Daniel and his friends were in a tough place. They were some of the king's wise men, and the king had put an impossible situation before them. The king had a dream, and he wanted to know it's meaning. He called all the wise men of the land, saying that he needed them to tell him what his dream was and what the interpretation of it was or they would all be killed. This is what happened:
Daniel 2:26-30 (ESV)
17 Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, 18 and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered and said:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”
24 Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the interpretation.”
25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and said thus to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who will make known to the king the interpretation.” 26 The king declared to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” 27 Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: 29 To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be. 30 But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.
- There was an urgent need among Daniel and his companions.
- The need was so great that it might bring devastation to them in the future.
- When an urgent need was at hand and danger lay in the future, Daniel asked his companions to pray.
- Daniel asked his companions to seek mercy from God.
- God is the God of heaven.
- The mystery was revealed to Daniel.
- God was merciful as they asked him to be.
- Before Daniel did anything with the answer, he blessed God for the answer.
- Daniel blessed the name of God.
- Daniel names God’s attributes that have been in use to bring about the answer to their prayer.
- Daniel gives thanks and praise for what God has given to him to answer the prayer.
- Daniel acknowledges that God is the one that gave him the ability to know the answer.
- Daniel recognizes that God is the one who has done it before he even acts on what God has given him for the answer.
- Daniel has faith in God that what God said was true.
- Daniel goes to deliver God’s message.
- When Daniel is asked if he is able to bring the answer to the mystery the king needs, Daniel does not say that he can do it.
- Daniel says that only the God in heaven can reveal the mysteries the king seeks.
- Daniel does not take any of the credit for the ability that God has given him to give the answer to the king.
- Daniel gives glory to God for the working in the king’s life that God is already doing.
- When Daniel speaks of himself, he says that his knowledge is not of himself. He does not take that credit that is due to God.
There are times in our lives when we have an urgent need that if not provided for may bring devastation in our future. What do we do in those times of need? Do we stay alone and try to figure it out? Do we depend on ourselves? Well, when Daniel had an urgent need which was actually going to bring death if no answer came, he did two things. He went to his companions, and he asked them to pray. In times of our trials, we do not have to be alone. We can go to our friends and ask them to pray as well. God does not ask us to figure it out ourselves.
What do we do when God gives us the answer to our questions and prayers? We can learn from Daniel also about this. God answered the prayers of Daniel and his companions. God gave him the needed words to say to the king, but before Daniel even went to the king to tell him the answer, Daniel turned back to God. In our day, we can get so busy that when we receive an answer to prayer, we just run with it and forget the One who gave it to us. We may pat ourselves on the back for figuring out what needs to be done or just go on happily then with our lives. Let us be like Daniel, who blessed God, named his attributes, and gave thanks and praise to him before he did anything else.
We can give thanks and praise to God for his answer, and we can also let it be know that the abilities God gives us are not of ourselves, but they are from God. This is what Daniel did before the king. When asked if Daniel could give an answer to the question the king had, Daniel did not take credit for the answer. It was God who gave the answer through Daniel, so Daniel gave God the credit first. How often do we take credit for the answers and abilities that God gives us? Too often.
I think we get things backward most of the time. When we receive an answer to prayer, we share the answer, then, if we remember, we tell others that God is the one who answered our pray, and then we go to God himself to thank and praise him. Let’s be like Daniel who went to God first with his thanksgiving and praise, then told others that God was the one who gave him the answer and ability, and then told what the answer to the prayer was.
“Dear God, I bless your name forever and ever. You are the one who has the great ability to answer my prayers and give me mercy. I praise and thank you for the prayers of mine that you have answered. Thank you for giving me the abilities to see the answers. I want to come to you first with my praise. I also want to tell others that you are the one who gives answers. Any ability that I have is from you. Help me not to take credit for that which is from you. Let my words tell of your greatness before others that they too may know that you are God.
In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen.”