Wisdom and power are his. Daniel 2:20
On her college volleyball team, my granddaughter learned a winning principle. When the ball came her way, no matter what, she could “better the ball.” She could make a play that left her teammates in a better situation—without throwing tantrums, blaming, or making excuses. Always make the situation better.
That was Daniel’s response when he and three Hebrew friends were taken into captivity by Babylon’s king Nebuchadnezzar. Although they were given pagan names and ordered to take three years of “training” in the enemy’s palace, Daniel didn’t rage. Instead, he asked permission not to defile himself in God’s sight by eating the king’s rich food and wine. As this intriguing Bible story shows, after consuming nothing but vegetables and water for ten days (Daniel 1:12), Daniel and his friends “looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food” (v. 15).
Another time, Nebuchadnezzar threatened to kill Daniel and all palace wise men if they couldn’t repeat the king’s disturbing dream and interpret it. Again, Daniel didn’t panic, but sought mercy “from the God of heaven,” and the mystery was revealed to him in a vision (2:19). As Daniel declared of God, “wisdom and power are his” (v. 20). Throughout his captivity, Daniel sought God’s best despite the conflicts he faced. In our own troubles, may we follow that example, making the situation better by taking it to God.
What battles are you facing now? As you turn from those troubles and seek God, how does He make your journey better?
Loving God, life’s challenges feel overwhelming today. As I turn to You, inspire me to shed my despair to journey better with You.
Who were Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah? (Daniel 1:6). They were “Israelites from the royal family and the nobility” in Judah taken captive by the Babylonians (v. 3; around 605 bc). These young men were among the handsome and intelligent young men (probably in their early teens) chosen to serve in King Nebuchadnezzar’s palace (v. 4). Once in the king’s service, they were given new names—Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (v. 7)—and were expected to assimilate into citizens loyal to the king and the culture. But we see early on that these men, though captives, continued to love and serve God. They didn’t defile themselves with the king’s food, which was consecrated to the Babylonian gods (vv. 8–16). Later we see their devotion to God in the refusal of Daniel’s friends to bow down to an idol (ch. 3) and Daniel’s continued prayers to God (ch. 6).