Hero of Heroes Pt.3 – Wisdom

Daniel was wise

Daniel, a God fearing man, devoted to the faith but serving in a palace that defiled God with certain practices. What struck me about Daniel was his wisdom in how he got out of these types of practices. For example, through his good judgment and communication skills Daniel’s wisdom came from how he conversed with the kings officials. He never argued or rebelled when the officials told him what he had to do. Instead he simply spoke to them in wisdom and tact by offering other solutions to their assertions.

Daniel chapter 1 – wise with the king’s officials.

Daniel and the other wise men went through significant training prior to serving the King. During their training one aspect was to eat off the King’s table of meat and wine, supposedly to make them healthy and strong. However to Daniel, and Israelite customs, eating this way was sinful and dishonouring to God. Why? Well, the king’s food offered the first portion of the slaughtered meat to idols and a portion of the wine to a pagan altar. Since Daniel never made exceptions that trumped serving God, he presented another option to only eat vegetables and water instead. He created a test for 10 days to only eat his way and after the ten days the king’s officials were to judge his health and strength. Instead of letting his feelings of fear and emotions of worry dictate his decisions, Daniel used wisdom to solve problems.

“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

Daniel 1:12-16

Wisdom in conflict

Proverbs 3:7, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil”. This was Daniel… nothing feared him more than his fear for the Lord. He did not allow what he could SEE stop him from believing in what God saw. More importantly, He knew what God saw by believing in His law and making choices based on his knowledge of Him.

Similarly to Daniel’s situation Jesus also faced what he could not eat, which would have defiled His own beliefs in God. The Devil tempted Jesus with bread to trick Him into serving His immediate satisfaction rather than His eternal one.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Matthew 4:1-4

How did Jesus combat the devil… He did it with scripture, the ultimate truth. Wisdom speaks truth and asks, what does the Bible say about this?

What wisdom looks like for us

Daniel, known for his outstanding gifts in language and literature brought about favour from the kings. However, he never took credit for the gift of wisdom he had. Instead he handled it with honour unto God for he knew it came from Him. For us, living in wisdom means stewarding the gift God has uniquely given to us for His glory. What does that look like for you? For me, its motherhood and using wisdom to best parent my daughter to know Jesus. To act in a way that is pleasing and accepting to the Lord and in difficult matters turning to God in prayer.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

James 1:5

Wisdom is understanding how to live in faith amidst our unpleasant feelings and difficult troubles. Many times in the book of Daniel you see him distraught and troubled with emotions but continually turning to God for understanding, hope and mercy. No hero is without fault or weakness. We are God’s children, His heroes of the faith based upon our testimony of how He first saved us. But the saving does not stop there. The Holy Spirit is also our Hero of HEROES and he is always ready to help us (John 14:26). God’s mercies are new every morning and I praise God for that because boy do I need it every morning!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Hero of Heroes

Who’s the Hero of Heroes?

In the book of Daniel, we learn about Daniel – a devoted man of God who served in the palace among other highly esteemed men (Daniel 1:3-6). He served different types of kings in his lifetime. God gifted him with favour and the ability to interpret all kinds of visions and dreams. Known for his outstanding abilities, handsome good looks (Daniel 1:4), wisdom and courage – Daniel had it all! He’s a hero! But when we read about Daniel we see that the true HERO of HEROES was God working through him.

Daniel’s faith – the lions den.

King Darius was reigning in this time and he liked Daniel very much due to his exceptional abilities. So the King wanted to appoint Daniel to the highest position in the kingdom. When the administrators and governors heard about this they were jealous because he had such favour with the King. So they wanted to find him guilty of something but knew Daniel wasn’t guilty of anything. So they had to get crafty..

…the administrators and the governors 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. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

Daniel 6:4-5

So these administrators and governors went as a group to the king and said:

“May King Darius live forever! The royal administrators, prefects, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.  Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” So King Darius put the decree in writing.

Daniel 6:6-9

The men knew how devoted Daniel was to God. So they easily caught him praying as he normally did. With the new decree in place, King Darius had no choice but to throw him into the lions den. But THIS is the redemption story…

The Lord rescues Daniel, the Hero of heroes.

An angel of the Lord came to rescue Daniel by shutting the mouths of the lions. When the King approached the lions den – Daniel answered him…

“May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.” The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

Daniel 6:21-23

The Hero of Heroes – Jesus.

Since we are focusing on the hero of heroes, we look at Jesus in this story. Where can we see Jesus in this story through Daniel?

Daniel was innocent and yet charged and sentenced to his death. Jesus was a truly perfect man without fault and charged to his death. Mark 14:55 says, “The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.”

Faith is not based on our own possible outcomes but on the eternal communion with God.

Daniel did not die of this persecution, but the possibility was around every corner. Jesus died, and rose again, both were faithful through persecution even to the point of possible death. This is a good example because it shows us how faith is not based on our own possible outcomes. But rather on the certain outcome of eternal communion with God. We need to have this eternal perspective. This depth of relationship doesn’t necessarily remove suffering and pain, but can bring a layer of peace to our lives.

Trust in the HERO of HEROES that lives in YOU.

Like Daniel and Jesus we too can have a personal relationship with God – through prayer. Daniel prayed three times a day to posture his heart towards God. Daniel 6:10, “…Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God”. Jesus himself often withdrew from large crowds to be alone with the Father to pray. Luke 5:16, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed”. We too need to find ways in our daily routine that posture our hearts to God. Making time for our relationship with God will grow our faith in Him. Be bold like Daniel and embrace Jesus – the HERO of HEROES who lives in you!