Focal Passage: Daniel 2:13-23, 27-28a
I’ll speak for both of us … we would rant and rave about the injustice. We’d post about the insane official who is threatening our lives, we would call our congressman, we’d start a GoFundMe for attorney’s fees as we gear up for a legal battle.
At least that’s what some of us would do, and we would be justified in doing so. Putting ourselves in Daniel’s situation helps us to fully appreciate his response.
The Bible teaches that Daniel calmly asked some clarification questions about the ruling, went to the king and asked for (not demanded) more time, then he went to his friends and they prayed. When we are met with a crisis what solutions do we turn to, worldly or heavenly?
Let me be clear, God has given us wisdom and resources that we should steward well but in times of trouble we should turn to the throne of grace first (Hebrews 4:16). What are some lessons we can learn about prayer from the Old Testament narrative?
Our petitions should be humble. How did Daniel direct Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to pray? He urged them to “ask the God of the heavens for mercy concerning this matter” (Daniel 2:18).
They did not go to God with some self-actualized “faith” and claim the answer to this mystery be theirs. They did not even outrightly ask that God would reveal the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to them.
They approached the throne with contrition and pleaded with God specifically for mercy. And what seems almost too casual God answered, “The mystery was then revealed to Daniel in a vision at night” (v. 19).
There are some aspects of prayer that we just simply can’t understand. This part of the story begs the question, would God have given Daniel the vision if they didn’t pray? With a simple reading of the narrative, the answer to that question would seem to be “no.”
Here’s the inevitable conclusion we must come to, prayer works. So instead of trying to unravel the mysteries of prayer, let’s just resolve to humbly pray more.
Our praise should be passionate. Notice what Daniel didn’t do. He didn’t receive the answer from God and move on to the next step to save his own skin. He didn’t reveal the interpretation to Nebuchadnezzar and take the credit for himself. Immediately after Daniel received the vision he praised God (vv. 20-23).
Daniel made it crystal clear to the king that it was God that revealed the interpretation and not “because of any wisdom that I have” (v. 30).
We should recognize, like Daniel did, that our praise is a part of glorifying God, both privately and publicly. Daniel could have very easily used this circumstance for his own self-interest, but he did not.
What was the result of Daniel’s actions? He was made “ruler over the whole province of Babylon” (Cg. 2:48).
Another mystery to inquire about, would Daniel have been promoted if he didn’t praise God? We can’t be sure.
But Daniel does seem to embody the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:12, “whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Leave the mysterious parts to God and resolve to pray and praise like Daniel. B&R