Stories from the Old Testament for coping with 2023 

Daniel – part 3 (part 2, March 24)

Daniel was in a fix. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, was “so angry and furious” at his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers for not interpreting a troubling dream he’d had, “that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon,” Daniel 2:12

For some odd reason the king hadn’t consulted Daniel about his dream, despite Daniel’s ability to “understand visions and dreams of all kinds” (Daniel 1:17). Was Daniel even aware, then, of the “decree” that had been issued in chapter 2:13 “to put the wise men to death,” and that “men had been sent to look for him and his friends to put them to death” as well?

Perhaps the first he heard of it was when he bumped into “Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard” in the palace, and discovered Arioch had been sent out “to put to death the wise men of Babylon,” and here was Daniel face to face with him. So what was Daniel’s reaction? Drop everything and run? Or bellow to Arioch, “Whose daft idea was this, then?” – something I was sorely tempted to yell during the pandemic in response to similarly dictated extreme measures – or stick his chest out and shout, “Now look here, my good man, don’t you know who I am?”  

Fortunately, Daniel was a wise man. Clearly, the king was in a psychopathic rage and totally off his rocker including Daniel in his decree, when wisdom was so much what he’d valued in Daniel (1:19-20). So, reading the situation and how delicate it was, “Daniel spoke to Arioch with wisdom and tact,” verse 14.  

So rather than being overcome with fear, or defending himself, or openly challenging the decree with an opinion of his own, Daniel “asked the king’s officer” a question – not something I’m very good at when faced with idiotic decrees from on high. But Daniel kept his cool, and showing no signs of fear or aggression he asked Arioch in verse 15, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” 

How I wish I and millions of others had asked that question of our governments when they landed us with lockdowns and other harsh decrees, despite the virus having little effect on the general population. But fear and aggression took over, and I include myself in that. So what made Daniel so wise in his reaction?….(part 4 in a couple of weeks)    

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