Daily D – Daniel 5:11
“There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the days of your predecessor he was found to have insight, intelligence, and wisdom like that of the gods. Your predecessor, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, mediums, Chaldeans, and diviners
DANIEL 5:11 (CSB)
Our family joined a Southern Baptist church when I was a junior in high school. Each Sunday there was a general assembly of the whole congregation before everyone moved to their Sunday School classes. We would sing a song and then someone would bring a brief devotional.
A young man spoke during this time one morning and talked about his tools. He loved his tools. He talked about using the right tool for the right job. I was asked to give the devotional the next week. I was in college and was preparing to go into the ministry. I picked up where my predecessor left off.
I also talked about tools. I talked about having tools that were clean and sharp. Jesus wants to use us as tools for his work of redemption and reconciliation. He can use best those tools that are well-prepared for his work. I talked about getting all the education you could get whether formal or informal, in the classroom or on the job.
I grew up hearing people put down the eggheads who taught at colleges and seminaries. Much more valuable to this crowd of people were those who authentically walked with God. Something always grated my soul when I heard statements like these. Was it not possible to be well-educated and to walk with God? Did having a good education necessarily mean that a person would become a theological liberal?
Daniel was known as a man “who has the spirit of the holy gods in him.” Everyone knew he was a deeply spiritual man. In Daniel 6, it is his spiritual commitments and habits that land him in the lions’ den — and that saved him from being devoured by the lions.
Daniel was also known “to have insight, intelligence, and wisdom like that of the gods.” Daniel was both book smart and God smart. He was intellectual and spiritual.
When God looks for the right tool for the job, he looks not only for what fits the work to be done but also for the one that can withstand the demands of the operation.
Walking closely with God and expanding our minds are not mutually exclusive matters. The closer we walk with God, the more insight, understanding, intelligence, and wisdom we gain, and the more we desire. Consider Adam. God brought to him all the animals to see what he would name them (Genesis 2:19, 20). God gave him an organized mind. He gave him capacities to see and understand differences of ability and purpose and to name them accordingly.
Walk closely with God. Spend intentional and focused time with him day by day. Seek to know his will and his ways throughout your days. Get all the education you can. Earn degrees. Never stop learning when you graduate for the last time. Master a new idea or a new skill every month. Remain intellectually curious about everything worth knowing.
Sadly, the majority of Americans never read a book all the way through after they graduate the last time. How would you like to become one of the top thinkers of our day? Read a book a month. Better yet, read a book a week. (I have recommendations.)
Daniel walked with God like few others found in the pages of the Bible. He also loved God with all his mind. Go thou and do likewise.
I will walk with God as closely as I can and I will maintain a curious mind all of my days.
Our Father, I want to know you and experience you in all things at all times. Show me your heart’s desire for everyone I meet. Empower me to serve in a manner that expresses your love for everyone everywhere. Stretch my mind that I may think your thoughts after you. Give me knowledge, wisdom, insight, and understanding to equip me and to make me more useful to you and the work you have placed before me. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.