Daniel 2:17-24 Video Devotional

Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the interpretation.” – Daniel 2:17-24

This is incredible. Daniel, in full confidence back in v16, tells Arioch to set time with him in front of the king. Catch that for what it is: Daniel scheduled time in front of the king before he had the answer to the dream and its interpretation! Talk about bold! Daniel knew, even though he didn’t have the answer yet, that he would get it, and fearlessly chose to step up. Then he went to pray about it. Pulling together the other three, they took it to God and asked for the answer. And God provided. Daniel responds in praise and thankfulness.  

What stands out to me in this passage is that more “ink” is spent describing Daniel’s response to the prayer rather than the time spent in the prayer. God provided the answer pretty quickly – no fasting, no agonizing over it, no drops of sweat – just prayer and trust for the answer. Now, Daniel was seeking a factual answer to a problem he needed to figure out – no “why” questions or “how” questions, just “what”. So this may not apply to all prayer, but I think there are a few things we could learn from this.

First, he wasn’t looking for a specific answer. I wonder how much time we spend in extra prayer because we don’t like the answer we receive? I think we spend a lot of time pushing back, because we aren’t getting the answer we want in prayer. Now, Daniel wasn’t emotionally invested in the dream or its interpretation, so he wasn’t looking for a specific type of response. He just wanted the answer and left everything else up to God. That would be good for us to practice as well, whether or not we are emotionally invested in prayer. His answer is more important than what we want (“Not my will, but yours be done.”)

Second, he prayed and went to bed. Once he got the answer, Daniel spent more time on being thankful for the answer. How often do we go back to God after getting the answer and actually thank Him for it – let alone coming up with a poem of praise? How much time do we spend being thankful to God? What do you thank Him for?

I am not saying prayer should be quick. I am saying that we tend to overemphasize the answer we want and forget the time we should spend afterwards in praise. Maybe we should turn that around – look for His answer and then thank Him for it (regardless of what the answer is). Try it out – experience the results for yourself. Then see what kind of boldness God might instill in you.

Acts 26:24-32 Video Devotional

“And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.” Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” (Acts 26:24-32)

I love this story! It amazes me that Agrippa seems to be so close to becoming a believer. It’s obvious he has an understanding, but it is so cool how bold Paul gets with him, with Agrippa almost joking about how long it will take for him to come to faith. Then to have Paul’s reply cut straight to the heart like it did – wow! We don’t know how Agrippa ultimately responded, but I like to think that Paul’s genuine love and boldness had a life-altering impact on him. 

Agrippa’s immediate reply was to confirm with Festus that Paul should be set free. Again, had he not appealed to Caesar, Paul would have – but we know that Paul’s goal was to get to Caesar. That’s the plan. Paul was willing to face whatever he must to reach Rome. What amazes me most, though, in all of this, is that in the middle of everything, with all the craziness going on, Paul focuses in on each person he meets with and offers them genuine love and spiritual care. They are not pawns in the way of him getting to Caesar – they are real people with souls and even though some of them are in an antagonistic role with Paul, he still finds deep love and care for them.

Real love to his enemies… where have we heard that before? it is so easy to develop contempt for those we don’t like; so easy to let hatred burn in our hearts. Especially in a political season like this, the insults are flying, “Democrats are murderers and no true believer could be one!” or “Republicans are evil tyrants that want to kill everyone!” Statements like these are absolute rubbish! Don’t look at your enemies (or people that you don’t like or that aren’t like you) with hate – pray for them to have Christ’s love – then let them have that love from you. As Paul prayed for them to be like him (save those chains), we need to be like him as well with those people in our lives.