WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 20, 2020
TOPIC: DIVINE ADVANTAGE
BY T. O. BANSO
“God gave these for young men wisdom and the ability to learn many things that people had written and studied. Daniel could also understand visions and dreams” (Daniel 1:17 New Century Version).
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to select strong, healthy, and good-looking young men who would be taught the language and literature of the Babylonians. The young men to be selected must be well-versed in every branch of learning, gifted with knowledge and good sense, and had the poise needed to serve in the royal palace.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the tribe of Judah were among the young men selected and trained for three years to serve in the royal palace. Nebuchadnezzar gave these four Hebrews education in the language and literature of the Chaldeans or the Babylonians (verse 4). He also gave them new names (verse 7). But verse 17 says, “God gave these for young men wisdom and the ability to learn many things that people had written and studied. Daniel could also understand visions and dreams” (New Century Version).
Please take note of the difference between these four Hebrews and the rest trained for three years: God gave them wisdom and the ability to learn many things that people had written and studied. In addition, God gave Daniel the gift of understanding visions and dreams.
These were gifts Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t give them; therefore, the others trained for three years didn’t have them. Divine gifts or abilities have nothing to do with the sumptuous food you eat. The other trainees ate exactly the food and drink Nebuchadnezzar was served. The food came straight from his kitchen. But these four Hebrew young men only lived on vegetables and water for the three-year period of their training. They did not defile themselves by eating the food and wine given to them by the king (verses 8-16).
Divine gifts are not dependent on your tribe or race. The rest of the trainees who didn’t have the gift Daniel and his friends had were also Hebrews like them. God is sovereign. He determines who gets what gifts based on the assignments He has for them.
But don’t forget that Daniel and his friends kept themselves pure; they refused to be defiled by the king’s food, and God gave them divine advantage over others. 2 Timothy 2:20-21 says, “In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a utensil God can use for his purpose. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work” (New Living Translation).
Because Daniel’s assignment was different from that of his friends, he had an additional gift – the gift of understanding visions and dreams. Divine gifts are from God. That’s why the wise men in Babylon couldn’t tell King Nebuchadnezzar his dream and its meaning, but Daniel did (Daniel 2:1-11).
Verse 18 says that in order to avert being killed along with the other wise men in Babylon for their inability to tell the king his dream and its interpretation, Daniel urged his friends to ask the God of heaven to show them His mercy by telling them the secret.
That night God revealed the secret to Daniel in a vision. Hear how Daniel praised God for revealing to him the king’s dream and its interpretation: “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he alone has all wisdom and power. He determines the course of world events; he removes kings and sets others on the throne. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he himself is surrounded by light. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded” (Daniel 2:20-23 New Living Translation).
In verses 27-28, he told Nebuchadnezzar, “There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune-tellers who can tell the king such things. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you your dream and the visions you saw as you lay on your bed” (New Living Translation).
Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar in verse 30, “But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart” (New King James Version).
After Daniel had revealed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and interpretation, the king was amazed. He fell on his face, prostrated before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him. He testified that truly Daniel’s God was the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets.
God gave Daniel and his friends divine advantage. They had gifts the rest didn’t have. But Daniel also had other gifts his friend didn’t have. You may have spiritual gifts or natural abilities that your friends or others don’t have. That doesn’t make you better or superior. Your assignment may be different from theirs.
Recognize your gifts and use them faithfully and humbly to the glory of God. Your gifts are not for personal enjoyment or self-glorification; they are for service. They are to bless others.“God has given each of you special abilities, be sure to use them to help each other” (1Peter 4:10a The Living Bible).
Paul told Timothy, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership” (1 Timothy 4:14 New King James Version). Remember that “those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken away” (Luke 19:26 New Living Translation).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help me to recognize and use faithfully and humbly the gifts You have given me to Your glory and to bless others. I shall not neglect, abuse, or misuse the gifts God has given me in Jesus’ name..
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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