“Character is destiny” says the Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus. Heraclitus meant that how our lives turn out is determined more by our inner character than by outside influences. In today’s world with internet, social media, and fake news, we are allowed to wonder if it is still true that character is destiny.
The book of Daniel has many lessons including that character is destiny, when it comes to effective work for the most high God. How does it do this? Chapters 1 to 6 show how Daniel responds to events including threats to his life in Babylon; even in the Lions den (Chapter 6) we see his calm, faithful, solid as a rock response.
In Chapters 7 to 12, the focus of the book of Daniel, shifts from character lessons, to the great and mighty visions that Daniel receives from God. Think about this for a minute – the most high God was pleased to share complete revelations of the history of humanity with a person. No other prophet was honored so highly.
Hope it now begins to make sense, why half of the book of Daniel is dedicated to character lessons. In Chapter 6, the law said everybody must pray to the king, if not, they will be thrown into the Lions den. Daniel still chose to pray to the most high God; he made up his mind to give up his life rather than give up his faith.
Thanks be to God for the amazing rescue as we read Daniel 6:21-22 (NIV): Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
Daniel did not get to this place of strong faith in a day, or a year – it takes years, and years, and years of quiet commitment. The result is a fruitful life of service that continues to bless God’s people even after we are long dead. Our work for God, is not about houses, cars, clothes – it starts with character.
Lord, we have freedom to live for pleasures, but teach us how we can live to be a blessing today and for many generations to come, Amen!