MP3: The Mighty Angels of Daniel 1
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
Personal Spiritual Disciplines
Nathan Jones: How amazing to witness a 16-year old Daniel challenging the mighty King Nebuchadnezzar! Daniel 1 tells the story of how the king attempted to transform Daniel and the other Jewish exiles into Babylonians by demanding they abandon the Mosaic Law and eat foods unlawful to the Jewish people. Daniel put the eunuch in charge to the challenge of providing Daniel and his fellow exiles with vegetables only. The eunuch agreed, and the men only ate vegetables, foregoing the unlawful meats that were most likely sacrificed to idols. Should Daniel appear less healthy than the men eating the forbidden meats, he very likely was facing being put to death.
Nebuchadnezzar was trying to force the captured Jews to become like the pagan world, but Daniel and his friends had reached the point where they stood firm and declared, “Sorry, but I cannot budge on this point.”
Daniel’s conviction to keep God’s law has become a fantastic example to all believers in Christ, demonstrating that at some point we all will eventually need to take a stand for God. Daniel reminds us that we cannot become worldly and still bear the image of Christ.
Vic Batista: Just like the difficult decision these ancient Jews had to make, Christian must also take a stand in choosing to live holy lives so that we can become God’s chosen vessels of service. God desires to utilize us for His grand purposes. Sometime we look at the Apostle John or Daniel and wonder just how these guys could stand firm in the face of impending death. The answer can be found in their lifestyles as they practiced personal spiritual disciplines. It’s those disciplines that really set them apart and helped govern their decisions and actions.
Nathan Jones: The Jews had the rituals and practices of the Mosaic Law to live by, and we Christians also have certain spiritual disciples that can guide us. When I was at Southern Seminary, I had a professor named Don Whitley who taught a course entirely dedicated to living by personal spiritual disciples. He even wrote a book on the subject. He taught us the spiritual disciples of how to pray, how to meditate on God’s Word, how to have accountability, fasting, serving, and so forth. When we integrate spiritual disciplines into our lives, practicing them so that they become second nature, they’ll guide us reflexively into making the right choices.Integrate spiritual disciplines, they'll guide into making the right choices. #BookofDaniel Click To Tweet
Daniel, even at such a young age, could be more easily accountable to God because he had friends to help keep him accountable. In making sure he didn’t break the Mosaic Law, Daniel also showed that he knew the Word of God very well. As we read through Daniel, we’ll witness how dedicated he was to his prayer life. Daniel practiced the spiritual disciplines.
Daniel is a fascinating man! He is one of the three people in the Bible, along with Job and Moses, labeled as one of the great men of the faith. God has preserved the record of Daniel’s stand for righteousness as an example for Christians and Jews to live by today. Daniel was a teen hero!
Vic Batista: That’s right! A teenager just taught us that our lifestyle and prayer life really do matter.
Chapter 1 is also vitally important to the rest of the book in its highlighting of Daniel’s personal challenge so people can understand why God used him. Being a man of profound faith, Daniel was empowered by the Holy Spirit so that he later was able to reveal the meaning behind so many God-given visions and dreams, some which still have yet to find total fulfillment.
Nathan Jones: Excellent point! Daniel’s life example teaches us that if we are not deep in our prayer life with Jesus Christ then the miracles that we want to happen in our life, and the deeper relationship with God we’d like to grow, and the good relationships with other people we’d like to foster, and our ability to effectively witness and evangelize, and to develop an even stronger prayer life — none of that can happen. We first have to put our faith in Jesus Christ and continually work towards building that better relationship through faith and prayer. That is how Daniel lived. And the Lord rewarded him with tremendous insight and revelation concerning the future.
We likely won’t receive the gift of prophecy and interpreting dreams like Daniel did, but we will receive other spiritual gifts. And, we’ll never receive those spiritual gifts unless we are continually working on building a dedicated relationship with Jesus Christ. Prayer is so vitally important to all Christians as our lifeline to the Father.
Vic Batista: One of the personal spiritual disciplines we practice as a congregation at my church is fasting. Fasting is a very important discipline for our people. I encourage our church on Monday to Thursday to fast and spend some time daily with the Lord in prayer. We believe that God can do some wonderful things in and through us when we set some time apart to fast and pray.
Nathan Jones: Fasting is probably the least used spiritual discipline in Christianity. If you are a Baptist like I’ve been for many years, you know we love to eat! Christians in general seem to really like to eat. The seminary course on personal spiritual disciplines required that we fast for a number of days. It was one of the hardest thing to do! I kept yearning strangely enough for cinnamon raisin bread with apple butter. I just had that taste in my mouth and I yearned for a bite. So, fasting is very difficult for me. Kudos to all of you at Calvary Chapel Aventura for keeping days of fasting.
Vic Batista: That has been our practice for over 15 years now. We believe that fasting should be an integral part of our lives, as the Lord leads, of course. Matthew 6 says we are not fasting for man, but we are doing it for the Lord. And, we believe, like Daniel did, that God will work wonders when we take the time to fast and pray.
In the third segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel, we’ll continue to look at the deadly test Daniel was taking, one that if he failed would have resulted in his grisly demise.