Friday, July 24, 2015

The Story of Daniel: In Pursuit of Purpose (Pt 1)

I love the story of Daniel.

I will just be up front about this and say, I never really paid much attention to this book other than to read the "Big three" events:

 1) Daniel in the lions den
2) The here boys in the furnace
3) Telling the king about his dream.

I have never really paid too much attention to the rest of the book because of the prophecy portion of this book. I have never really cared much for end time prophecy and a portion of this book deals with end time prophecy. I have never really cared much for it because I don’t plan on being there. So for the longest time I would just read the story of Daniel in the Lion’s den, Shadrach, Messach, and Abendego and move on. I found no interest in the prophecy side of things until just this week.

You see when we read the story of Daniel, what I see standing out so clearly is something that we often forget and that is the importance of a human life. The title of this book says so much! "The Book of Daniel".

This is Daniel’s story.

I think one of the things that hit me when I read this book again was the fact that I truly was reading someone’s story. Every twist and turn of events was fully fashioned to allow Daniel the opportunity to become the person he was created to be.

Each of us have a story and each of us have lived through a series of events which make us the people that we are today.
We have what Daniel did not. We have his whole story and we know what is going to happen next in his life as we read.
We know the lions don’t eat him and we know that two kings come to Christ because of Daniel, so I think what is amazing to me as I read this story is to see how Daniel responded and reacted in the moment to the situations that he came to on his journey.

Two Words stand out to me in the story of Daniel and they are:


1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.  2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.  3. determination; resoluteness.

1. to follow in order to overtake, capture, kill, etc.; chase.  2. to follow close upon; go with 3. to strive to gain; seek to attain or accomplish (an end, object, purpose, etc.).
4. to proceed in accordance with (a method, plan, etc.).  5. to carry on or continue (a course of action, a train of thought, an inquiry, studies, etc.).

I was reading in Daniel chapter 2 and saw something that made me stop and slow down for a bit, but In order to understand chapter two, we need to understand chapter one and in order to understand chapter one, we need to go back to our interest in prophecy.

In 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar becomes the king of Babylon. As the declaration was being spread through the streets of Babylon there was also an announcement being declared through the streets of Judah. One was in given in anticipation of better times, while the other was given in dread of terrible times.
Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words, Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” ~ Jeremiah 25:8-11  

This message was given in Daniel’s city and in those days, liked or not, the message delivered by the prophets went everywhere and anywhere they were told to speak it because the prophets were God's chosen method of speaking to the nation. Daniel would have been sixteen years of age at this time and there is no doubt he was aware of the mindset of his people and the state of his country. He saw the open defiance to God and the arrogant mindset displayed toward things that were right.
The prophesy also went on to say that those who resisted the invasion would be slaughtered and those who behaved wisely would be spared for the purpose of re-building and restoration.
The attacks came and they were savage, brutal, and true to prophecy, but as with any allowed circumstance in our lives, “Response determines future.”
Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about. So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land. Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king's garden; (now the Chaldeans were by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him. Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him. And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah. Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.” ~ Jeremiah 52: 1-11
Daniel’s story begins recording in 603 B.C. and two years later, the gates to his home town are kicked in.
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.” ~ Daniel 1:1-2
Daniel was taken prisoner, ripped from his life, and what Daniel chose to do in response to a given revelation of God’s word in his life was absolutely amazing.

How many times do we react by what we see over what God says?

What God says, ALWAYS trumps what we see!
When you read other accounts of the captivity of Judah, what you find is that the idea of being captive was not received well. There were small uprisings and rebellions that took place between Judah and Babylon and it would be very easy for a young man to fall in with the mindsets around him. It happens all the time and to people much older than 16. We get frustrated and angry and act out of the frustration of what we feel IN THE MOMENT. This is why we have the phrase "I'm sorry" today.

Daniel chose to do something really extraordinary. In the face of grumbling, complaining and expressed bitterness, Daniel chose to cling to the purpose that he was aware of.

The prophesy also went on to say that those who resisted the invasion would be slaughtered and those who behaved wisely would be spared for the purpose of re-building and restoration.


