The Bible speaks: Dan the man

“…the man Gabriel…talked with me and said, O Daniel…at the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed…” Daniel 9:21-23

Any study of history will find that there have been great men throughout who have been highly esteemed by other men. Whether they committed great deeds or were exceptional leaders — scientists or inventors, businessmen or politicians, such men and women were viewed by their peers as extraordinary individuals.

It’s natural for men to honor each other, but it’s not natural for God to speak of any human being as highly esteemed. To receive such words of distinction from the Most High God would mean much more than all the accolades of men. Only sparingly are such words given from God, but they were indeed given to one of His great servants. His name was Daniel and a quick review of his life will prove why he was worthy of the Lord’s high praise.

When Daniel was a young man, he was taken to be a servant of a foreign king where he distinguished himself as one who would obey God at any cost. Three different times he interpreted the king’s dream and was courageous enough, on two occasions, to give the king very bad news. When another king foolishly issued a decree that no one could pray to any god but himself, Daniel kept up his daily prayer routine before the Lord God, knowing full well the consequences if he was caught. For his obedience to the Almighty, he was thrown in the lion’s den yet miraculously protected by an angel sent from his Father in heaven. Daniel’s visions then continued as the Lord showed him marvelous things of the future, the greatest of which the Lord showed him after he had been much in prayer.

Our text reveals the quickness of the heavenly response when Daniel got to praying. The hand of God moved immediately whenever Daniel went to his knees. His life was one of complete submission to God and the Lord took special note of it. What most people don’t realize is that Daniel’s trial in the lion’s den and his most far reaching visions (chapters 9-11) came when he was over 80 years old! From his youth until his last years, he was an exceptional servant of God.

The Bible speaks of great men and tells us how they are viewed in heaven. Abraham was the friend of God; David, a man after God’s own heart; Moses was the humblest man in all the earth and Job the most righteous, but when God chose to speak of Daniel, he said he was “highly esteemed.” He was a man of the Scriptures, a man of deep prayer and a man of courageous obedience to God. Such qualities bring the praise of heaven to earth. Oh, that God would find more and more men to bestow them upon.

The Rev. Bruce MacInnes is pastor at Turner’s Chapel.