WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 24, 2023
TOPIC: DIVINE ADVANTAGE
BY T. O. BANSO
“As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams” (Daniel 1:17 New King James 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 have the poise needed to serve in the royal palace (Daniel 4:3-5).
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the tribe of Judah, exiles in Babylon, 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. He also gave them new names (verses 6-7). But verse 17 says, “As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams” (New King James Version).
Please note the difference between these four Hebrews and the rest who were trained for three years. God gave these Hebrews knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom. In addition, God gave Daniel the gift of understanding visions and dreams.
Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t give them these gifts. Therefore, the others who were trained for three years didn’t have them. Divine gifts or abilities have nothing to do with eating sumptuous meals! The other trainees ate exactly the food and drink Nebuchadnezzar was served. “The king gave the young men a certain amount of food and wine every day, just like the food he ate” (verse 5 New Century Version). The food came straight from his kitchen. But these four Hebrew young men lived only on vegetables and water for the three years 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. Neither are they dependent on your education or exposure. The rest of the trainees who didn’t have the gift that 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 a divine advantage over others. 2 Timothy 2:20-21 says, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” (New King James Version).
The New Living Translation puts the verse this way: “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 special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.”
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 (Daniel 2:1-12). But Daniel did. Verse 18 says that 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: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him. I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; 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 demand” (Daniel 2:20-23 New King James Version).
In verses 27-28a, he told Nebuchadnezzar, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days” (New King James Version).
Daniel further 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 ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. He testified that truly Daniel’s God was the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets (verses 46-47).
God gave Daniel and his friends a divine advantage. The gifts they had, 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.
God has given divine advantage to each of His children. He has given all His children different gifts. 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 some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings” (1 Peter 4:10 The Living Bible). The New King James Version refers to the phrase “special abilities” in this verse as “a gift.”
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). Your spiritual gift is a divine advantage from God but He gave you to bless others, not to feel superior to them, oppress them, or take advantage of them.
Paul told the Corinthian church, “Do open your hearts to us again [enlarge them to take us in]. We have wronged no one, we have betrayed or corrupted no one, we have cheated or taken advantage of no one” (2 Corinthians 7:2 Amplified Bible). Note the phrase “We have cheated or taken advantage of no one.”
Paul also asked them in 2 Corinthians 12:17-18, “Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you? I urged Titus, and sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?” (New King James Version). You must not use the spiritual gifts or special abilities God has given you to take advantage of anyone.
Take note of these words of Jesus: “I tell you that to everyone who has [because he valued his gifts from God and has used them wisely], more will be given; but from the one who does not have [because he disregarded his gifts from God], even what he has will be taken away” (Luke 19:26 Amplified Bible). Value your gifts; don’t disregard them.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that 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 God raised Him on 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 a palm tree and grow like a 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 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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