#4 of 5 in a series of Sunday Sermons 12.17.21
#4 – Daniel – a wiseman
At one time or another, we all wonder if we are in the right place at the right time. Because this is such a universal experience, this series seeks to illuminate for us, people who’s situations sure didn’t appear that they were in the right place, and yet, they were in the exact right place at the exact right time and were used in some pretty astounding ways.
In review, you will remember:
- Job, a target, who in spite of his success, suffered greatly and was rewarded with great surprises.
- Elihu, a spokesman, a tender young man, who waited patiently to speak and become a truth-teller.
- Esther – a queen, and beautiful orphan, who lived as an exile but became queen with a brazen voice who blessed her people
Today, we will look at:
Daniel, a wise man. Purposed. Prophetic. Powerful.
As I write this, Christmas is next week, so it is not uncommon to consider wisemen this time of the year. I’m sure you remember those guys who came from the East, bringing gifts to baby Jesus. They were considered learned astronomers and wise in academia and spiritual understanding. The East at the time offered the best of learning of everykind, and these men came to Jesus, based on what they knew and understood about when the Messiah would be born. They had traveled a great distance, fueled by their learning, to present their gifts to this child wonder.
But long before these wise men sought to find Jesus there was another wise man. This wise man tho’, was different.
Daniel – a wise man
This wise man, Daniel, wasn’t even really a man yet. He is described (in the book that bears his name, Daniel 1) as a youth, or young man. Scholars believe he was actually an extrordinarily gifted prince in Israel. King Nebuchadnezzar, of Babylon had come to Jerusalem, overtaken it and taken captives back to Babylon, he took the cream of the crop.
Those that he deported were,
“… of the royal family and nobility… youths without blemish, of good appearance, skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding, learning, competent to stand before the king…”Daniel 1:3-4 ESV
These adolescence were the AP (advance placement) kids at school, who were also eagle scouts or gold award recipients. They attended the finest of private schools, were involved in community service projects, were tutored in etiquette, manners and public speaking. Daniel and his three friends were the “Creme de la Creme”. They were going places! Watch out world.
And here they were being deported to Babylon! What??? This could not possibly be right. This is not who they were training to become, or where they were expecting to live. Talk about hopes dashed and expectations shattered! Their education was not intended to be used in Babylon. How could they be in the right place and this the right time?
It was precisely because Daniel was a wise man that he was taken captive. It was precicely because he was appealing to the enemy king that he was being deported. His training and qualifications were actually all leading him to this very moment. Crazy, right?
Daniel – Purposed
When Daniel arrived in Babylon, he and his three friends were placed in a three year study program. During that time they would be taught the literature and language of the Chaldeans. Then they would be called before the king to see if he approved of them, their training and their expertise.
During this time, their food was to be the same food and drink that the king ate. They would be offered the best foods and wines, along with the best education, but, this is where the young and wise Daniel spoke up.
Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the kings food, but rather he would eat what foods were kosher to the Jews. After negotiating a plan with chief of staff, Daniel and his friends were proven to be better and fatter than all the others. In fact, we are told that there was none found like Daniel in all of the kings palace. God was with Daniel and gave him understanding, skill and wisdom, he also understood visions and dreams. His purpose had paid off and he was now beginning to realize that just maybe, he was in the right place.
Daniel – Prophetic
In the old teatament times there were men and women who were prophetic, meaning they heard from God and delivered God’s message to people for God. Prophets were recognized in every region and nation. Jehovah God had prophets and even the idols, like Baal had prophets.
A prophet seeks to do what God tells him to do, or say what God tells him to say, go where, etc., you get the point. This was the focus of Daniel’s heart. Here he was in Babylon, not his choice, but it seemed to be God’s. Daniel maintained his devotion to Jehovah God, his prayer, and his dependence upon God for insight, understanding, knowledge and wisdom.
Although the king’s servant had changed Daniel and his friends names to Chaldean names, thus attempting to contradict the truth of those names, none of them turned away from their prophetic destiny. Bred into their names was purpose, destiny, focus and strength and noting in the Babylonian reeducation system could break their resolve to serve Jehovah God.
Let’s peek at those names and their changes:
- Daniel means God is judge. Changed to Belteshazzar – Bel will protect.
- Hananiah means God is gracious. Changed to Shadrach – inspired of Aku
- Azariah means God is my help. Changed to Abendnego – servant of Negro
- Mishael means who is like God. Changed to belonging to Aku
Bel, Aku and Negro were all Chaldean gods. Herein lies the contradiction and opposition against them. Would they succomb to this change to their identity, values, practices and devotion?
Nebuchadnezzar and his systemic three year program to reeducate these wise men was all about tearing down their God given purpose, name, resolve and polluting it (reshaping it) for his kingdom.
Daniel cotinued to walk in the confidence of who he was before God. He continued to listen to God’s voice and he continued to speak what God showed him. Nothing was going to change his prophetic calling. No land, no king, no edict, no mandate and no name change.
For the next four chapters in Daniel, we find him interpreting the king’s dream. Being thrown into a firey furnace and surviving. Interpreting another dream. Translating a some grafitti written on a wall by a ghostly hand, during one of the kings banquets. Violating the kings mandate to not pray to god for 30 days. Being thrown into a hungry lions den, AND SURVIVING (again!).
This man was moving in the prophetic and God was all over him! Was he in the right place at the right time? (Duh!?)
Daniel – Powerful
Those experiences would have been more than enough for me to be satisfied that God was using me and I was in the right place and time. But Daniel continued to move in this purposed and prophetic lifestyle until he was 80 years old!
The furnace, lions den and handwriting on the wall were all just tastes of the power that Daniel was about to move into. Daniel’s true power came as he himself had visions and dreams.
His powerful prophetic messages are found in Daniel chapters 7-12, and they are not for the faint of heart. In these chapters he speaks of the end of times and the anti-christ. He sees beasts, The Ancient of Days, a ram and a goat, and he prays for his people. He talks in some veiled way about 70 weeks, a burning face that talked to him, falling down in fear, and kings of the north and south. He talks about the abomination that makes desolate, those who are against God, and the time of the end.
Daniel’s visions have been studied by all the great scholars through the years and many interpretations have been offered. Daniel’s descriptions are duplicated in the book of Revelation, by the Apostle John, who lived some 600 years after Daniel lived! That is powerfully prophetic!
So you tell me, my friend, was Daniel in the right time and place?
Job and Daniel share certain characteristics. They were both successful, educated, leaders, and they both had reason to question God’s timing. Yet, their preparation was exactly what put them when and where they needed to be.
Daniel and Esther start out pretty much as opposites. How could their lives have anything in common? Could they share the notion of being in the right place? Both Esther and Daniel ended up in the king’s palace by the mighty hand of God. Both exactly in the time they needed to be there.
Daniel and Elihu were opposites too, yet both were wise spokesmen at just the right time and the right place.
Dear one, it is my firm belief, that we need more Daniel’s. Those trained in wisdom, insight, and educated in the ways of God (and even academia). Those whose purpose is the prophetic and in the fulness of its intended power. Ones who hear what God is saying and share it. Ones who understand what’s happening, and can give strategic, prophetic direction. Ones who will not bow to the mandates of the king but purpose to obey God alone, no matter the lions den or firey furnace.
God is wanting to equip Daniel’s to speak His wisdom and interpret the signs. God is looking for wise men and women who are purposed, prophetic and powerful.
If that’s you, now is the right time and place.
Next week is our final lesson in this series and we will look at Mary and Joseph – carriers of Jesus. Betrothed. Believed. Became.
See you then
Go with God,