The Signs of the Times


November 4, 1886

Daniel an Example of Faithfulness


When Darius set over the provinces of his kingdom a hundred and twenty princes, and over these, three presidents, to whom the princes were to give account, we read that “Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was found in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” But evil angels, fearing the influence of this good man over the king and in the affairs of the kingdom, stirred up the presidents and princes to envy. These wicked men watched Daniel closely, that they might find some fault in him which they could report to the king; but they failed. “He was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.” ST November 4, 1886, par. 1

Then Satan sought to make Daniel's faithfulness to God the cause of his destruction. The presidents and princes came tumultuously together unto the king, and said, “All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors and the princes, the counselors and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.” The king's pride was flattered. He was ignorant of the mischief purposed against Daniel, and he granted their request. The decree was signed, and became one of the unalterable laws of the Medes and Persians. ST November 4, 1886, par. 2

These envious men did not believe that Daniel would be untrue to his God, or that he would falter in his firm adherence to principle; and they were not mistaken in their estimate of his character. Daniel knew the value of communion with God. With full knowledge of the king's decree, he still bowed in prayer three times a day, “his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem.” He did not seek to conceal his act, although he knew full well the consequences of his fidelity to God. He saw the dangers that beset his path; but his steps faltered not. Before those who were plotting his ruin, he would not allow even the appearance that his connection with Heaven was severed. ST November 4, 1886, par. 3

In all cases where the king had a right to command, Daniel would obey. He was willing to obey so far as he could do so consistently with truth and righteousness; but kings and decrees could not make him swerve from his allegiance to the King of kings. He knew that no man, not even his king, had a right to come between his conscience and his God, and interfere with the worship due to his Maker. ST November 4, 1886, par. 4

Daniel was true, noble, and generous. While he was anxious to be at peace with all men, he would not permit any power to turn him aside from the path of duty. He had an opportunity to testify in favor of the true God, and to present the reasons why he alone should receive worship, and the duty of rendering him praise and homage, and nobly did he improve it. Had he respected the king's decree in this instance, he would have dishonored God. He was surrounded by proud idolaters; but he was a faithful witness for the truth. His dauntless adherence to a right course of action, was as a bright light amid the moral darkness of that heathen court. ST November 4, 1886, par. 5

On account of his praying to God, Daniel was cast into the lion's den. Envious and wicked men thus far accomplished their purpose. But Daniel continued to pray, even among the lions. Did God forget his faithful servant, and suffer him to be destroyed? Oh, no; Jesus, the mighty Commander of the hosts of Heaven, sent his angels to close the mouths of those hungry lions, that they should not hurt the praying man of God; and all was peace in that terrible den. The king witnessed the miraculous preservation of Daniel, and brought him out with honors; while those who had plotted his destruction were utterly destroyed, with their wives and children, in the terrible manner in which they had planned to destroy Daniel. ST November 4, 1886, par. 6

Through the moral courage of this one man who chose, even in the face of death, to take a right course rather than a politic one, Satan was defeated, and God honored. For the deliverance of Daniel from the power of the lions was a striking evidence that the Being whom he worshiped was the true and living God. And the king wrote unto “all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth:” “I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and steadfast forever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.” ST November 4, 1886, par. 7

Daniel was sorely tried; but he overcame because he was of a humble and prayerful spirit. Although he was surrounded with distrust and suspicion, and his enemies laid a snare for his life, yet he maintained a serene and cheerful trust in God, never once deviating from principle. Although Daniel was a man of like passions with ourselves, the pen of inspiration presents him as a faultless character. His life is given us as a bright example of what man may become, even in this life, if he will make God his strength, and wisely improve the privileges and opportunities within his reach. ST November 4, 1886, par. 8

Daniel was a moral and intellectual giant; yet he did not reach this pre-eminence all at once and without effort. He was continually seeking for greater knowledge, for higher attainments. Other young men had the same advantages, but they did not, like him, bend all their energies to seek wisdom,—the knowledge of God as revealed in his word and in his works. Daniel was but a youth when he was brought into a heathen court in service to the king of Babylon; and because of his extreme youth when he was exposed to all the temptations of an Eastern court, his noble resistance of wrong and his steadfast adherence to the right, throughout his long career, are the more admirable. His example should be a source of strength to the tried and tempted, even at the present day. ST November 4, 1886, par. 9

Daniel loved, feared, and obeyed God; yet he did not flee away from the world to avoid its corrupting influence. In the providence of God, he was to be in the world, yet not of the world. With all the temptations and fascinations of court life surrounding him, he stood in the integrity of his soul; for he made God his strength; and he was not forsaken of him in his hour of greatest need. ST November 4, 1886, par. 10

From the history of Daniel we may learn that a strict compliance with the requirements of God will prove a blessing, not only in the future, immortal life, but also in the present life. Through religious principles, men may triumph over the temptations of Satan and the devices of wicked men, even though it costs them a great sacrifice. What if Daniel had made a compromise with those heathen rulers, and had denied his God? What if, on first entering the court, he had yielded to the pressure of temptation, by eating and drinking as was customary among the Babylonians? That one wrong step would probably have led to others, until, his connection with Heaven being severed, he would have been borne away by the power of temptation. But while he clung to God with unwavering, prayerful trust, he could not be forsaken. The divine protection is pledged to those who thus seek it, and God cannot forget his word. ST November 4, 1886, par. 11

It was through prayer and adherence to right principles that Daniel was enabled to stand firm in the hour of trial and temptation. The prayer of faith is the great strength of the Christian, and will assuredly prevail against the devices of the hosts of darkness. Satan well knows how needful are meditation and prayer to keep Christ's followers aroused to understand his devices, and resist his temptations; so he tries to lead men to believe that prayer is useless, and but a mere form. If he can divert the mind from these important exercises, so that the soul will not lean for help on the Mighty One, and obtain divine strength to resist his attacks, he knows full well that he has gained a decided advantage. ST November 4, 1886, par. 12

We are living in the most solemn period of this world's history, when the last conflict between truth and error is raging; and we need courage and firmness for the right, and a prayerful trust in God no less than Daniel did. The destiny of earth's teeming millions is about to be decided; and our own future well-being, and the salvation of other souls, depend upon the course which we pursue. If we possess the same unwavering integrity that characterized the prophet of old, God will be honored through our course, and souls will be saved to shine as stars in the crown of our rejoicing. ST November 4, 1886, par. 13

Basel, Switzerland.