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 Pt.2 – Humility

Daniel was Humble

Daniel always gave God the credit because he knew giving God the glory was more important than receiving his own. This is true humility; recognizing God’s power above our own.

Daniel chapter two – King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

During the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel was facing his possible death once again. The King had a dream that troubled him greatly. So much so that he couldn’t sleep. So he needed an interpretation but no wise man that he summoned (aka: magician, enchanter, sorcerer and astrologer) could give it to him. Instead they said, “what the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans” (Daniel 2:11). This response made the King so furious that he ordered a new decree that all wise men be put to death – this included Daniel and his friends (Daniel 2:12-13).

Once Daniel heard about the new decree he asked the King for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him (Daniel 2:16). Daniel at the time had no clue what the interpretation was, but he knew God did. So he urged his friends to pray with him. Through their unity as believers they humbled their hearts to God and pleaded for His mercy (Daniel 2:18). And God answered…

God answers their prayer.

During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.

Daniel 2:19-23

Humility recognizes that when we are weak GOD, the HERO of HEROES, is strong!

Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” We need to focus on God’s strength working in us and humbly approach Him in midst of our own trials like Daniel.

After Daniel received the interpretation from the Lord he praised Him for it. Then he approached the man in charge of the execution and essentially says, “STOP, I CAN INTERPRET THE KING’S DREAM!” (I imagine him yelling this as it was probably an intense moment). Then Daniel sees the King…

The King asked Daniel, “are you able to interpret this dream for me?” 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…” ..

Daniel 2:27-28

In verse 28, Daniel could have taken the credit to impress the King by saying, “yes that is I – the master of dreams and interpretations”. But no, he gives God, the hero of heroes, all the credit! Then proceeds to explain to the King his dream and what it meant. The King replies and recognizes it is God who works through Daniel… He said:

“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.” Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon…

Daniel 2:47-49

Humility and favour

Daniel’s motive to serve the King was humble and pure and he always trusted in Gods plan above his own. I believe if we work on humility the favour in our lives will follow. But be careful not to hope in the favour… because timing is still the Lords. He will lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:6, Matthew 23:12, James 4:10). Trust in Him. Daniel received gifts, high positions, favour upon favour with different kings yet constantly faced persecution and possible death at every corner.

Every hero has their villian.

Through Daniel’s story it encourages us to give God the glory in all things. Our villian, the devil, wants to manipulate us to believe we are the heroes of our own story. But resisting the devil means working on our own humility and focusing on Jesus; the TRUE HERO of our story.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:6-11

The battle has already been won!

The best favour we will receive in this life is our eternal communion and relationship with Jesus (Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8). Even though every hero has a villian the eternal battle has already been won. The ultimate act of power has already been proven through the humble sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5-8). In this alone we can trust that God has what is best for us today, tomorrow and forever!