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Daniel Faith Humility Obedience Prayer

Conviction

3 August 2021
2 minutes to read

Proverbs 26:4-5 contain a contrasting pair of principles:

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” 

Prov. 26:4-5

We should…value the importance of spending time with God in prayer: by understanding God’s revealed will, we can find a clear context for both the present and the future.

In Daniel chapter 5, we see that Daniel knew how to apply this. The question is, do we?

Daniel’s name means “God is my judge”, a name that fits him well. He was very perceptive of God’s direct interest in how he lived his life, what he did and said, and that God was constantly evaluating him. So he spoke to God about his problems, and he got answers; perhaps in his childhood years, he had developed habits of prayer and reliance on God. Certainly, by the time he was taken to Babylon, Daniel knew God well enough to see that he must accept the adverse conditions of captivity and maintain personal holiness in the palace there, just as he had done in Jerusalem. All this is necessary background to explaining Daniel’s abruptness towards Belshazzar in chapter 5, given how differently he had spoken earlier to Nebuchadnezzar in chapters 2 and 4.

[B]y the time he was taken to Babylon, Daniel knew God well enough to see that he must accept the adverse conditions of captivity and maintain personal holiness in the palace there just as he had done in Jerusalem.

Daniel’s aim was always to pass on accurately what God had revealed to him. In the first case (with Nebuchadnezzar), repentance was advised. In the second, God’s judgment was irreversible, and that’s the way Daniel told it. Nebuchadnezzar acted foolishly, and Daniel responded wisely, without falling into the trap of unhelpful sparring. But with Belshazzar, Daniel’s words showed that he knew the fool must not be allowed to think he could get away with his folly. In this, Daniel was like the Lord Jesus who spoke with compassion to keen listeners, yet with a clear, decisive warning to the hypocritical (Mark 6:33,34; Matt. 23:13-36).

A key lesson to learn from this is that we should follow Daniel’s example of humility. This means being acutely perceptive about how God is dealing with someone rather than taking it upon ourselves to intervene (it’s worth noting that Daniel waited to be asked for his input). We should also value the importance of spending time with God in prayer: by understanding God’s revealed will, we can find a clear context for both the present and the future.


Geoff Hydon, The Church of God in Mount Forest

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