Daniel, we learn, was a son of a family of the Royal household or of nobility. He was from the privileged class--big deal, because he was a prisoner of war, taken from his home land and brought into a very pagan country. He was also a very good looking young man who was both strong and smart. Daniel 1:4 fills in the info on him. We do not know what family line he comes from except that he was from either Judah or Benjamin's family line as he was from the Southern Kingdom.
After three years of pampering and learning, he and his fellow exiles were to work for the King of Babylon. As you may remember, there was a problem about food and drink. Daniel and his three friends wished not to defile themselves with the foods offered to the pagan gods. An agreement was reached and the four Jewish boys ended up being stronger and wiser than the rest, thus advancing in the household of the King. It reads in Daniel 1:17…
The first recorded prayer in Daniel is found in Daniel 2:20. He was asking God for a very big answer to an almost impossible request--that is, impossible for men but not for God. Here is the problem. The king had a disturbing dream and he wanted his wise men to tell him the interpretation without telling them what the dream was. If they did not, he would have them all killed.
Let’s read this prayer together.
#1 Centered on Praise to the Name of God.
Daniel was addressing the ONE True Living God who was for all time, without end or beginning. This Personal God made Himself known to the people of Israel from the very start. Abraham knew Him as the One who just started to talk with him. He gave Abram such a blessing. Gen. 12:1-3. Melchizedek called Him “God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.” (Gen. 14:19.) Moses was introduced to Him as “I AM THAT I AM”.
THIS IS THE SAME GOD DANIEL CALLED ON!
Daniel called upon this God Who was filled with Wisdom and Power.
That is a good place to start.
We read from the Psalms a great many verses concerning praise going to God.
Psalm 7:17 I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the Name of the LORD Most High.
Ps 28:6 Praise be to the LORD, for He has heard my cry for mercy.
That is only a few out of over 100 verses from Psalms concerning this praise issue. It is good that we praise our God. He is worthy of our praise, He is the center of our praise. He is to be praised! Jesus was asked to stop people from praising Him when He entered the City, that last time. He did not, He could not! The rocks would sing out IF people did not praise Him.
That is our place to praise Him. To seek His Face and not first to seek His hands. Seek first who He is and not what He can do for us.
We should seek Him because He is who He is. We should not seek Him for only what we can get out of Him. He is no dealer of things. No mere dishing out gifts to the first to call on Him.
We are to seek Him! Seek His Face.
And to seek His face in Praise for who He is!
Daniel recognized that his God was to be praised. He speaks of the things this God of his has: He has Wisdom and Power.
Wisdom is not the sort of thing one finds on a job resume nowadays. Too bad. I see old men working in the bank greeting visitors or at the market place, handing out baskets. At one time, these men were in positions of power and influence. I have talked to some of them and learned that they were very bilingual, well traveled, well placed in Industry. With their collective wisdom, whole corporations were formed. Such wisdom from these old men. Now, the young pass them by. They don’t learn from the years of experience they had lived out.
How much MORE wisdom the Lord of the Universe have than a score of these men. No one can match His Wisdom. Wisdom is more than a car trade name, wisdom is the whole of all knowledge. It is accumulated knowledge of life that has been gained through experience.
WHO has more experience than God? Think of the questions God asked Job.
And Power. He did it all: the stars in the heavens, the fish in the sea, the birds of the air. This God had the power of the wind and oceans in the palm of His Hand. This whole universe and all that it beyond it is in His Control.
His Control is beyond limit. As we could see so far, He was before there was time and He will last forever into Eternity. Put your head around that one! His God Daniel is serving in exile has the great Power to change not only people’s hearts toward Him but also He has the Power to change the times and seasons...at His will. It is a passing thing in this prayer but we have seen such things in biblical history and in our time. His Story of how He caused the seasons to change all over the world so that there are persist seasons for growing, for harvesting.
He did it all.
And He sets up leaders at His will and to bring certain other leaders to fall. We look at things in Europe and those of us who remember, the Wall coming down was a direct answer to the prayers of many in the world who wanted only the wall to fall. Certain governing forces lost their grip on the land and freedom blossomed.
This God of Daniel is able to give wisdom to those who ask for it!
But certainly more than that!
We started by saying that the FIRST recorded prayer is Daniel 2, but there must have been one before this as THIS prayer was one of thanksgiving to his God for answering his request so well.
Now that God HAD indeed given Daniel the meaning of the dream, Daniel was free to express his thankfulness and to give his God all the praise due His Name. Daniel might have said: I thank and praise You...You gave me wisdom (something that was attributed to/with God) You made this mystery known to me--just what we asked for! He is God and He has done it!
Last weekend, about 200 people joined in prayer for Japan and to seek the face of God. The Global Day of Prayer’s theme verse (see web site: www.gdopjapan.com) was even sung in a Jewish song. It went like this:
2 Chron 7:14-15
THIS is just what Daniel’s God was waiting for: a People or in this case, a person or group of people who have turned toward the Lord’s Face to seek His Good pleasure.
To seek His face. Not really His Hand, but it came that way because of the Grace of God.