The Last Man Standing
There is a 23 year gap between Daniel chapter 4 and chapter 5. The lesson of humility before God learned by Nebuchadnezzar was completely lost upon his successor Belshazzar. In a rather sacreligious act, Belshazzar throws a drinking party for his court that includes the mocking of God through the abuse of the captured articles from the Jewish Temple. God intervenes in the party and ominously writes his death warrant on the wall- a message only decipherable by the now aged Daniel. That night, Belshazzar was put to death and the Babylonian kingdom came to an end as Darius rides into town- inagurating the reign of the Medes and the Persians. Through it all, Daniel remained the "last man standing".
Under the reign of Darius, Daniel is elevated to a position of high authority in the administration of the Medes and Persians- even to the point of becoming the nation's highest authority. Jealousy among his rivals hatches a plan for Daniel to be executed by dismemberment in the lion's den. Once again, God intervenes and Daniel is left, "the last man standing".
So what are we to learn from Daniel's example? First, faith isn't a single choice that one makes, but a lifelong strategy for living. From his early near-death experience under the reign of Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, to the challenge brought by his rivals under Persian king Darius, Daniel faced each day with the same strategy- one foot in front of the other walking the path of faithfulness to God (no matter how "hard", or "scary"). Second, Daniel wasn't afraid to be a "religious extremist". Compromise in order to "get along" or not "rock the boat", just wasn't in his playbook! While most people prefer to navigate through life "under the radar", Daniel had a way of being the one solitary individual who could always be seen in his faithfulness to God as "the last man standing".
Our conclusion regarding Daniel is simple: unflinching faithfulness to God is by no means easy, but it does come with God's promise...
Proverbs 10:25 When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.