Preparing for God’s Plan of Action

August 20th, 2007 • Category: Book of Daniel
by Steve Adams

Today’s scripture: Daniel 2:12-16 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Steve Adams):

So how did Daniel know exactly the right thing to say to the man who was about to execute him? How did he exercise such “prudence and discretion?” The simple answer is that he listened to God. But why didn’t he crumble under the immense pressure of the moment? And, how was he able to follow through later and tell King Nebuchadnezzar both his dream and its interpretation?

Years ago I heard the following quote during a Christian teaching, attributed to basketball coach Bob Knight: “The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It’s the will to PREPARE to win that’s important.” I think Daniel prepared to win! In chapter one, we learned that he sticks with the diet that he believes God desires for him. He seems to realize that he’ll need to be ready to do important things for God in the future. His diet seems like a trivial thing, but it paid off huge spiritual dividends, resulting in his rapid increase in knowledge and skill. I just bet he followed God in a lot of other things that seemed insignificant to others, such as taking all the time he needed to pray and talk to God.

Once I heard a mother urgently crying out the name of her two year-old son. “RICHAAAARD!!! RICHAAAAARD!!!!!” her voice echoed from the building across the street, just after she discovered he had wandered outside her apartment and possibly into the nearby drive. She just HAD to find her son (which she did). Proverbs 2 says we’re supposed to seek wisdom in the same way. “If you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding . . . then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” (verses 3, 5). How often do we cry out for insight the way Proverbs urges us to? I think Daniel did!

The American Heritage Dictionary says discretion “suggests prudence coupled with self-restraint and sound judgment.” That’s Daniel in chapters one and two! I’m afraid we often get complacent when we accumulate some wisdom. Once we learn enough to get along reasonably well, we often lose some of the willingness to discipline ourselves as much as we previously did, when circumstances were more desperate. We lose some of the hunger! Isaiah says God’s ways are so much higher than our ways, which means there’s always tons to learn, even for the wisest among us!

Thought for the day: Am I hungry for wisdom?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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