Inhale. Exhale. In a blog series several months ago, we talked about how what inspires you (what you “breathe” into your mind and spirit) influences what you exhale into the world. Being in the world and trying to exhale the culture of heaven is like breathing through an oxygen mask to avoid toxic fumes. When on an airplane, the familiar safety spiel will instruct you to ensure your own oxygen mask is safely in place before assisting others with theirs.
So often as ambassadors of heaven, we are focused on making sure everyone has his or her oxygen mask in place. This is part of the core of missions; to connect others to the breath of the Holy Spirit. Are we, however, checking that our own mask is in place?
Daniel lived a life of favor and promotion despite the times his people were suffering. He was an unsuspecting ambassador, plucked from his people with the other most eligible young men to serve as human plunder for King Nebuchadnezzar. He was set smack dab in the middle of an environment that was toxic for spiritual growth. He knew he had to have his “oxygen mask” on right away. In the first chapter, verse 8, is says “Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine”. He refused the splendor being offered to him in favor of water and vegetables as a sacrifice unto the Lord. The very next chapter the King has his dream. When no wise men can explain it and a death decree was issued for all of them, Daniel prayed earnestly for the interpretation- which was given to him! When brought to the king, Daniel has yet another opportunity to exhale pride instead of exhaling Heaven. The King asks if Daniel can interpret his dream. Daniel could have easily jumped at the opportunity to say, “Yes! I can! I am so much better than all of your other wise men! Promote me!”. Instead, he gives God the glory.
“The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?”
Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these”
By now, Daniel had established a reputation of unworldly trustworthiness. His refusing to compromise his mission from Heaven for the kingdoms of earth was evident.
“At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.”
They knew in order to put him in a compromising condition, they would have to require him to deny the customs of heaven in favor of the customs of earth. They convinced the King to issue an edict stating that all who did not worship the king were to be thrown to the lions. When Daniel still refused to compromise his devotion to the Lord and was thrown to the lions, he was spared! Something so miraculous resulted in a change all around him. Daniel had not only kept his oxygen mask secure, but he had connected King Nebuchadnezzar to an oxygen mask of his own! All of the exhaling Daniel had done on his environment about the power and goodness of God now was inhaled by Nebuchadnezzar in a triumphant edict. Thousands of oxygen masks must have dropped from heaven that day to all parts of the kingdom.
“I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.
'For he is the living God
and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
his dominion will never end.
He rescues and he saves;
he performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.'
So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”
Commit anew today to remain undefiled as Daniel was. In the fact of the temptations of pride, greed, and compromise, to keep your oxygen mask in place and continue to exhale the uncommon things of heaven. You never know... your doing so could, like Daniel, secure the oxygen masks of entire nations.