Last week we looked at how a secular event, the king after a nightmare demands an explanation from his wise men, has deeply impacted Daniel’s life. We shall see that while Daniel does not seem to be directly summoned with the wise men called to the king, the results of that meeting, threaten his life. The wise men could not tell the king his dream nor its explanation and so the execution of all wise men was ordered. The soldiers come to Daniel’s door.
It seems to me we live in a similar sort of time and can draw some applications from this passage. Our leaders are all trying to figure out how to deal with the present pandemic. National guidelines are set, state guidelines are set, and actually demographic (people over 65 with underlying health conditions) guidelines are set. Rules are being set. Wear masks. Wear gloves. Distance. Corona is at our door threatening our life with mandates from higher authorities. Let’s read the historical account.
12 Because of this the king flew into a violent rage and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. 13 The decree was issued, and the wise men were about to be executed; and they looked for Daniel and his companions, to execute them. 14 Then Daniel responded with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the king’s chief executioner, who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon; 15 he asked Arioch, the royal official, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16 So Daniel went in and requested that the king give him time and he would tell the king the interpretation.
- In chapter 1, Daniel encounters the kings steward and bargains for a ten day trial diet. Today he encounters the kings executioner at his door. Daniel is now facing “the police.” He is not facing the guardian of the young men but the official enforcer. This is intense! “Daniel responded with prudence and discretion to Arioch.”
- I note the officer has been identified by name. He is seen as a person in his own right. A. Daniel responds with “prudence.” Can you give a synonym, a similar word or two for prudence?__________________ B. Can you give an example of needing to respond with prudence? Makes me think of talking to the officer who pulls me over for speeding, speaking with a librarian about a fine, or??__________________________ C. What might be the opposite of prudence?_________________ D. Discretion means_________________
- I note that Daniel now goes to the king. He carries his request to a higher person. He realizes the issue is not between him and the executioner but between him and the king. What clues us that we need to go to a higher authority?______________________
- I now note that Daniel does not engage the king in a power or control argument but bargains for time. Do we have bargaining power with enforcers of Covid restrictions?___________________________ What might we bargain for? ________________________
17 Then Daniel went to his home and informed his companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 18 and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and. his companions with the rest of the wise men of Babylon might not perish.
- Daniel goes to his community. He does not play the Lone Ranger. What are the advantages and disadvantages of “group thought”? ______________________
- Daniel tells them to seek “mercy.” He is not going to right/wrong thinking like the earlier discussion last week. Likewise we now see Daniel take the issue to an even higher authority, “the God of heaven.” How is a prayer for mercy different from a prayer for justification of your position? _____________________________
- Daniel & Co pray not only for their salvation but mercy for all the wise men. Perhaps we might ponder our territorial tendencies in prayer – bless my people!
19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel said:
“Blessed be the name of God from age to age,
for wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons,
deposes 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 light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my ancestors,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and power,
and have now revealed to me what we asked of you,
for you have revealed to us what the king ordered.”
- Daniel receives the answer to his prayer. Daniel “blesses” the God of heaven. Reread his prayer of blessing. List five things Daniel is thankful for._____________
- During this time of sheltering restrictions that we struggle with, can you think of five things you would praise God for today? Share with a friend. _______________