Daniel chose to look past all of the angry cries of defiance to a GOD ALLOWED judgment from those in captivity with him and begin to actively pursue his purpose. Sometimes it is necessary in our pursuit of purpose to put some measures of separation between us and those who do not have a full understanding of our purpose.

I'm not speaking of those who have an opinion opposite of our own about employment or ideas. I am speaking of those who would actively seek to stop your purpose in life.
We long to find acceptance and value to those we travel with and unfortunately, there are times where we choose acceptance over purpose. Toxic people will seek to oppose your purpose through their words more than actions and if you allow yourself to take your eyes off of your purpose to focus on their words, you can find yourself looking for reasons to abandoned your purpose.

You will set yourself back years by continuing to allow those who attack your purpose into your circles of influential voices and you must pay attention to what the voices of your circle of influence are saying.

Sometime ago I came into our bedroom at the house and my wife had pulled every outfit out of the closet and laid them on the bed in one massive pile. Beside that massive pile was one solitary outfit. I asked what was going on and she pointed to the single outfit and said, "This outfit makes me feel pretty, smart, sexy, and glad to be the person that I am and I am going through my clothes, item by item, asking if it makes me feel the same as this outfit. If it does, it stays. If not, it goes." I adopted that into my own life and began going through everything I owned and asking this simple question, "Does this bring me joy?" If not, then no matter how sentimental of a feeling it invoked, it was gone. I felt immediate freedom! The question seems so simple to ask, but it is powerful in it's answer. So the question should be asked of every relationship that we would allow into our circle of influence. "Does this person push me toward my purpose?"

When you are in pursuit of your purpose, you may not know what is coming on your path ahead, but you will begin to be able to discern the voices that propel you into that purpose. When I began to focus intensely on my purpose, what I discovered was that my voices of influence circles needed to change. While the people in those circles are valuable to me, I needed to move them from the circle of influence. My Face book feed had to change and my relationships began to shift in their levels of influence. When you focus on your purpose, God Himself will begin to move people in and out of your life and you need to expect change to take place. 

This will not always be easy because you want people you love to be a part of your journey and you will even make yourself ill trying to keep them when in fact God is moving them out of your way. Please be aware of movement in the circles of those around you.


Daniel had a story and Daniel was aware of his purpose. No, I do not believe that he knew if he would survive what the next day would bring, but he most certainly was aware of the prophecy. He was aware that there would be a group taken into captivity. He knew, as he walked, that he was part of that group.

He knew of the prophesy that certain people would be carried away and when he was gathered up for the exile trip, he saw how he was part of the prophecy. He did not know what would happen to him ultimately but he did know the purpose that was given to those being carried away. He was being carried away and God was going to restore Judah eventually. He knew that God would use everything that was done with Daniel’s group to bring that restoration about.

Daniel knew that Nebuchadnezzar's days were numbered and that while he was a captive in the palace, he was responsible to show those around him God’s power.

And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.” ~ Jeremiah 25:12-14

Sometimes the only light we see is what is believed in the heart and it is in that light we make our way to the next step. One at a time if need be.  When you get a fixed understanding of your purpose it will stretch your mind and a mind that is stretched by a new understanding or experience can never go back to it's old dimensions.

Daniel pursued his purpose with tenacity because no matter what lay before him, he knew that God was going to use the actions of those in captivity to bring about a restoration of relationship between God and His people.  Your purpose here is vital because God will allow you to display Himself to those around you to bring restoration of those who are held captive!

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." ~ Luke 4:18-20

Jesus came to die in order to empower us to live this passage out! While Jesus walked the earth it was able to be accomplished through Him. When He ascended to Heaven, His Spirit descended to live within us. Instead of one against a blinded world mindset it has now become millions against a blinded world mindset.

Pursue your purpose and stay tuned to the next several posts as we look into the story of Daniel and his pursuit of purpose!

Climbing with you,

*If this post encouraged you, give this one a look! "Who built this furnace anyway?"