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Learn From Daniel’s Example

Learn From Daniel’s Example

“You are someone very precious.”​—DAN. 9:23.

SONG 73 Grant Us Boldness


1. Why were the Babylonians impressed by the prophet Daniel?

 THE prophet Daniel was a young man when the Babylonians made him a prisoner of war and dragged him far away from his homeland. But Daniel obviously impressed his captors. They saw “what appear[ed] to the eyes”​—that Daniel was “without any defect, of good appearance” and that he came from an influential family. (1 Sam. 16:7) For those reasons, the Babylonians trained him to become an elite member of their society.​—Dan. 1:3, 4, 6.

2. How did Jehovah feel about Daniel? (Ezekiel 14:14)

2 Jehovah loved Daniel, not because of his physical appearance or his social status, but because of the type of person that this young man chose to be. In fact, Daniel may have been only in his late teens or early 20’s when Jehovah mentioned him favorably together with Noah and Job, men who had spent many decades building a good reputation with God. (Gen. 5:32; 6:9, 10; Job 42:16, 17; read Ezekiel 14:14.) And Jehovah continued to love Daniel throughout his long and remarkable life.​—Dan. 10:11, 19.

3. What will we consider in this article?

3 In this article, we will examine two of Daniel’s qualities that made him precious to Jehovah. First, we will describe each quality and review occasions when he showed it. Next, we will see what helped Daniel to develop these qualities. Finally, we will discuss how we can imitate him. Although this article is written with young ones in mind, all of us can learn from Daniel’s example.


4. How did Daniel show courage? Give an example.

4 Courageous people may experience fear, but they do not allow it to stop them from doing what is right. Daniel was a very courageous young man. Consider two occasions on which he showed courage. The first likely happened about two years after the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had a disturbing dream about an immense image. He threatened to kill all his wise men, including Daniel, if they could not tell him what he had dreamed and also give the interpretation. (Dan. 2:3-5) Daniel had to act quickly; otherwise, lives would be lost. He “went in and asked the king to grant him time to tell the interpretation to the king.” (Dan. 2:16) That took courage and faith. There is no record that Daniel had ever interpreted dreams before. He asked his companions​—whose Babylonian names were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—​“to pray for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this secret.” (Dan. 2:18) Jehovah answered those prayers. With God’s help, Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Daniel’s life and the lives of his companions were spared.

5. What further test of courage did Daniel face?

5 Some time after Daniel interpreted the dream about the immense image, his courage was tested again. Nebuchadnezzar had another troubling dream. This dream involved a gigantic tree. Daniel courageously explained to the king the meaning of the dream, including the pronouncement that the king would go mad and lose his throne for a period of time. (Dan. 4:25) The king could easily have viewed that message as seditious and could have put Daniel to death. But Daniel showed courage and delivered it anyway.

6. What may have helped Daniel to be courageous?

6 What may have helped Daniel to be courageous throughout his life? While young, Daniel surely learned from the example of his mother and father. No doubt they obeyed the instructions that Jehovah had given to Israelite parents, and they taught God’s Law to their child. (Deut. 6:6-9) Daniel knew not only the basics of the Law, such as the Ten Commandments, but also the details regarding what an Israelite could and could not eat. b (Lev. 11:4-8; Dan. 1:8, 11-13) Daniel also learned the history of God’s people and knew what happened to them when they failed to live by Jehovah’s standards. (Dan. 9:10, 11) Experiences throughout Daniel’s life made him confident that Jehovah and His powerful angels were supporting him.​—Dan. 2:19-24; 10:12, 18, 19.

Daniel developed courage by studying and praying and by trusting in Jehovah (See paragraph 7)

7. What else helped Daniel to have courage? (See also picture.)

7 Daniel studied the writings of God’s prophets, including the prophecies of Jeremiah. From that study, Daniel later discerned that the long captivity of the Jews in Babylon was soon to end. (Dan. 9:2) Seeing Bible prophecy come true no doubt strengthened Daniel’s trust in Jehovah, and those who have strong trust in God can be remarkably courageous. (Compare Romans 8:31, 32, 37-39.) Most important, Daniel prayed to his heavenly Father often. (Dan. 6:10) He confessed his sins to Jehovah and shared his feelings with Him. And Daniel asked for help. (Dan. 9:4, 5, 19) He was a human like us, so he was not born with courage. Instead, he developed that quality through study and prayer and by trusting in Jehovah.

