In reading the first two chapters of Daniel, I noticed two defining characteristics of this young man.
1. He had a servant’s humble heart.
2. He seems to have known, in that know-that-you-know sort of way, that Nebuchadnezzar, conqueror of the known the world, was in turned being ruled by somebody higher up – God.
Daniel knew that God was greater and more powerful than Nebuchadnezzar. And Daniel was very much a servant, with a servant’s heart…
But he was first the servant of God, and second the servant of Nebuchadnezzar.
So look at how this played out in his life…
The king has a dream. It troubles him and he wants to know the meaning. But then he ups and decides that he wants the wise men to tell him what the dream was before they interpret it. That way he will know that they truly have the power to interpret it as well. It’s his test.
Obviously, Daniel and his friends weren’t part of this initial group called, and there is no explanation for why. But the wise men who heard this decree appear to have been freaking out. Their lives were about to end in a very unpleasant way and their families destroyed as well, all because this “all-powerful” king of the known world decided to issue an impossible request. This was not fair!
When Daniel got word of the king’s ruling, though, he didn’t freak out. It says he “replied with discretion and discernment” as he found out why the king had issued the edict. He even went straight to the king to ask for time. I don’t think everyone had access to the king like that, so that reaffirms Daniel’s position with Nebuchadnezzar.
But then he goes to his friends to ask them to pray with him, and his request shows what he was really doing.
He was, quite simply, going over Nebuchadnezzar’s head.
He was going to the Master that he owed his first allegiance to.
Say your immediate boss issued an impossible command that was going to result in the loss of your job. But if we go back farther in your story, the only reason why the immediate boss was your boss at all, was because a higher up boss had asked you to work under him for that season of your life.
Furthermore, you had a personal relationship with the higher up boss — a relationship that you cultivated regularly.
That’s exactly what Daniel knew his situation to be. God was his Master, and God had temporarily placed him under Nebuchadnezzar’s rule.
So when Nebuchadnezzar issued his order to destroy all the wise men, Daniel went over his head, to God. He and his friends requested compassion from the God of heaven concerning the king’s mystery. (His humility shows here again, in the nature of his request.)
And God granted it. Daniel’s thanksgiving to God again demonstrates the conviction that gave him confidence in going over the king’s head. Daniel 2:20-23:
Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men
And knowledge to men of understanding.
It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him.
To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise,
For You have given me wisdom and power;
Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s matter.
There it is. He knew God was the one in control and with the power, so that’s who he went to.
It seems so simple… yet do we have the wisdom to do so in our lives? Do we have the trust and conviction to go to God without fear, knowing that He is the One who is really in control? Do we have the humility to go to Him without demanding the resolution that we want… willing to accept that whatever path is laid before us on the other side of our prayer is controlled ultimately by Him?
Holy Spirit, please teach us that faith, trust, and humility in our own lives!