Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. 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; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.
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.” Daniel 2:19-23
The bright orange nozzle is still fresh in my memory. My high school lab was surrounded by counters and sinks, but not one of them matched the teacher’s sink, which stood at the front of the lab, marked out with a large, orange-capped hose hanging directly above it.
“What’s that for?” I asked.
“That’s the emergency hose. Some chemicals can seriously damage your skin and eyes, so be sure to wear your lab equipment or I may have to spray you down.”
I shuddered at the thought of holding still as my teacher shot high-pressure water into my corroding eyes. No one would ever again need to remind me to wear safety goggles!
Few organs are as personal and sensitive as the eye, so it’s no wonder we shrink back from trusting it to the care of anyone other than ourselves. Our previous posts have explored a paradox that governs our vision: our eyes cannot see clearly without the help of others! We might detest an eyewash or dread the optometrist, but—truth be told—we cannot do without them! The same truth applies to our spiritual vision because independence from God and others never leads to health! When we are reliant upon our own perspective we grow reactive toward God and others, and increasingly blind to what is actually happening in and around us (Jn. 9:40–41). Thankfully, we have a Teacher who is ready to cleanse our vision as we walk through this dirty world (Mt. 9:29). But what does this look like in the everyday?
Life is full of dust and damage; a war zone with real dangers and real casualties. In the midst of so much trouble, we find it difficult to see clearly and often choose to panic over fears and prosecute others for their failings rather than pursue truth. Daniel didn’t do this but instead provided a stunning example of how an eternal perspective yields down-to-earth results.
The secret of Daniel’s power is manifested in his words of praise (Dan. 2:19–23). In essence, Daniel states the obvious, but from a position of faith that we rarely choose to experience. He thanks God for giving him the answer to a problem that only He could solve. In other words, Daniel received the answer simply because He believed that God knew the answer and was willing to tell him; so simple but so uncommon! But there was a lot more to Daniel’s prayer than simply checking a box off his to-do list, because Daniel’s faith was derived not only from a knowledge of God’s Word but also from an understanding of God’s heart.
We all have knowledge, but it is experience that brings understanding (1 Cor. 8:1). Daniel had experienced the goodness of God in his adversities and this experience lent him a personal understanding of how God felt about the debacle that faced him and his peers (Dan. 2:27–28; 2:30). His personal knowledge of God’s heart brought him into an intimacy that was not available to others (Ps. 25:14; 81:8–10). The fact is, knowing God’s Word does not amount to knowing God’s heart, just as complying with a father’s instruction does not amount to appreciating the father (cp. Lk. 15:17–18 to Lk. 15:29–30). Had Daniel not understood and appreciated who God is, he would not have bothered to seek His help. Faith is relational, it begins with knowledge but grows through increasing understanding and trust in the God who loves us. That is why Daniel praises God as the One who gives “wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to the understanding” (Dan. 2:21); God rewards those who have the wisdom to choose Him as their source. Let’s put it another way: to get the right answer, one must first ask the right questions, and to ask the right questions, one must consider who it is they are asking (Lk. 8:18; Jn. 9:39–41).
A Better Way
Daniel challenges us to meet today’s difficulties with genuine faith. During a crisis he chose not to rely on human wisdom, nor did he react to the actions of others, but committed himself entirely to God. It didn’t matter that the wisdom of the wise men was insufficient or that the king’s edict was unreasonable, because the entire situation was ordained by a King who never fails. His sovereign, faithful God was at work in all of the details and complexities, accomplishing His perfect purposes to His glory and the blessing of countless souls. The same holds true in our time; opinions flood the internet but God remains the only one who knows what is happening and how to lead us into blessing.
There’s so much more to consider with this topic and I don’t doubt that I have missed something. Do you have a thought or question?
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