Daniel, whose name means “God is my judge,” was a statesman in the court of four heathen monarchs. Taken captive as a youth to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C., he spent the rest of his long life there as a government official and as a prophet of the true God. Jesus identified him as the prophet in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. Throughout his life, he was uncompromising and faithful to his God.
Because of the events recorded in chapter 2 (Daniel interprets the king’s dream), Daniel was given a place of prominence and responsibility in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. After the king’s death, Daniel apparently fell from favor but was recalled to interpret the writing that appeared at Belshazzar’s feast (5:13). He was made one of three presidents under Darius (6:1) and lived until the third year of Cyrus (536 B.C.). His ministry was to testify, in his personal life and in his prophecies, to the power of God.
The story in chapter 3 along with the story of Daniel in the lions’ den, is one of the favorite ones in the book of Daniel. We know about the three young Hebrews. We have heard and read about their demonstration of faith in the fiery furnace. Even though they were very young, they were believers of firm character.
If these young teenagers had this kind of character, facing what they were facing, it seems like older believers should have even better character. No doubt we need more Christians with character like that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
What was it that gave them this kind of character? I think it was their faith in God. Christian character comes from trusting God. The three young Hebrews trusted God. This becomes obvious as we observe how they responded to the king’s insistence that they bow down to false gods.
What would you have said to the king? Let’s look at the ingredients of their godly character. If we trust in God, we will have Christian character with the same ingredients.
I. FAITH GAVE THEM CONVICTIONS (VERSE 18)
They said, “We will not . . .” A person with Christian character will have convictions based on the Word of God. There are certain things this person will not do, and he or she has already made up his or her mind about those things.
To have biblical convictions is to find out what God’s opinion is (from the Bible) and to make His opinion our opinion. A conviction is not based on personal preference but is solidly based on what God has said in His Word and our determination to follow it.
II. FAITH GAVE THEM CONSECRATION (VERSE 17)
They said, “God whom we serve . . .” We need Christians who are totally devoted to the Lord. These Hebrew boys knew that God would deliver them out of the king’s hand, whether God delivered them out of the fire or not. Dead or alive, they would be delivered. They knew who they served. They knew who their master was, and their devotion was 100 percent for the Lord. We need Christians with this kind of consecration.
Christian character comes by trusting God.
This faith in God will give you biblical consecration
and devotion to God first of all.
III. FAITH GAVE THEM COURAGE
(VERSES 17, 18)
They said, “If it be so, our God . . . is able
to deliver . . . but if not . . . we will not serve thy
gods.” These young people had some courage!
They said that they believed God could deliver
them if He wanted to, but if He decided not to
deliver them, they were not going to serve the
king’s false gods anyway.
And they knew what they were facing, for
they had already been warned about the fiery
furnace prepared for those who would not bow.
These young men had character. I have heard
people say, “Lord if you will get me out of this
problem, I’ll get back in church, but if you don’t
get me out of this problem, don’t expect to see
me in church.” That is not real character, right?
Many Christians today say, “Lord, I’ll tithe if
you will bless me.” But will they go on to say, “If
you do not bless me, I’ll tithe anyway”? The last
statement takes courage and character.
IV. FAITH GAVE THEM CONSISTENCY
They said, “We are not careful to answer
thee in this matter.” What they were saying was,
“This is always the way we answer this kind
of temptation.” Do you remember in chapter 1
when they refused to defile themselves by eating
the king’s meat? Their answer is still the same.
They didn’t even have to think about it. They already
knew what they were going to say because their trust was in God, and they consistently put
If you will make the right decisions long
enough, you won’t have to think about what to
answer. I don’t have to think twice about saying
“No” to going to a bar. Some people do. I don’t
have to think about whether or not I am going
to church. Some people do. The reason some
people waver is because they haven’t made the
right choices long enough. If you will trust God
and His Word, you won’t have to be inconsistent
in responding to temptation.
It will make the devil mad, too, but it will
make the Lord happy. Just keep on choosing
right. That’s Christian character. Christian character
comes by trusting God. This faith in God
will give you biblical consistency (1 Cor. 15:58).
V. FAITH GAVE THEM COMPANIONSHIP
All through the first chapters of this book,
we see “they,” “them,” “we,” and “our” in relation
to the young Hebrews. You will travel with
the kind of people that you want to be. Charactered
people attract other charactered people.
The opposite is true as well.
Do you want to have friends who are honest
and hardworking and loyal? Then be that kind of
person. Be a person of character, and you will
attract people of character. You will also choose
your friends from those who are charactered
people. You may not have many friends, but the
friends you have will be good friends and good
people. Thank the Lord for the friendship of quality
people. Christian character comes by trusting
God. This faith in God will give us biblical
We need Christians who have given themselves
totally to the Lord and who have taken
God’s wish as their command. Someone once
said that “character is what you do when no one
else is watching.”