In my Home Church (Bible Study / Cell Group) this week we are studying the prophet Daniel. Specifically we will be examining him as a shining example of a man who stood firm in his convictions. When commanded to cease worshipping God, he never considered disobeying God. Instead, he pressed on with his routine of praying three times each day. He knew there would be fearsome consequences, yet trusted that obeying God was preferable to any punishment he could face at the hands of men. You can read the story, known to children around the world as “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” in Daniel chapter 5.
Studying Daniel made me think of another section of the Bible that has been on my mind recently. Romans 2:24 reads, “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you“. This passage refers to behavior among the Jewish people of Rome during Paul’s days. These people had turned their backs on God and sunk into every type of ungodly behavior. I find it a sobering thought that people who do not know God can blaspheme His name because of my behavior. What a responsibility it is to be a light to the world and to “walk the walk.”
This brings me back about 650 years to Daniel. Had Daniel backed down and ceased worshipping God, or even if he had partially backed down and made his worship private, the name of God would have been blasphemed by the Persians. They would have seen Daniel as a man who was afraid to stand for his convictions. But Daniel did not back down. He stood firm and rather than being blasphemed, the name of God was exalted by the Gentiles. In Daniel 5:26 – 27 we read the proclamation of the Persian king:
“For He is the living God and enduring forever,
And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed,
And His dominion will be forever.
He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders
In heaven and on earth,
Who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”
Here was a man, a Gentile, who praised God for His greatness. He was driven to this proclamation because of the wondrous work God performed in rescuing Daniel. It goes without saying that had Daniel allowed himself to be intimidated and had he refused to stand strong for his convictions, the king would never have praised God. Rather His holy name would have been blasphemed.
What an honor and what a great responsibility it is to call ourselves by the name of our Savior and to be His ambassadors on earth! As Christians we bear the name of Christ. Through our example – through our lives – God’s name can be praised and God’s name can be blasphemed.