8. How can we develop courage?

8 To develop courage, what do we need to do? Our parents may urge us to be courageous, but they cannot pass this quality on to us as if it were a family heirloom. Gaining courage is like learning a new skill. One way you can master the skill is by closely watching the instructor’s actions and then copying his example. In a similar way, we learn to be courageous by closely looking at how others show this quality and then copying their example. So, what have we learned from Daniel? Like him, we need to know God’s Word well. We must form a close bond with Jehovah by talking to him freely and often. And we need to trust in Jehovah, being convinced that we have his backing. Then when our faith is tested, we will be courageous.

9. How do we benefit from being courageous?

9 We benefit in a number of ways from being courageous. Consider the experience of Ben. He attended a school in Germany where everyone believed in evolution and felt that the creation account in the Bible is a myth. One day, Ben was given the opportunity to stand in front of the class and explain why he believed that life was created. He courageously presented his beliefs. With what result? “My teacher listened carefully,” says Ben, “and he made copies of the material that I used to support my argument and gave one to every student in the class.” How did Ben’s classmates react? “Many of them were open-minded,” says Ben, “and they said that they admired me.” As Ben’s experience shows, courageous people often gain the respect of others. They may also attract honesthearted people to Jehovah. Certainly, we have good reasons to develop courage.


10. What is loyalty?

10 In the Bible, the Hebrew word for “loyalty,” or “loyal love,” conveys the idea of a warm and loving attachment that is often used to describe the love that God has for his servants. The same word is also used to describe the love shown among God’s servants. (2 Sam. 9:6, 7) Our loyalty can become stronger over time. Consider how this proved true for Daniel.

Jehovah rewards Daniel’s loyalty by sending an angel and by shutting the mouth of the lions (See paragraph 11)

11. What test of loyalty did Daniel face in his old age? (See cover picture.)

11 Daniel’s loyalty to Jehovah was tested throughout his life. But one of the greatest tests came when he was in his 90’s. By this time, Babylon had been captured by the Medes and the Persians and was ruled by King Darius. Members of the royal court disliked Daniel and had little respect for the God he worshipped. So they devised a plot to have Daniel killed. They had a decree issued that would test whether Daniel would be loyal to his God or to the king. All Daniel had to do to prove his loyalty to the king and to blend in with everyone else was stop praying to Jehovah for 30 days. Daniel refused to compromise. As a result, he was thrown into the lions’ pit. But Jehovah rewarded Daniel’s loyalty by rescuing him from the mouth of the lions. (Dan. 6:12-15, 20-22) How can we develop the kind of unbreakable loyalty to Jehovah that Daniel showed?

12. How did Daniel develop unbreakable loyalty to Jehovah?

12 As mentioned earlier, loyalty is motivated by strong love. Daniel’s loyalty to Jehovah was unbreakable because he dearly loved his heavenly Father. Daniel undoubtedly developed that love by thinking about Jehovah’s qualities and reflecting on the way He showed them. (Dan. 9:4) Daniel also meditated gratefully on all the good things that Jehovah had done for him and His people.​—Dan. 2:20-23; 9:15, 16.

Like Daniel, you can develop unbreakable loyalty to Jehovah by loving Him dearly (See paragraph 13)

13. (a) What tests of loyalty do our young ones face? Give an example. (See also picture.) (b) As shown in the video, how might you respond when others ask if Jehovah’s Witnesses support those who choose to pursue a homosexual lifestyle?

13 Like Daniel, our young ones are surrounded by people who have no respect for Jehovah and his standards. Such people may dislike anyone who claims to love God. Some even try to bully our young ones into breaking their loyalty to Jehovah. Note, for example, what happened to a young man named Graeme, who lives in Australia. He faced a challenging situation when he attended high school. The teacher asked the class how they would react if a friend confided in them about being a homosexual. The teacher said that all in the class who would support a friend in pursuing such a lifestyle must stand on one side of the room; those who would not, on the other side. Graeme says, “The entire class stood on the side that supported that lifestyle except for me and another Witness.” What happened next was a real test of Graeme’s loyalty to Jehovah. “For the rest of the hour-long class,” he says, “the other students and even the teacher taunted and insulted us. I did my best to defend my faith in a calm and reasonable way, but they didn’t listen to a word I said.” What effect did this test of loyalty have on Graeme? He says, “I did not like being the target of such verbal attacks, but I felt incredibly happy that I was able to defend my beliefs without compromise.” c

