Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
Dear brothers and sisters,
This time is the sixth session of goodness. I will deliver the message about Daniel and his three friends.
Daniel and his three friends were born of royal and noble families in the tribe of Judah.
When the king of Babylon Nebuchadnezzar invaded the kingdom of Judea in 605 B.C., Daniel and his three friends were taken captives to Babylon.
Although they were captives and had no social status in a Gentile kingdom they were of high standing among them and they exalted and glorified God.
Daniel in particular was continually favored by the kings although kings and kingdoms were changed, and he enjoyed the second authority next to the king.
That was because Daniel and his three friends had good hearts acceptable to God and pleased Him by showing their goodness with deeds.
It was as God promised in Deuteronomy 28:1, “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.”
What was their goodness like that God accepted and was pleased with? I hope in the name of the Lord that you may take after their goodness through this message and enjoy all blessing God prepared.
Dear brothers and sisters,
The first goodness that Daniel and his three friends showed is that they thoroughly hated what God hates.
What does it mean? The king of Babylon tried to soothe them when they were first taken as captives.
The king brought in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility, namely some young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He taught them the language and literature of the Babylonians for three years and assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table.
Daniel and his three friends were selected among them. At that time it was a great joy and honor to be chosen as one of those men.
Daniel had one thing to worry about. He was afraid that on the table held by the king there would be some food that had been offered to idols or meat that had been regarded detestable to God.
In Old Testament times when the Holy Spirit had not come, the deeds of observing the law were very important. So, when they ate food that had been offered to idols or detestable meats, it was deemed a sin before God.
Daniel asked the chief of court officials to permit him and his friends to eat vegetables instead of the food assigned by the king.
He proposed that the chief of court officials would let them eat vegetables and then compare them with other young men who would eat the food assigned from the king.
After he agreed to this and tested them for ten days, they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. From then on they did not have to eat the royal food and wine.
God the Father gave them blessing because they feared God and kept themselves according to His commands.
So, it is said in Daniel 1:17, “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.”
As a result, Daniel and his three friends were chosen to serve the king.
In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
Dear brothers and sisters,
If you were in Daniel’s shoes, namely, if you had been taken as a captive but were treated well, could you refuse to be served with the royal food from the king’s table? It was not permitted or acceptable.
Captives could not choose what they wanted, and it was difficult for them to reject the food assigned by the king because it was not to their likings.
Daniel and his three friends knew the food was not acceptable to God and did not compromise attributing it to inevitable situations.
They fully detested what God deems detestable because they feared Him from the center of their hearts.
I cannot explain in detail, but you remember that God has hindered His people from eating the food offered to idols and meat of detestable animals according to His good law.
We must not take food sacrificed to idols. And because the animals that are detestable to God have evil characteristics, they will give bad effects to those who eat them.
When God forbids His children to do anything, it is because of His good will and love for them.
When you fully live in the good will of God, you can be deemed good in God’s sight.
Among believers in God, some do what God tells them not to do even though they have obviously known it. That’s because they think it better to do it and follow their fleshly thoughts.
How much does God detest idols? The first and second commandments strictly warn us and many verses of the Bible teach us how meaningless idol-worshiping is.
God does not strictly warn us of idol-worshiping because He wants to be glorified alone. In fact, the only one who deserves to be glorified, honored and praised is God.
However, some people worship idols without knowing this fact. They will not receive blessing but finally lead to eternal death. That’s why God strictly prohibits us from worshiping idols.
This is the true love of Father God who cannot let His beloved children go the way of death.
Today some people assert their own human righteousness so that they disobey God’s good will. And they lead countless people to death deceiving them with tempting words of world peace and peace among religions.
I hope you look back at your past life whether you have disobeyed God’s goodness with your own human goodness and fleshly thoughts.
Although God tells us not to do something and to cast away something, some judge God’s words in their own standard of goodness and complain that doing it is unkind or not necessary.
For example, some rationalize their thoughts with their own fleshly thoughts about the command of forbidding drinking and smoking. Beginners may do that, but long-termed believers must no do that.
They say it is acceptable to drink a little because the Bible tells us not to be drunk, or excuse that it is necessary for them to have good fellowship in their societies.
