29th May, 2007

The Politics of Daniel

In Daniel 2 there is an amazing account of God’s Spirit gifting Daniel with a word of knowledge and a word of wisdom. In this account, I think we can see how living by God’s principles is better than living by the principles of man.

King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that greatly troubles his heart. It isn’t clear whether Nebuchadnezzar even remembers the dream, but he is so troubled that he calls all his “magicians, astrologers, sorcerers” to tell him the dream.

Of course, the magicians et al. ask Nebuchadnezzar to tell them the dream so that they can give the interpretation. In response, the King declares:

My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap. However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall received from me gifts, rewards and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.

As you might imagine this was quite a blow to all the “wise” men of the Kingdom. And, despite all their pleading and explaining that this would be impossible, the king issued a decree to kill all the wise men of Babylon. This, of course, included Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

When Daniel heard about the decree and the reason for its being declared, he went immediately to his home and gathered his friends. Why? “That they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret….”

They got together and prayed. That is the first step of godly politicking. Realizing that the solutions to our issues will not be found in ourselves or in earthly kingdoms, ways or wisdom; rather, we must seek God first.

As a result, the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision.

Daniel immediately gave thanks to God and blessed Him. So, the second step of godly politicking is by faith hearing from God and by faith believing on Him and His word to us. The natural outflow from that is a thankful heart toward God.

The third step of godly politicking is one that eludes us all too often, however. Beginning in verse 24 it tells what Daniel does once He has God’s word to deliver to the King.

Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation.”

So, what is the third step? Well, Daniel doesn’t use his wisdom to serve himself. He doesn’t even use his wisdom to serve others who believe like he does. He also doesn’t use his wisdom in a way that simply says, here is the wisdom, do with it as you please. Instead, Daniel shares his wisdom and saves not only himself, but he saves the king and all the “wise men” of Babylon, including those who worshiped other gods, who were magicians and sorcerers, and the like. Most politicians today do all they can to tear down their opponents; Daniel walked in the opposite spirit and gave what He heard from God to everyone, to bless them.

There is yet another step to godly politicking. When Daniel speaks before the king, he takes no credit for himself and gives all the credit to God. He even tells the king what had already gotten all the wise men into trouble – that no one could do what the king asked. God alone reveals such mysteries, says Daniel, and God revealed the mystery to me. He even humbly explains that God didn’t choose to reveal it to himself because he had more wisdom than others. Daniel says that God simply made it known so that the king could know the thoughts of his own heart. God simply wanted to bless the king.

So, the final step is giving all the credit, the glory, the honor to the King of kings, remaining humble throughout.

In summary, this account from Daniel shows that in all our positions of influence we must (1) pray fervently; (2) have faith and thankful hearts; (3) exercise all power and wisdom in love and mercy; and (4) give God all the glory. I believe this speaks to every sphere of influence in our lives. When we use God’s gifts to our own advantage or to the advantage of those with whom we share likemindedness, then it is just as it describes in 1 Corinthians 13: “a sounding brass and a clanging cymbal”; it is empty and it is absolutely unprofitable to me. May those in the Church who separate and put down other brothers and sisters because of their differences in beliefs look to Daniel, who didn’t even try to use God’s gifts to destroy unbelievers; instead, he used God’s gifts to save them. May Christians who are called into spheres of influence never attack an opponent; instead, may they walk in love, speaking and living God’s truth.

God give us hearts that seek to put Your and others’ interests above our own always.

Responses

Amen Bryan. Another good post for me to chew on.

Another amen, Bryan.

Well put, Bryan! God bless you!

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