This past week in my devotions I read through the Book of Daniel. This short book of 12 chapters is full of prophecy, visions, prayer, and amazing stories! While reading, I was inspired not only by the book itself but also by the man Daniel. As a young man he was captured by the Chaldeans (when they invaded Judah) and was brought to Babylon. Instead of fading into isolation and obscurity, Daniel continued to live for God and make the best of a difficult situation. Those around Daniel noticed his godly character.  He, along with other promising Jewish candidates, were chosen for the “leadership fast track” in the king’s service. The Babylonians could not understand why Daniel was so trustworthy and wise. On different occasions, they explained Daniel in their own way as one “who has the spirit of the holy gods in him” (Daniel 5:9). Of course, they were simply trying to describe the beautiful presence of God’s Holy Spirit in Daniel. As followers of Jesus, we know Daniel’s true success did not come by self-help or pride in his own abilities. Over and over, we read of Daniel’s humility as he deflected honor and praise to the only One worthy…the Lord God Almighty! Even the angelic beings recognized Daniel and called him “highly esteemed” (10:11). Also, while reading this book, you discover a roller coaster of events. Sometimes Daniel is elevated to great heights of leadership and other times he is despised and persecuted (remember the lion’s den!). Through it all, Daniel remains steadfast and faithful. A few verses from chapter six summarize for me Daniel’s amazing character: “Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom…. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt not negligent” (Daniel 6:3-4b). Daniel is described as “exceptional!” May we realize the truth that Daniel stood out because he consistently yielded himself totally to the Lord. Rather than living a life of carnality and compromise (“when in Babylon do as the Babylonians”), Daniel continued to walk with God. I hope you read the Book of Daniel! Yes, the prophesies and stories are outstanding, but let Daniel himself inspire you. Keep living for Jesus…and be exceptional!

Pastor Mark Boucher