Most of us heard the stories of Daniel from childhood—the handwriting on the wall, the lion’s den. What we didn’t know was that no one in history ever influenced the two most powerful empires on the earth like Daniel. And he did it as a grad student.
When we first hear about this young exile in Babylon, he is in college majoring in ancient culture, learning “the language and literature of the Babylonians” (Daniel 1:4). “They were to be trained for three years,” then they would be prepared to serve the king (v. 5). Daniel and his friends were given new names to begin the acculturation process (v. 6,7).
Then we read, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine” (v. 8). What’s his problem with creampuffs? Something inside Daniel said that eating the rich food would compromise his devotion to God. The decisions he made then impacted him the the rest of his life.
You’ve experienced it before, a quiet prompting. People are gossiping and the inner voice says, “Keep your mouth shut.” Or you find yourself watching a movie that turns raunchy, and an inner nudge tells you to leave. Those who learn to heed those messages grow into maturity. Those who muffle them as immature legalism stay immature.
The writer of Hebrews says, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn…You need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again…But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:11,12,14). Put poison in front of my granddaughter—and she’d drink it. So would those bent on silencing the inner voice. And they destroy themselves—one decision at a time.
Daniel wasn’t legalistic. He simply listened. When the official told him he was afraid to change the game plan, Daniel could have said, “You’re right. Let’s go with flow. Pass the cheesecake.”
Little things are big things—always. God chooses little people (like a Mary or Galilean no-names), little places (Bethlehem or Azusa Street), little beginnings (a seed on the uterine wall of a virgin girl), and little acts (a kind word, a phone message, a sick call on a friend). Humble people don’t overlook little words or assignments. Daniel and his friends majored in the little stuff, and they graduated Summa Cum Summa from Babylon University.
Miracles happen in the lives of humble people—one nudge at a time. If you’re asking why you don’t see bigger miracles , take a look at how you are responding to small promptings. Obedience accumulates. Those who take the Lordship of Jesus seriously are promised to be exalted.
It seems like such a little thing that Daniel did. That’s the way God works. He says that faithfulness in the very little things brings authority over ten cities. Quite an upgrade. Try obeying God in little ways. See what happens!