By Zac Poonen
In the book of Daniel, we see the beginning of the movement of God’s people from Babylon to Jerusalem. This is a type of what we see today of God-fearing people moving out from compromising Christendom to God’s new covenant church, responding to God’s call that says, “Come out of Babylon, My people” (Rev.18:4).
That movement in ancient Babylon began with one uncompromising man – Daniel. He was concerned about God’s purposes and fasted and prayed for their fulfilment. The building of a pure church for God in any place usually begins with one man who has a burden of prayer before God that says, “Lord, I want a pure church in this place for You, and I am willing to pay any price for it”. You may have to carry that burden for a long time before you see its fulfilment. We have to carry this burden in our hearts, just like a mother carries a baby in her womb. That was how Daniel carried this burden.
One outstanding characteristic of Daniel’s life was this: “He made up his mind not to defile himself” (Dan.1:8). He wastotally uncompromising when it came to obeying even thesmallest commandments of God’s Word. Jesus said, “Whoever annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches the least commandment , he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt.5:19). The men whom God will use to build new-covenant churches are those who will teach obedience to the Lord’s major commandments, such as giving up anger and sexual impurity (Matt.5:22, 28), as well as obedience to the Lord’s minor commandments, such as women veiling their heads when they pray and prophesy in church-meetings ( 1 Cor.11:1-16).
In the beginning Daniel had to stand alone, while all the other Jews compromised. But when Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (better known by their Babylonian names of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) saw Daniel taking a stand for God, they picked up courage and joined him (Dan. 1:11,12 ).
I believe there are many people like Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, today, in many places, who have a desire to build a pure testimony for the Lord in their locality. But they don’t have the courage to take a stand on their own. They need a Daniel to lead them. And when a Daniel does arise in their village or town, they will come out and join him.
Four wholehearted young men in Babylon were a more powerful witness for God than the thousands of compromising Jews there, who sought to please the king. Daniel and his three friends who stood for God had an influence on the most powerful nation of their time (Babylon) and its rulers.
Half-hearted Christians – even thousands of them – cannot be a light for the Lord in any town or nation. God needs wholehearted believers – for “it is not by human might or numbers that God does His work, but by His Spirit” (See Zech.4:6).
God is looking for men today who are burdened to build a new covenant church in their locality – and who will never compromise, whatever the cost.