“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
21 And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
22 He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.
Daniel–one of the wisest men we ever read about in the Bible. Daniel, who rose from captive slave to ruler of provinces. Daniel, who remained ever faithful to God. Daniel, who served king after king with his knowledge and wisdom and always remembered to point to the Giver of said knowledge and wisdom.
I’ve always loved this second chapter of Daniel, where Nebuchadnezzar calls all the wise men in to tell him what his dream was and then the interpretation. No one else could do it (duh), but Daniel, upon hearing that the king had ordered all his wise men killed in a fit of rage over their failure, begs for just a little time. He closes himself in his room with his friends and fellow God-followers. And he prays. He prays, and God reveals the secrets. God brings light to the darkness.
It was a literal life-or-death situation–one that affected not only Daniel and company, but hundreds if not thousands of other learned men who had been asked to do the humanly-impossible. It’s no surprise, then, that God provided. God saved not only Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael–God saved all the wise men of Babylon through them. God made His might and power known to the king. God proved Himself not only faithful but omniscient and omnipotent in a land known for its value of things of learning.
We’re never surprised when God shows up on the grand scale. But if you’re like me, sometimes you forget that He shows up just as spectacularly when the secrets that need revealed are small.
Daniel needed God to move in a big, noticeable way that day–just as his friends needed Him to do when they were tossed into the fiery furnace. As Daniel needs later when he’s thrown into a den of hungry lions. But let’s not forget chapter one, shall we? From the moment they were brought to the palace, these four young men were determined to remain faithful to their God–and from that first moment, God answered by revealing His small secrets to them…which is to say, by filling them with wisdom and knowledge. They could out-think the Babylonian sages. They could out-perform the wise men in their own realm.
Because God gave this to them. God filled them. Their lives weren’t yet in danger…and if He hadn’t filled them with all knowledge and learning and wisdom, one could argue that they wouldn’t have been in positions to need His later intervention. But our God is one who sees far ahead…and into all the crevices.
Our God doesn’t just heal the generals–He heals the servants.
My family’s in one of those places where our feet are pointing toward new, unknown paths. That’s stressful. Not life-or-death. But stressful. And as I contemplate Daniel this week, I’m reminded anew that we all find ourselves in those places, right? We all have been and will be there. But the God who foretold the rise and fall of the greatest kingdoms of the ancient world is the God of this too. If nothing’s too great for Him, then nothing’s too small either. He’s the God of the infinite…in both directions.
More, the God who holds us all in His hand will fill us when we ask. He’ll give us what we need to know to take the step He wants us to take. Now, He doesn’t usually reveal EVERYTHING, right? When Daniel prayed for revelation about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, God didn’t show him that if he revealed this to the king, he’d be given a promotion, but that it would make him enemies so numerous that they’d start plotting ways to kill him and his friends so that, for the rest of his life, he’d be miraculously avoiding other death sentences. That may have been too much even for Daniel!
No, God told him what he needed right then. To save his life. To take the next step. And because he was faithful in that, more followed.
My friends, we don’t always have to know what our grand calling is. We just need to be willing to take one step with our hand in His. We just need to trust Him in this mystery, knowing that the rest will follow.