If they are a little good-hearted, they will think they should not defile their body with drinking or smoking because the Holy Spirit dwells within them, and abstain from drinking and smoking.
The deeds of each one are different according to the measure of goodness of each one’s inner heart. Some thoroughly keep the will of God, while some others neglect or think little of it.
This is the same case to the order between men and women in a church.
It warns that a man and a woman should not stay in a room alone where they cannot be seen or should not shake hands with each other except for special cases.
Everyone has fleshly characteristics until he fully accomplishes the spiritual heart and because they may sin in those situations, God strictly warns us of them.
Have you fully realized and obeyed the good will of God in those aspects?
In addition, God has emphasized that treasurers of each group or mission should not use the money offered to God for their own purpose no matter how urgent their situations are.
Although they use it secretly without letting others know it and compensate it later, or no matter how little they use it, they are deemed to have the desire to steal because they have touched God’s belongings.
If anyone of you robs God, it will give an important effect on your salvation, so God strictly warns us of it.
I hope all of you look back at your life about with how good heart you have obeyed what God strictly warns.
Although people seem to be the same in obeying the word, the inner heart of each one is different.
For example, some realize the good will of God hidden in the word and willingly and joyfully obey it.
Some others know the good will of God but obey it from the sense of duty because they are afraid.
Still others feel it is too burdensome because they do not know the good will of God and try to obey it reluctantly and forcefully.
If some disobey the word of God with their own fleshly thoughts, it is a proof that they stay far away from goodness.
I ask in the name of the Lord you to realize and resemble the goodness of the inner hearts of Daniel and his three friends who abandoned good treatment and chose to eat vegetables even as captives.
I wish you believe that when you long for goodness from the heart and try to live in the truth, God will give you wisdom of goodness from heaven and and bless you in .
Dear brothers and sisters,
The second goodness of Daniel and his three friends is that they did not compromise even before the threat on their lives to keep their faith.
They did their best to keep themselves from food sacrificed to idols and meat of detestable animals with such a firm heart in faith when they were children. No matter how much time had passed and no matter how high position they gained, their heart was steadfast.
Their situation was full of the Gentile culture, which was worldly, earthly and carnal, apart from God. And idol-worshiping filed the earth.
Nonetheless, Daniel and his three friends sought for and obeyed the will of God with upright and unchanging hearts, so they were deemed really pure in God’s sight.
But, as 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” they experienced challenges to their faith.
The three friends were commanded to fall down and bow before an image of gold. If they did not fall down before it, they would be thrown into a burning furnace.
They did not surrender before the life-threatening command but chose death.
The king got so furious at their firm attitude and made his men heat up the furnace seven times hotter than usual. They were bound and thrown into the burning furnace.
But a divine being looking like a ‘son of the gods’ was with them in that furnace, so that none of them were harmed and not a hair on their heads was singed.
At this sight, the king was so amazed that he recognized God is the true God and elevated the positions of the three men.
Daniel was appointed as one of three commissioners over the entire kingdom at the times of King Darius of Persia. At that time he was challenged in his faith.
Among the three commissioners, the King appointed Daniel as the chief because he was faithful and possessed an extraordinary spirit.
A group of wicked subordinate rulers envied him because of his favor and trust from the king, so they asked the king to establish a statute to ensnare Daniel in a trap.
The statute said that anyone who prayed to any god or man except to the king during the next thirty days would be thrown into the lions’ den.
That statute was plotted for the wicked officals to accuse Daniel, who had had windows open toward Jerusalem and knelt and prayed three times a day. They asked the king to sign the document of the statute, that is, to make an injunction for the king not to reverse it.
What did Daniel do after the injunction was established? It says in Daniel 6:10, “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”
As a result, Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den according to the injunction. However, God sent His angels and had them shut the mouths of lions, so that Daniel was not harmed at all.
When King Darius saw this miracle, he exalted Daniel’s God greatly and had his men thrown the wicked officials into the lions’ den.
Dear brothers and sisters,
What of if you were challenged in your faith like Daniel and his three friends? Could you not compromise and keep your trust and faith in God though you would have to lay down your life? Many of you would answer “Amen.”
