May 19, 2017, 10:41 AM
God gave Daniel a discerning spirit with which he interpreted king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. When the latter asked; “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?” (Daniel 2:26) His response came, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mysteries he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.” (Daniel 2:27-28)
Daniel then analysed the king’s dream and put the pieces together again and they all fit – something none of the king’s magicians and wise men could do. “The Great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.” (Daniel 2:45b) God works even with unbelievers. Through the dream he was warning king Nebuchadnezzar of what would become of his kingship and kingdom. He also spoke of upcoming events that by no stretch of his imagination he could have perceived. It is God that establishes kings and authorities over us. “Praise be to the name of God forever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them.” (Daniel 2:20-21)
King Nebuchadnezzar was amazed at Daniel’s ability of discernment. Straightaway, he “fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honour and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him;” adding “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.” (Daniel 2: 47) God was at work in his servant Daniel.
Daniel prophesied that succeeding kingdoms will all collapse, but that the “God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” (Daniel 2:44) This was ample reason for the king to elevate Daniel and shower him with gifts. “He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.” (Daniel 2:48) Daniel did not forget his colleagues; or else his spirit of excellence would have pricked him terribly. In fact, he succeeded in getting the king’s consent for them to be appointed administrators.
‘Signs and wonders’ are tools God uses to show he is real and living and he showed himself worthy in this instance on behalf of Daniel by backing him. You may not consider yourself a Daniel and may conclude God will not honour your word when you want to accomplish marvellous deeds on his behalf. Nothing is farther from the truth. As we exercise our faith, God steps in. Here is another example.
King Nebuchadnezzar invited all his senior officials to the dedication of a golden image he had made. Everybody stood before the image at the ceremony as orders were given for them to ‘bow and worship’ it at the sound of music. The penalty for disobeying this decree was that all offenders would be thrown into the fiery furnace. At the sound of the music everybody bowed before the image except ‘some Jews’ – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - and that spelt trouble with the king.
Fully convinced of their standing with the God of Israel they defied the king’s decree. As a result, they were summoned and given an ultimatum. They responded thus; “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into this blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”(Daniel 3:16-18)Daring and bold, isn’t it?This is the product of an excellent spirit.
The degree to which you know your God will determine your behaviour even in times of severe crisis. You will remember he says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” whatever the case. God says, “I will fight your battles for you.” Jesus takes it a step further. “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:19-20) When in a tight spot, do not try to wriggle your way out, just hand it over to the Holy Spirit. The three were thrown into the fiery furnace but to the king’s astonishment God provided them a coolant instead. “The fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” (Daniel 3:27)
Believing the word of God and applying it to every circumstance as did the three youngsters is adequate proof of the spirit of excellence that inhabits us. It is a spirit we each can cultivate with God’s help. If you desire this excellent spirit, ask. He gives to all who do. It will be for his glory.