A few posts ago, I touched on some thoughts of biblical leadership, how God prepares us for this role, what he does to equip us, particularly in the context of Moses’ story. And try as I might to come away from this subject, God’s brought me back to the same place, looking at leadership through the lens of Daniel…
But before I get into the meat (ha!) of this message, let me give just a little bit of background: Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem and besieged it, he carried off treasure from the temple of God to his god’s temples and basically everyone in this kingdom came under his control. He ordered his chief officials to find the best of the best among the young people in this new kingdom, those young men who looked good, were smart, had an aptitude for learning and could serve in his kingdom. They were to be trained for three years and after that, were to enter into the service. Daniel is just a young man, a Jew, under the control of man with a mighty kingdom, and yet he is set apart:
1) Being a leader oftentimes means starting in the hard places:
For Daniel, this meant literal captivity, sure he had been chosen out for his physical appearance and aptitude, but this would be for a kingdom that valued the opposite of what the Jewish people did.
2) Being a leader starts with resolve:
Once these young people had been set apart for the king’s service, the were to be given the king’s food, but Daniel had something different in mind. Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine.”
3) Being a leader mean having a plan:
Daniel 1:8b “He asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.”
4) Being a leader means being different:
It really would have been so much easier to go along with orders, just eat the king’s royal, awesome, tasty food, food that he had fed to his other strong youths in training and that were making them thrive…why cause such a stink?
What were the results of Daniel’s character, resolution, plan and courage to stand out?
God showed up. vs. 15 At the end of the ten days they (Daniel and his friends) looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.
When man takes away, God gives
vs. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
And He gives Big:
vs. 17 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in the whole kingdom.
Whether you’re a parent, a student, a business executive, or someone who might label themselves as “just clocking in,” you are a leader
. Stand up, stand out and God is going to show up Big.
More on Daniel to come.