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Lowell Brueckner

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Ten Times Better


The Book of the Prophet Daniel

“… some stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire!” Hebrews 11:33, 34

Chapter 1:8-21                                 Ten Times Better

 8.  But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. 
9.   And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, 
10.  and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, "I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king." 
11.  Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 
12.  "Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 
13.  Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king's food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see." 
14.  So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. 
15.  At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king's food. 
16.  So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. 

God always has someone prepared to aid the ones, who belong to Him, from the cradle to the grave and actually long before they are born. That person may not be a believer, but he will in that area for which God calls him, faithfully carry out His purposes. During a famine, the Lord trained crows to feed Elijah and then chose a poor widow to house and maintain him until the famine was over. The Persian emperor Cyrus, a pagan, encouraged the Israelites to return to their land, rebuild their temple and helped to finance the entire project. God called him His servant.

An older brother of mine, now an octogenarian, could be termed a very common believer. Living alone with his wife, who has Alzheimer, his hands are full, caring for her 24 hours a day, as well as taking care of the house and sizable property around it. His age limits his ability to take care of other concerns and expenses. His credit card bill grew into the thousands and the tires on his pick-up truck became bald.

When she was younger and well, my sister-in-law cleaned house for a lawyer, who was not a born-again believer. He became aware of my brother’s plight and one day handed him a check for $500. He also totally paid his credit card account, told him to buy the best tires for his truck and charge him with the bill. His wife was shocked and told my brother that this was totally uncharacteristic of her husband. Ah yes, but when the sovereign Lord puts His hand upon someone, they suddenly become obedient and act as they never have before on behalf of His child.

The pastor of the church that our son, Steve, and his family attend got a part-time job as a prison guard. All the guards knew that one prisoner was trafficking drugs, but were afraid to do anything about it. The pastor went in, found his stash and confiscated it. Later, as he walked between the cells, he heard the prisoners talking, loud enough so he could hear, about what might happen to him. One big black man said, “That white boy doesn’t plan on living long!”

Before he met the Lord, the pastor himself had been on drugs and knew what it was like to be in precarious situations. However, that walk through the cell block left him shaking to the depths of his soul. Before leaving it, he said, “I’ve got nothing against any of you guys. I was just doing my job.”  Every prison has a pecking order and on top is a really big rooster. The next time, he entered the block, this prison “general” came to him and said, “You’re right, you’re just doing your job, so don’t worry about it. No one is going to touch you.” This time there was silence, as he walked through the aisle.

“God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs.” In the citadel of idolatrous Babylon, God moved the heart of an important official for the sake of the teen-aged Jew that He greatly loved (9:23; 10:11,19). When someone is longing and determined to please his Lord, in whatever circumstances he finds himself, He will arrange for his sanctification. No situation is too godless to prevent the intrusion of the Almighty.

Here is a young man far away from the godly influences that formed his early life, and yet his present circumstances have not dented that, which has been solidly fused into his character. His surroundings encourage him to cooperate with the emperor’s command, no Jewish superior is there to oversee his actions and his flesh may crave the wonderful cuisine placed before him. He could easily justify his participation. No one and nothing is stopping him from indulging in it, but Daniel simply is not going to touch this food. How we need this kind of young Christians to stand against the perversion in our day! How rare they are!

The Babylonian dieticians had designed the food to be fed to the candidates for royal service towards the highest development of their physical and mental well-being. The king has signed his personal approval upon it and any exception taken would become visible within ten days. The man in charge is responsible, at the cost of his head, to see that everyone complies perfectly with the command.

It is one thing to put yourself in danger; it is another to risk someone else’s life. Daniel’s God is good and He is patient with those who have not learned His ways, but who are about to see heavenly reality for the first time. He allows them to put Him to the test. With all that we have learned up to this point taken into account, a 10-day trial period of vegetables and water begins.  It ends with a shining proof that demonstrates the fact that the faithfulness of God trumps the very best that the world has to offer.

This is not a lesson in the advantages of vegetarianism; please, let’s not turn this story into a test for the value of health foods or natural diet. This situation is nothing less than a proof of the power of God, favoring the faithfulness of these young men!  Do not cheapen the jewels of spiritual principle with the cheap imitation of carnal reasoning! These are days, when churchmen put the faith of George Mueller, which has been an inspiration to millions, under a microscope and try to find a psychological or sociological reason for placing 2,000 orphans solely under God’s care, without asking help from anyone. No wonder Jesus asked, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk.18:8)

If we cannot see the Word of God with spiritual eyes, it would be better not to open its pages… “Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away" (Lk.8:18). Heed the warning from Jesus Himself! The one who studies the Scriptures solely with the mind of men comes under deception. He does not have the insight that he thinks he has. The one taught the textbook, authored by the Holy Spirit, through the tutorship of the same Spirit, will have an ever-increasing knowledge of the ways of God.

