Thursday, April 26, 2012
an excellent spirit
Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
I have always been intrigued by six words that describe Daniel: "an excellent spirit was in him." This seems to be such a high compliment for a man in such rough circumstances. Technically, Daniel was a prisoner of war. He was taken captive to Babylon while really still a child. He was raised in the Babylonian court to the best training he could receive, but he was a captive. He did not choose his vocation. He was trained to assist Babylon in the administration of captive Israel and Judah.
Daniel rose to prominence among all the court administrators because he had that unmistakeable, hard to fully define, but clearly visible "something" that led to his success with others. The text calls it "an excellent spirit". It is a combination of his love for God, his servant's heart, his winsomeness with people, and his administrative giftedness. People like what they saw in Daniel and it led him to success, even with new kings and differing government administrations.
Darius is the third king under whom Daniel has served. He is the first non-Chaldean king. Generally when a new nation occupies a defeated capital, it replaces all administrators with its own personnel. But the Persians kept the court staff, perhaps out of necessity due to the complex make-up of the empire they had captured. There were many people groups and languages into which any royal edict needed to be translated. The empire stretched from modern day Turkey to Egypt. This need helped Daniel to continue to thrive. Darius had designs on Daniel, noting his excellence and planning to move him into a prime minister position that would administrate all the sub-governors of the empire.
God blesses integrity, faithfulness, and love for Him. That does not mean we get an easy path. Daniel's excellent spirit resulted in trial and a night in the lion's den because unrighteous men could not stand him. But in the end, God kept him safe and the king carried out his plan to promote Daniel so that his gifts could serve the empire in the greatest way. An excellent spirit is hard to find, but in the end, it is used by the Lord. It is a noble goal to desire to have such a testimony for the sake of God's kingdom.