Last summer, I watched a Netflix documentary on Daniel. I know. My expectations were high as well. But by the end of the documentary, I had gained a fresh perspective on the dynamic prophet-politician Daniel. I love the book of Daniel. From this book comes several famous Bible stories like the fiery furnace, writing on the wall, and the lion’s den (even the foundations of the popular Daniel fast.) The book of Daniel has a lot to offer.
As a young prophet, Daniel stood out as a youth, bold- yet respectful when it came to requesting a different diet. And humble regarding the results. He was a conduit of repentance for Nebuchadnezzar, and was elevated to the position of “third ruler in the kingdom” (Daniel 5:29) shortly before the death of King Belshazzar. Uncompromising on personal prayer habits, Daniel bravely faced the lion’s den, which in turn caused King Darius to worship God.
In chapter 9, we see Daniel’s heart for God’s people as he pleads with God to turn his anger away from the wayward children of Israel, even though they have turned away from God time and time again.
In his lifetime, Daniel served four kings. Think four presidents, all of different political parties. Four different kings, with different needs and different governmental and spiritual battles, yet they all learned to lean on Daniel. He gave them advice, explained God’s mysteries, and stayed true to his beliefs. He served four kings with grace and skill, yet never compromised in the face of persecution.
I love Daniel 6:28: “So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”
This Daniel. The one who refused to conform, but willingly gave advice and boldly spoke God’s truth into the ears of king after king. This Daniel.
Daniel shows us how to relate to government and to serve our leaders well. A corrupt government, or at the very least a broken government, is nothing new to God’s people. Daniel dealt with it then, and we face similar struggles today.
In light of this election year, let’s examine our attitudes toward our leaders. Do we have a Daniel mindset? Or does cynicism overrun our thoughts? Are our prayers constant before the Lord, lifting up our nations and rulers? Daniel’s example challenges me, so let’s join our prayers together for our next president. Let’s pray with a Daniel heart toward our leaders.