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Heroes of Faith

Frank Friedmann

Have you ever read about the faith heroes in Hebrews 11?

Pretty amazing folks. But when we look more closely, we see something surprising.

They’re really just ordinary people who dared to do something extraordinary.


What did they dare? When they faced adversity, they dared to have faith in God. Verse thirty-three refers to Daniel, whose faith stopped the mouths of lions. Wow! Have you ever wanted that kind of faith? In fact, I recently heard an artist express this very thought when he sang, “Give me faith like Daniel in the lions’ den”. Let’s be honest. Sometimes we can feel dissatisfied with our own faith, seeing it as small and weak. We can believe our Father wants to bless us, but He can’t because we just don’t have enough faith. And so we can wonder … what does it take to have faith like Daniel?

Dear ones, there’s something we must understand about faith and our relationship with God.

It takes just a molecule of our faith to release a mountain of God’s blessings. Need an example? How much faith did we have when we trusted Him as Savior? Not much. And how did He respond?

He blessed us tons!

If God’s work in our lives depends on how much faith we have, we’re in big trouble. Because that would make God’s actions dependent on us instead of Him. So, before we echo that call for faith like Daniel, let’s take a moment to consider his faith more closely. Daniel was among the best and brightest in Jerusalem. When Nebuchadnezzar captured that city, Daniel and others like him were carried off in captivity. There they received education in the language and literature of Babylon, preparing them for leadership roles (Daniel 1:3-6). We get our first glimpse of Daniel’s faith soon after his arrival. Not wanting to break the Jewish dietary laws, he took a tiny step of faith and asked for a vegetable diet in place of his daily portion from the king’s table (Daniel 1:8-14).

Please don’t read this lightly.

Jerusalem had been defeated, the people subjugated, and the temple looted. Taken nearly 1,700 miles from home, these young leaders faced a program designed to erase every trace of their Jewish culture, including the Lord, and remake them as Babylonians. Life as they knew it was gone.

Things couldn’t look much bleaker.

Daniel certainly was in no position to ask for anything … but he did. Why? Because he still held on to a bit of faith in the Lord. Not a mountain of faith, mind you. Just a little, a smidgeon. Just enough to ask for a simple concession about food to help ease the pain of captivity. This tiny step of faith might seem trivial in our eyes, but in God’s eyes … it was huge! And how did God respond? He did as He always does.

He did abundantly more than Daniel could even imagine.

God didn’t just enable Daniel to thrive physically on this diet. He gave added blessing by making him to learn everything about Babylon ten times better than everyone else (Daniel 1:17-20)! Wow! Talk about a mountain of blessing in response to a molecule of faith! Daniel hadn’t even asked for help learning Babylonian.

But God didn’t stop there.

He also met a need that Daniel didn’t even have yet. He gave him a supernatural ability to interpret visions and dreams, which came in handy (Daniel 2) to save many lives, including his. This gift of interpretation … this supernatural solution for a problem that didn’t exist yet … this miracle that wound up saving many lives … was part of the very same blessing that God gave to Daniel when he stepped out in faith concerning his food.

Do you see it? Do you see the pattern?

One seemingly trivial step of faith on Daniel’s part, and God kept on giving beyond what anyone expected. What an awesome God we have!

Dear ones, we must understand something about Daniel’s faith.

It wasn’t monumental, as some might see it. And it didn’t just suddenly appear in the lions’ den. It began small, kind of like yours and mine. This young man, whose life had been turned upside down, held on to a smidgeon of faith, just enough to trust God with a trivial thing like his food. So we must ask … just how much faith do we need to become a faith hero like Daniel? The answer is surprisingly simple. Not much! For Daniel, becoming a faith hero began with a humble request for different diet. For us, it might begin with a seemingly small decision to say ‘Yes’ to God when we normally wouldn’t.

Because what matters isn’t the size of our step of faith, it’s that we dare to walk with Him in the first place.

Jesus said that faith like a tiny mustard seed was enough to move a mountain and that, with it, nothing would be impossible for us (Matthew 17:20). He told us further that one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much (Luke 16:10).

That’s how it was with Daniel, whose mustard seed faith grew into a force that helped preserve Israel until they could return from captivity.

That’s how it will be with us too, when we join the faith heroes in Hebrews 11 and dare to place our small faith in our extraordinary God, the One Who will do so much more than we can even imagine.

Frank Friedman is the founder of Our Resolute Hope, an IOM Board member, and friend of Dr. Phinney. Review our leadership team HERE.