If you have a crafty mind and choose this or that for your own benefits according to each situation in ordinary times, you could not keep your faith and trust in God in the face of life-threatening situations.
That is because it says in Luke 16:10, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
Daniel and his three friends knew that it was by the grace of God that they could be promoted into much higher positions in a Gentile kingdom.
Because they gained power and fame by the grace of God, their good hearts could not abandon the will of God to evade some losses.
Good-hearted people never abandon the grace of God to survive.
It was not only when they were taken as captives and had a hard and tough time that Daniel and his three friends lived by the word or sought for God.
They also sought God when they were promoted and gained the second highest position to the king, They steadfastly lived according to the will of God.
How truthful and steadfast their hearts were that had been obviously testified through life-threatening trials.
When the three friends firmly kept their faith before the furnace that was seven times hotter than usual, how impressed the heart of God was!
And when Daniel opened windows toward Jerusalem and knelt down to pray as usual even though he knew the king had signed the document of injunction, how joyfully God received the aroma of his prayer!
God must have been happy and joyous with His cultivation of human beings. I have known this fact very well and never disobeyed God’s will since I met Him.
When God commanded something of me that seemed impossible by human thoughts, I believed God’s good will hidden in it.
And I believed that God is our loving Father who gives strength and power to those who fully trust and rely on Him.
That’s why I did not use any worldly methods but only relied on God when my life was on the edge of death.
Sometimes I knew trials like fire would come, but I obeyed and courageously preached the truth.
I did not hesitate to go into countries where various dangers would wait for me as if I were thrown into lions’ den.
Just as Daniel knew the king had signed the document of injunction yet he steadfastly knelt to pray, I courageously proclaimed about God the Creator and Jesus Christ although I knew the preaching of the gospel was legally prohibited.
When I conducted a crusade in the predominantly Hindu country of India, the state government issued the ordinance banning forcible conversion and enacted it from the first day of the crusade.
If I would preach the truth of Christianity during the crusade, many Indians were expected to believe in God and convert to Christianity. And I would be arrested.
Many Indian policemen gathered at the site of the crusade. I did not shrink before those threats at all but conducted the crusade for four days, where God manifested wondrous power.
Now what has become of the state?
The prime minister and her party that had interfered in our crusade in India and enacted the ordinance of banning forcible conversion were defeated at the last year’s election. And the ordinance has been abolished.
I gained new life before death by the power of God and have lived strengthened by God to this day. That’s why I cannot imagine disobeying the will of God to avoid loss or harm.
You, many brothers and sisters as well as I have received grace and love from God the Father and been under God’s protection.
Have you sacrificed yourself willingly when you should have done so to accomplish the will of God?
How much have you offered your heart, money and time to God?
Have you offered them from the sense of duty? Have you felt sorry for not giving much more? Have you offered them with thanks coming from depths of your heart?
I hope you look back at your life about how much you have sacrificed in accomplishing the kingdom of God when it was not unlikely that Daniel and his three friends would have to give up their lives.
Dear brothers and sisters,
I have explained about two kinds of goodness of Daniel and his three friends.
The first goodness is that they thoroughly hated what God hates.
When God forbids something, those who believe there is the good will of God in it and obey it, they will be regarded good in His sight.
The second goodness is that they did not compromise before any life-threatening trials to keep their faith.
Although we have gained eternal life by the grace of God, if we disobey to obtain our own benefits, or avoid some loss and endangerment of life, it will never be good.
Just as good-hearted people reveal their goodness from stored goodness, those who enjoy sacrificing themselves in small things for the kingdom of God can willingly sacrifice themselves in big things.
Daniel and his three friends showed perfect goodness to the point of giving their lives because they had pure faith in God and had stored much knowledge of goodness in heart.
Next session we will look into what kind of goodness Daniel and his three friends showed to the point of sacrificing their lives.
I hope all of you accumulate goodness in your heart each time you are told about this in each session, and reach the highest goodness.
Thereby, may you be fully favored and loved by God like fathers of faith in the Bible, in the name of the Lord I pray!