The Book of Daniel includes 2 stories that are among the most often preached in church.  Daniel in the Lions Den is a classic tale of faith and deliverance.  And who hasn’t heard at least 10 sermons on the 3 Hebrew Boys, Shadrach, Meshack, and Abed-Nego being thrown into the fiery furnace?  As the story is told, you already know the ending, but it’s thrilling just the same.  We especially get a kick out of the Hebrew boys response to the king when he says, “…and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” (Dan 3:15).  They essentially reply, “our God can deliver us and he WILL deliver us.  But even if he doesn’t, we still ain’t gonna worship your image!”  These guys have some serious kahunas!  And wouldn’t you like to say that sometime to your boss when he says, “do this or you’re fired”?  You wanna say, “you know what?  My God ain’t gonna let you fire me, but even if He does, I still ain’t doing it!”  But you know you can’t because you need the job, right?

Interestingly, the Book of Daniel does give some important advice about our work life.  Remember Daniel and the Hebrew Boys worked for the king.  And their careers were quite successful (if you overlook the lion’s den and the fiery furnace, that is).  Of course, they were slaves – exiled from their land and brought to Babylon to serve their captors.  But that’s a good analogy of the position of modern Christians.  We belong to a kingdom that is not of this world, but while we await the final coronation of our King, Jesus Christ, we are stuck in this world.  So while we’re here, we may as well make the best of it.  And since most of us have to work, we may as well prosper, as long as we remain faithful to God.  In fact the Apostle Paul pointed out that “godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment.”  Daniel and his friends exemplify this.
Daniel chapter 1 involves a story of how Daniel and other young Hebrews were competing for jobs serving in the king’s palace.  If they could pass the training program, they would be set up with jobs far better than the ordinary life of slaves.  And to top it off, the training program involved receiving an advanced Babylonian education and being wined and dined with the finest of the king’s food and drinks.  But, instead of eating the king’s food, Daniel and his friends followed their own dietary laws given by God.  Because they remained faithful to God’s law, He gave them extraordinary knowledge and wisdom and they won the competition.  They became personal consultants to the king.  But they didn’t stop there.  In chapter 2, the king had a disturbing dream that gave him insomnia.  When his senior advisors couldn’t interpret the nightmare, the King ordered that all of the wise men, be executed – including his Hebrew consultants.  Daniel asked God to reveal to him the king’s dream and the interpretation.  God did just that, and when Daniel presented it to the king, he and his 3 Hebrew friends were promoted.

There are 2 lessons in these chapters that, though not as exciting as the other stories in the book of Daniel, are extremely helpful for our everyday work life.  The first is that, God will give you knowledge and wisdom even in nonreligious things.  Daniel and his friends were being taught “the literature and language of the Chaldeans”. (Dan 1:4)  So when they were tested, they weren’t being asked about the Mosaic Law or Hebrew history.  And “God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom.” (Daniel 1:17)  So, if we ask Him, God will give us knowledge and wisdom to excel in our careers.  The second lesson is that we will be promoted if we, with God’s help, become problem solvers.  In chapter 2, the king had a problem that was keeping him up at night.  Ask God to reveal to you what is keeping your boss or the leaders of your Company up at night.  Then ask God to give you the solution.  When you present it, it will not only bring glory to God, but also bring you favor on your job.  Try it.

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