The Biblical book of Daniel is known for lions’ dens, fiery furnaces, and a host of prophecies. But it also tells the story of a man, and his commitment to God. That story begins in chapter one, years before the lions show up. Daniel’s people are taken captive, and he, with the best of the Israelites is transported back to Babylon, where he would be trained to work for the Babylonian government. He was a young man then, and had much growing to do, but in spite of living in that pagan culture, His commitment to God was definite and unshaken.
So much so, that when they brought forth the best of their food, Daniel asks permission not to eat it. The Bible never communicates that he was a finicky eater, but that the menu in that pagan culture violated the laws of God for the Jewish people. There were three other men with him when he made this decision. You might recognize their names from the story of the fiery furnace: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. All four men took a stand, and it’s found in verse 8 of the 1st chapter. But Daniel purposed in His heart that he would not defile himself. That commitment put into motion a whole host of supernatural events.
The Bible records that “God brought Daniel into favor and good will” of the one in charge (1:9). And a little later” “As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom” (1:17).
Remarkably, 4 men purposed in their hearts to remain committed to God, and God gave them favor and abilities that they had not previously had. You see the commitment to spend a night in a lion’s den for your faith, or a few hours in the hottest of furnaces, always begins with a “purposing in your heart” to do the will of God in the smaller areas as well. And then as the story reveals: God gave. He not only gave favor, abilities, and knowledge, but he gave a providential protection that would keep the mouths of the lions shut (Dan. 6), and keep the flames of the fire from burning flesh (Dan. 3). How’s your commitment? God stands ready to give.