14. What is one way that we can develop unbreakable loyalty to Jehovah?

14 We can develop unbreakable loyalty to Jehovah if, like Daniel, we form a deep love for Him. We develop that love by learning about Jehovah’s qualities. For example, we can study the things he has made. (Rom. 1:20) If you would like to deepen your love and respect for Jehovah, you could read the brief articles in the series “Was It Designed?” or watch the videos. You could also go over the material in the brochures Was Life Created? and The Origin of Life​—Five Questions Worth Asking. Note what a young Danish sister named Esther says about those publications: “The reasoning is fantastic. The brochures don’t tell you what to believe; they simply present the facts and let you make a decision.” Ben, quoted earlier, says: “This material was very faith-strengthening. It proved to me that God created life.” After studying this material, you will likely agree with the Bible when it says: “You are worthy, Jehovah our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things.”​—Rev. 4:11. d

15. What is another way that we can develop a close bond with Jehovah?

15 Another way to develop a deep love for Jehovah is by closely examining the life of his Son, Jesus. A young sister named Samira, who lives in Germany, did this. She says: “I came to know Jehovah better through Jesus.” When she was a child, Samira struggled to understand how Jehovah could have feelings. But she could relate to Jesus. “I liked Jesus because he was friendly and loved children,” she adds. The more she learned about Jesus, the more she formed a bond with Jehovah. Why? She says: “I slowly understood that Jesus perfectly imitates his Father. They are a lot alike. I realized that this was one of the reasons why Jehovah sent Jesus to the earth, to make it possible for mankind to get to know Jehovah better.” (John 14:9) If you want to strengthen your bond with Jehovah, why not spend time learning all you can about Jesus? If you do, your love for Jehovah and your loyalty to him will grow.

16. How do we benefit from being loyal? (Psalm 18:25; Micah 6:8)

16 Those who are loyal often form close and lasting friendships. (Ruth 1:14-17) In addition, people who are loyal to Jehovah have good reason to feel a sense of inner peace. Why? Because Jehovah promises to be loyal to those who are loyal to him. (Read Psalm 18:25; Micah 6:8.) Just think​—the almighty Creator is willing to form a strong emotional bond with us! And when he does, no trial, no opposer, not even death itself can break that bond. (Dan. 12:13; Luke 20:37, 38; Rom. 8:38, 39) How important it is that we imitate Daniel and remain loyal to Jehovah!


17-18. What else can we learn from Daniel?

17 In this article, we have examined just two of Daniel’s qualities. But there is much more that we can learn from him. For example, Jehovah gave Daniel a series of visions and dreams, and He gave him the ability to interpret prophetic messages. Many of those prophecies have already been fulfilled. Others provide details about future events that will affect every person on earth.

18 In the next article, we will take a look at two prophecies recorded by Daniel. Understanding them can help all of us, young and old, to make wise decisions now. Those prophecies can also strengthen our courage and our loyalty so that we are prepared to face the tests that are just ahead.

SONG 119 We Must Have Faith

a Young servants of Jehovah today face challenges that test their courage and their loyalty to Jehovah. Their classmates may mock them for believing in creation. Or their peers may try to make them feel foolish for serving God and living by his standards. But as this article will show, those who imitate the prophet Daniel and who serve Jehovah with courage and loyalty are truly wise.

b Daniel had three possible reasons for considering the Babylonian food to be unclean: (1) The meat may have come from animals prohibited by the Law. (Deut. 14:7, 8) (2) The meat may not have been properly bled. (Lev. 17:10-12) (3) Eating the food could have been viewed as part of the worship of a false god.​—Compare Leviticus 7:15 and 1 Corinthians 10:18, 21, 22.

c Watch on the video The Result of True Righteousness Will Be Peace.”

d To strengthen your love for Jehovah, you could also study the book Draw Close to Jehovah, which contains an in-depth discussion of Jehovah’s qualities and personality.