Daily D – Daniel 2:20-21
He said, “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. DANIEL 2:20-21 (NLT)
Daniel 2 demonstrates the truth of Daniel 1. In 1:17 we read these words:
God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.
Notice how God gave gifts to Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, and Daniel before they needed them. In chapter 2, an executioner was sent to kill them along with every other wise man. Everyone in the academy, professor and pupil alike, was under a death sentence.
I grew up in a place where advanced education was often frowned upon. As one deacon said about his pastor who was beginning doctoral studies, “As soon as they finish ruining him, he’s going to go somewhere else for more money.”
It is wise to remember that those of advanced education are the ones who created a vaccine for a heretofore unknown virus in less than a year. It is good to recall that those professorial stalwarts in their ivory towers help students experience the mind stretches that empower them to dream bigger dreams and accomplish great things for God and people.
Daniel and Friends lived what they said they believed. They lived lives God could bless (1:14-16). They used the gifts God gave them. They asked for time to solve an unsolvable puzzle. They sought God’s wisdom and perspective.
God heard and answered their prayer. He gave Daniel the dream and the interpretation Nebuchadnezzar had asked for. What did they do before they took the happy news to the king? They prayed again. If their first prayer was tightly focused and somewhat urgent, this one expressed gratitude, awe, and wonder. (See 2:20-23.)
Notice especially Daniel’s focus in the prayer. He says, in effect, God is in charge here. He has “all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.”
Pay particular attention to the middle sentence above. God controls the course of world events. He removes kings (and presidents) and sets up others. The recent election left some people giddy and others grieved. Yes, this happens every time. Yes, it will happen again soon enough. Let us remember who is really in charge here. Let us give him a great deal more attention than those who temporarily occupy elected and appointed offices.
Notice from this prayer that God is the giver of all good gifts and he distributes them to individuals with purpose. Some become academic scholars. Others provide orderly government. Every profession and trade has its origin in the mind of God.
What gifts and abilities has God given you? In what context are they most effective? How will you honor God and serve others with what he has assigned to you?
I will learn all I can in my area of expertise and focus that knowledge on strategic application.
Our Father, thank you that you are in charge here. Presidents and popes, kings and queens, dictators and oligarchies come and go, but you remain forever. In that truth, with that confidence, I will live a life you can bless, a life that overflows with your goodness to the benefit of all I have the privilege to serve. Empower each of us to take up the tools you have placed in our hands and use them to build a better world. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”