As I read the beginning of the story of Daniel today, I was struck by three character traits which Daniel possessed and which I pray that God would develop in me. After King Nebachadnezzar ordered for all of his wise men to be put to death because they could not tell and interpret his dream, Daniel responded admirably in chapter 2, verses 14-15:
When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact.
Rather than responding with anger or fear or panic, as I would have likely done, Daniel had the God-given presence of mind to respond with wisdom and tact–something for me to remember the next time I start to feel panic set in when things rapidly start to fall apart.
After Daniel and his friends prayed for help from God and God revealed the mystery of the king’s dream, Daniel gave another admirable response. Rather than gloating over the fact that he was able to figure out a mystery that none of the other wise men could, he responded to the king with humility (chapter 2, verses 27-30),
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. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these:
“As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.”
I feel like this would have been a great opportunity for Daniel to “toot his own horn,” so to speak. I am reminded of the many times when my pride leads me to make those comments which highlight my strengths and my abilities (or so I think at the time). How much more pleasing it must be to our heavenly Father, who humbled Himself in ways which I cannot even grasp so that I might be saved, when we respond with true humility and give the credit to the only One who is worthy to receive it.
Oh Father, help me to be wise and tactful, thoughtful and careful with my words and responses to difficult situations. Help me to be humble. Convict me when I am prideful, and when I am tempted to build myself up, give me the wisdom and humility to choose a better way. Help me to acknowledge You in all my ways and to turn to You to direct my steps. I pray this in the Name of the revealer of mysteries. Amen.
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