak we are lost. In the same way that Esther was faced with a moment of decision to speak or not, so too Daniel was challenged with whether or not to speak the word of the Lord. This is our challenge today. Will we declare the word of the Lord or shrink back to certain destruction?

I’m praying to be filled with boldness as Daniel was, that I wouldn’t shrink back from declaring God’s  word in the midst of a culture that is threatening and intimidating. Oh, to be a messenger as Daniel was, seeking the Lord and faithfully proclaiming His word. I’m praying this for you as well, that God would raise up an entire company of Daniel’s who will stand with boldness against the increasing tide of wickedness in the earth.

Gus Ruballo