The Book of Daniel – A Guide For Christian Professionals in the Workplace
Daniel managed to live within Babylon but remain pure. He resolved in his heart not to defile himself with the food provided by King Nebuchadnezzar.
He read in Holy Scripture (the Book of Jeremiah) that Jewish captivity would last 70 years, so he repented on their behalf before praying to God to show him a vision.
Early Life and Education
Daniel lived in an alien culture where peer pressure could lead to sinful practices; yet, Daniel never wavered in his devotion to God despite these temptations; instead, he held fast to his beliefs despite all pressure. Daniel wasn’t rude or forceful about defending them either – just firm in standing firm on what he believed in despite all obstacles thrown his way.
His hard work paid off. According to the Bible, he excelled in all branches of literature and wisdom – no surprise since Jewish law allowed for studying foreign cultures and languages.
Three young men accompanying him were also dedicated to their studies, even while taken captive to Babylon. When given names with names of Babylonian gods in an attempt to make them forget their Jewish roots, they steadfastly refused – and this dedication led to excellence in learning.
As Daniel prayed for understanding, he also beseeched God to show mercy on Israel by showing some kindness toward Jerusalem and its temple.
The king gave Daniel, Hananiah, Shadrach, Meshach and Azariah each day a portion of royal food and wine; but Daniel knew in his heart he did not wish to defile himself with this privilege; therefore, he sought permission from the chief official not to violate himself this way.
God sent Daniel a messenger from Him in order to give him insight, but for three weeks was prevented from doing so due to resistance from a demon. Eventually however, an angel managed to overcome this resistance and deliver Daniel the message about Israel’s future and its fate.
Daniel (the other biblical apocalypse) contains many relevant messages for Christians in the workplace. Though many modern Christian professionals struggle with how best to apply their faith at work, Daniel provides a model of successful professionalism which is both respectful and biblically inspired. Daniel and his friends stood out from Babylonian society by immersing their faith into every aspect of government they performed, leading with tact and example rather than retreating into an isolated Jewish enclave or delegating it solely to personal worship. Instead, their approach embodied servant leadership – it worked, honored God, and was ultimately rewarding – which can serve as an inspiration for us today. Daniel serves as a model.
Achievement and Honors
The Book of Daniel shows that God cares deeply for the lives of people living in challenging environments. Daniel’s success under the Babylonian system alongside Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego shows God is faithful in rewarding integrity.
Daniel excelled as an administrator despite living among idolatry; so much so, that King Darius planned to make him head of all of Judah. However, to prevent this plan from coming to fruition, other administrators conspired against Daniel by working against his reputation.
They fabricated charges against Daniel of religious infidelity. This was particularly sensitive, since King Darius required all his subjects to bow before an image or face death; Daniel refused and instead continued praying openly to God and praying openly was met with protection by Him – saving Daniel from a fiery den of lions (Dan. 6:16).
Daniel donated both time and money to Demelza Children’s Hospice as well as supporting the Trevor Project which works to prevent suicide among youths.
Daniel displayed outstanding integrity when interpreting King Belshazzar’s visions by being respectful but assertive when explaining them to him. Daniel demonstrated this trait of humility through speaking openly of how his knowledge or skills contributed to translating these visions for him. This is an integral characteristic of people with character and integrity.
Jim Hamilton’s “With the Clouds of Heaven,” for example, offers excellent sermons on Daniel. Also helpful is Dale Ralph Davis’ “Daniel and the Seventy Weeks,” both of which contain categories to help organize your messages as you preach through this book.