Having seen the reality of divine intervention, Nebuchadnezzar’s official reacted favorably to his first experience with Jehovah of Israel. He had learned the lesson and he acts accordingly, willing to put his life on the line in trusting Him, assured that the true and living God will defend his decision. We should not underestimate his commitment; he is defying the order of the highest authority on earth.

You do not have the luxury of enjoying the biblical accounts without making personal application. That is to waste the incomparable teaching, which God has given to man, not to be found elsewhere on this earth. They are there as lessons, which we must apply to our lives and allow to come into our experience. The story of Daniel and his three companions must become our story.

They teach us the ways of God, which are far higher than your ways. Man’s ways, besides being inferior to God’s, are actually contrary to His. Your fallen nature has ruined your mentality, has conformed (you) to this world”, and you must be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”  (Ro.12:2). This is Paul’s command to believers and a process that takes place throughout our lives. The disciples demonstrated that, in spite of their sincerity, they didn´t see things at all, as Christ saw them. Peter showed, even after his baptism in the Holy Spirit, that there was need for correction in his way of thinking (Gal.2:11-21).

17.  As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 
18.  At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 
19.  And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. 
20.  And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom. 
21.  And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus.

The four Hebrew were divinely equipped, aside from their natural intelligence and abilities. The carnal mind will see Samson as a muscle-bound giant; God’s student will see him with a normal physique, clothed with the mighty Holy Spirit. Concerning these youths, the text states it plainly: “God gave them learning and skill.” Daniel was especially endowed, even at his young age, with the Spirit of prophecy. Clearly, they had something besides, what Oswald Chambers called, “the accident of heredity.”

The chief of the eunuchs, having experienced divine intervention, confidently brought these models of heavenly favor before his king. Nebuchadnezzar interviewed all the prospects, but the finest that earth provides, can never match the gifts of the Spirit. “Therefore they stood before the king”, while all the rest took inferior positions. These four adolescents rose mightily, not only above the other youthful candidates, but over “all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.” When you have discovered the most gifted and talented on the face of the earth, multiply times ten, if you hope to come close to estimating the ones, who have been prepared by heaven.

When it comes to the eternal purposes of God, nothing less will do. Whom He calls, He enables. Every servant of God must be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus told his motley crew of Galilean fisherman, tax collectors, rebel activists, common women, and whatever other unworthy profession was represented by the 120, who went to the upper room, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Ac.1:8). They turned the world upside down.

“I will build my church” (Mt.16:18)… that was the high and mighty purpose of Christ for the next 2,000 years. The book of Acts tells the beginning of the story and it unfolds an account of a powerful, supernatural work that spread from Jerusalem to Europe. It invaded the capitol of the Roman Empire and planted a church in its bowels. The church is a heavenly bride, who will reign with Christ. The highest abilities of men are unworthy for this task. Every member of the body of Christ must exercise heavenly gifts in order to function there.

Seeing the divine presence in the church is what causes the world to believe: I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (Jn.17:23). It is not about trying to get Christians to unite, it’s about being one with the Father and the Son. The supernatural life of the Son, shining through the believer, is what will open the unbeliever’s mouth with awe. That’s what it means to be a witness for Christ.  

Where is the power? Where is the anointing? That’s my question. We are not getting the job done, never mind the outward, numerical success that some seem to have. We must recognize our spiritual bankruptcy and put the prayer meeting back where it belongs at the head of Christian activity. We must pray until the church once more vibrates with heaven’s dynamics. We must see ungodly people smitten with fear, under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. We must see violent conversions. We must see church gatherings graced with the atmosphere of heaven. Can it happen again? It had better happen again, before all is lost in the maze of mere human endeavor.

Daniel stood before the king, outlived him and continued in the royal court until the reign of the Persian, King Cyrus. The work that God does in a man remains. “The one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mt.10:22), not because endurance saves, but because God’s salvation endures! There is too much reliance on human determination these days, and little evidence of a genuine, lasting work of God. Please don’t tell me that it is normal for a large number of Christian leaders to fall into sin. It’s not normal; it is evidence that there is too much sham among us. Daniel was there, representing the Kingdom of God before Nebuchadnezzar. He was faithfully there to interpret the writing on the wall for Belshazzar. He was there when the Persians overthrew the Babylonians, served under Darius, and continued into the reign of Cyrus. The genuine work of God in a man lasts!


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