Everything in life is a God issue. This is why Paul said: “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). In other words, in everything we do, including eating, drinking, working, playing sports, and watching TV, we are to do these things in such a way that makes God look big and great and awesome—because he is. In other words, we are to glorify him. We are to live our lives coram Deo (before the face of God). The problem is that we live in a man-centered world. And at times we contribute to the man-centerdness of this fallen world. The book of Daniel is marked by the sovereignty of God and the submission of Daniel. Like us, Daniel lived in an ever-increasing man-centered world. Nebuchadnezzar is the self-exalting king who embodies a man-centered worldview. Daniel, on the contrary, shows us how to live a God-centered life in the midst of a man-centered world.
When life is easy and when life is hard, everything is and remains a God issue. Your situation does not change this. Daniel and his friends knew this. Your life is always before the eyes of God. He is the ruler of the universe and the Lord of every life.
Let’s take a look at the life of Daniel and see an example of someone who lived to make God look big in everything he did.
The name Daniel means “God is my judge.” Daniel lived his life in such a way that he showed to the world that God was his judge. This is displayed in his great dependence on God. God was Daniel’s judge. God is your judge. That means that every single thing you do must be done knowing that you are subject to God’s judgment. Every single good and bad deed you commit will be judged by God one day. When you live your life knowing that God is your judge, everything you do will have a God-centeredness to it.
Daniel and his three friends were taken into exile by King Nebuchadnezzar. He wanted people from Israel who were of royalty, of nobility, young, good looking, wise, and knowledgeable. The king of Babylon wanted the best of the best in Israel to serve him. He had a desire to exalt himself and to glorify himself in the eyes of his own people and also throughout the whole world. Nebuchadnezzar teaches us something about our fallen and broken desires for fame. When we, like this Babylonian king, seek to exalt ourselves, we assume the work of God. God created man to magnify His glory throughout the world. After the Fall, God sent Christ to magnify His glory by redeeming fallen man. He is now filling the earth with His glory by the gospel proclamation of the Church. The moment we stubbornly magnify our name and our glory, we work against the mission of God in the world.
When the king had taken Daniel and his friends, he ordered them to eat only the food that the king ate and to drink what the king drank. They were to be taught the culture and language of the Babylonians. After three years of eating, drinking, and learning the way the king wanted, Daniel, his friends, and all the rest of those taken from Israel would appear before the king.
“But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank” (Dan. 1:8).
Daniel refused to eat and drink what the king required because he knew that doing so would be wrong. How so? Because the food was rotten or poisonous? No, the king ate the same food! Why then? Because eating this food would be sinful against God. There is only one God and Daniel shows us that this God is sovereign over all things and all people, including the king of Babylon. While Nebuchadnezzar commands Daniel and his friends to eat and drink according to his standard, Daniel’s primary allegiance is to God and His standard.
Eating and drinking for Daniel and his friends were God issues. They basically asked themselves, “Can we glorify God by eating and drinking what the king gives us?” The answer was no. Do you ever ask yourself this question? This is the most important question to ask when you have a tough decision to make. Can I make God look big and great and awesome by doing this? Or will he look small and unimportant?
God is sovereign over every area of every life. Man will either submit to the will of God or rebel against Him. The humble servant will magnify the majesty of God. The proud rebel will magnify his own glory. Are you magnifying the majesty of God in every area of your life? God was the center of Daniel’s life. Is God the center of your life? How can you begin living a God-centered life in a man-centered world?