by Pastor Keith Knight
Daniel 1:20 ‘And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.’
Many of us have high hopes that our kids will excel in ‘what they put their minds to,’ and whether we choose to send them to public school, or Christian school, or homeschool, we really want them to learn as much as they can and be wiser and more understanding than all the other kids. (We DO have a bias when it comes to our kids, and we secretly want them to be better than all the other kids, right?) But….were Daniel and his friends ten times better because they had a great education? Were they ten times better because they learned at a faster rate, or even because God gave them the ability to learn or some sort of super-human wisdom? Thankfully, we find the answer in chapter 2, when Daniel praises God for revealing the king’s dream to him…..
Daniel 2:30 ‘But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.’
If you read the in-between context of what’s happening here, it is clearly shown that Daniel, even though he had been given a gift, knew that the only hope he had of revealing the king’s dream was at the mercy of God. He told his friends to cry out for mercy and ask that God would save them. (2:18) But what is the secret that is being revealed here? What is the reason that God blessed these young men with wisdom?
TO DECLARE GOD’S PLAN.
We often mistake these stories as models for what we should be, or do. We often look at Bible stories and tell our kids, ‘be like Daniel!’ We even have hopes that our kids would follow God so that they would be wise and be prepared to live lives that are different than the world….which is nice, and somewhat true, but misses the whole point of Scripture.
God already has a plan, for the whole world. His plan is to put HIMSELF on display, and reveal His power over ALL the nations, and ALL the peoples , for ALL time. And if we want our kids to really live for God in a way that changes everything, we need to be pointing them to what these 4 young men knew well:
- Christians ARE exiles. – while we may not be actual slaves, we are children of a king who are living our lives among the kingdom of the world that has set itself up against King Jesus, and is doing its best to proclaim its superiority.
– They should feel a little out of place around kids who don’t know God, and if they don’t, then they’re probably ready to bow down to the idols.
- God is SOVEREIGN. – God doesn’t reveal things to the kings that might happen. He reveals things that WILL happen. Daniel & his friends had great hope, because they knew a GREAT God who is actively ruling and reigning, even when they were exiled slaves.
– Our kids NEED to understand that the flow of history is not out of control, but is being woven together by a great God for a great purpose. And all the little things we experience are the grace of God towards us in ways that may be difficult to understand. JESUS is the pinnacle of that flow of history, and was God’s good plan to bring redemption.
“The flow of history is not out of control, but is being woven together by a great God for a great purpose.” @nightwithak
— Stonebridge Church (@StonebridgeCR) November 4, 2015
- God shows His mercy by revealing Himself to us. – Daniel knew that only God can reveal ‘deep and hidden things’ (2:22) and that our only hope in understanding the purpose of our lives was in the mercy of God’s special revelation – We should see this in the beauty of the Word that has been given to us.
– Let’s remind our kids that there is no other source of information that tells us how life REALLY is that even comes close to Scripture – and God has mercifully told us about reality.
What is the BEST Education we can give to our kids? The education that is founded on seeking the DEEP things God reveals in His Word, by pointing them to the reality that God has made this wisdom known in knowing CHRIST (1 Cor. 1) and that knowing Jesus will automatically make us EXILES in a world that is rebelling against His sovereign rule.