Daniel 1:17 – 21 gave an account of the exploits of four Hebrew slaves in Babylon.
17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so, they entered the king’s service. 20In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
21 And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
This was not a fluke, it was real and the assessment was done by the king Nebuchadnezzar himself; he observed Daniel and his three friends had something different, something unique and outstanding. They were ten times better than everything and anything that the whole kingdom could offer.
Whatever God has called you to be, either a teacher, writer, dancer, doctor, engineer, a nurse or a student, God wants to give you the ability to excel, the anointing to truly be the head and be ten times better in what you do. God is very pleased when you succeed and excel in what you do. John 15:8 (NLT) says, when you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
Also, in Matt 5:16 the bible says – In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
God what us to excel and to excel very well.
One thing was very clear in the exploits of these four Hebrew slaves; God was the one that gave them the ability, the knowledge and the wisdom. Their exploits were supernatural, even though they were operating in a natural context, they were drawing from God’s unlimited resources to confound their world.
Daniel 1:17 says “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds”.
God can equally give you special abilities to do well in whatever He has called you to do. God can supernaturally empower you to accomplish your dreams, aspirations and things within your profession.
Exodus 31:2-6 (NIV) says:
2 ‘See I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills – 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.
. 6 Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also, I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you.
Bezalel and Oholiab were empowered by God to produce craft works that set the tabernacle they built apart as a great master piece of their days. It was obvious at the time, that they got special ability from God. They were not bragging about their abilities to craft, it was obvious and evident. Moses said in Exodus 35 vs 30 -35
30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See (obvious), the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others.35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.
God gave all of the skilled workers ability to do great works and some, ability to teach others. Also, in the new testament, 2 Peter 1 vs 3 (Amp), the bible says:
3 For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [[d]full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).
Divine power from God can enable us, if we know him and press into all that God has for us. Daniel and his friend did not limit God’s power in their lives to just interpretation of dreams and visions, but they opened up themselves to all that God had in stock for them. They were in a political position to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and affect the world they lived in at the time. God wants to anoint you professionally in order to give you the platform you need to influence your community, culture and world in general. We must open ourselves and submit to His Lordship, embrace His anointing and power to give us the ability and wisdom beyond our natural comprehension.
An excellent Spirit
How come these Hebrew slaves obtain such high level of wisdom and knowledge within three years? They exhibited such wisdom that they became rulers in a kingdom where they were not eligible to vote.
Daniel was known as man with an excellent sprit, Daniel 5 vs 10 -12 says:
10 Now the queen by reason of the words of the king and his lords came into the banquet house: and the queen spoke and said, O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:
11 There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;
12 Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.
Daniel and his three friends were successful even among their enemies because they possessed an excellent NOT a critical spirit that only sees the negative side of things or the impossibilities. The Chaldean original plan is to use the selected few of the Hebrew boys, train them in the way of the Babylonians, their gods, traditions and lifestyles. They will marry Babylonian wives and they will be used to project the agenda of diluting the Jewish faith and people, thereby making Israel a permanent colony of Babylon. These Hebrew boys saw past that, they were determined to live different and shine as stars for God’s glory in that strange land.
Today, if we are to live out supernatural wisdom that God gives; among other generals, we need to learn from Daniel and his friends how to develop an excellent spirit.
We have a choice to make
We have to make a choice to accept Jesus as our Lord and master, that is the greatest choice to make. God’s divine power is potentially made available to us when we accept Jesus into our lives and I said potentially because there are more choices to make. The choice to believe what God said about us that we are the head and not the tail (Deut 28 vs 13). To believe that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4 vs 13) and all that God said about us in his word.
You have to make a choice to once and for all identify with God.
Dan 1:8 says “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with wine which he drank…” There are lots of distractions today that seek to lure us away from the vital choice just like in Daniel’s time when the Babylonians wanted to change their tastes, diets and philosophies of life in order to compromise their ways of life and rob them of their confidence. It is absolutely necessary to make a once for all choice of identifying with Jesus in whatever circumstance if we are to develop an excellent spirit.
The choices we make are continuous; Paul said in I Cor 13 vs 31b, “…. I die daily”. There was a fresh commitment to these choices on a daily basis. The choice to daily stand for God and his word; to believe his promises and be prepared to take steps in line with His word and Holy Spirit.
What are your values about excellence
I will make a list of some of Daniel’s values so we could draw lessons from them:
- Daniel was Disciplined and Determined
Daniel 1vs 8b: “he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.
He was very disciplined and determined to be different and hold unto God’s values and that worked well for him and his friends. We need to be disciplined and be determined to be the best God has intended us to be. He sought for permission – seeking for permission before things are done is no longer common nowadays. People just do what they like; such attitude will not take us far for God’s glory.
Paul in I Cor 9 vs 25 says “And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we, an incorruptible” Daniel was temperate and restrictive in his desires, choices and options. In today’s world everything goes, no wonder we no longer see our signs and we are unable to showcase God’s power and wonders to our world.
- Daniel was a man of prayer; Daniel 2 vs 17 -19 says
17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven
Daniel was cleared about the source of the answer; he said in Dan 2 vs 28 “…but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries…”. Daniel could brag about interpreting the king’s dream but he did not. The promise of gifts from the king was not enough for Daniel to draw attention to himself but rather that God’s glory must be known was his mission.
- Daniel was a man of integrity, things has to be done properly and correctly; Daniel 6 vs 4 says
4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.
No doubt about where Daniel and his friends stood on the matter of integrity; God cannot work wonder in us and through us if we are not prepared to be all out for him.
- Daniel was a man giving to reading; Daniel 9 vs 2 says
2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 2:1).
There is a place of supernatural revelation and there is a place of understanding by study, reading, making the effort, hard work and dedication to our jobs. Development by training is crucial if we are to be ten times better in what we do.
- Daniel was a man that refuses to give up, no wonder he stood out in his generations. Daniel 10 vs 2 & 12-13
2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. 12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.
Daniel persisted in study and prayer until he got his answer; today we give in so easily. At the sight of slightest pressure, we cave in, no inner stamina to stand the test of time.
- Daniel was willing to be tested. Daniel 1vs 12 -14 says
12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
Test is crucial to show forth our God’s given abilities; likewise, it is also the proof of our faith in God and his promises. Daniel and his friends were prepared to be tested at all stages of their lives. Every time, they were cleared about their choices and prepared to put their lives on the line. In all cases, they shined like stars. Every time they come through these tests, they influenced the King, leaders and the technocrats of their days and the whole nation in general.