Excellent in Spirit
September 20, 2012
It is so easy to be excellent in spirit when you are having an AMAZING day and everything is going your way. It is so easy to smile when things are on the up and up. . .Keep that excellent spirit in you no matter what you are going through!
Daniel Chapter 6
1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty satraps, who should be in all the kingdom; 2 and over these, three presidents of whom Daniel was one to whom these satraps should render account, and that the king should suffer no loss. 3 Now this Daniel surpassed the presidents and the satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to appoint him over the whole realm. 4 Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a pretext against Daniel with respect to the kingdom; but they could not find any pretext or fault; inasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then said these men, We shall not find any pretext against this Daniel, unless we find it against him touching the law of his God.
6 Then these presidents and satraps came in a body to the king, and said thus unto him: King Darius, live for ever! 7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects, and the satraps, the counsellors, and the governors have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, except of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked. 9 Therefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
10 And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and, his windows being open in his upper chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled on his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. 11 But those men came in a body, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12 Then they came near, and spoke before the king concerning the king’s decree: Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask anything of any god or man within thirty days, except of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked. 13 Then they answered and said before the king, That Daniel, who is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.
14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore distressed thereby, and set his heart on Daniel to save him; and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. 15 Then these men came in a body unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.
16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. The king spoke and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will save thee. 17 And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his nobles, that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. 18 Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting; neither were concubines brought before him; and his sleep fled from him.
19 Then the king arose with the light at break of day, and went in haste unto the den of lions. 20 And when he came near unto the den, he cried with a mournful voice unto Daniel: the king spoke and said unto Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, hath thy God whom thou servest continually been able to save thee from the lions? 21 Then Daniel spoke unto the king, O king, live for ever! 22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me; forasmuch as before him innocence was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. 23 Thereupon was the king exceeding glad, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. 24 And the king commanded, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and broke all their bones in pieces ere they came to the bottom of the den.
25 Then king Darius wrote unto all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied unto you.
26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and steadfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.
27 He saveth and delivereth, and he worketh signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth: who hath saved Daniel from the power of the lions.
28 And this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
What really stood out to me about Daniel is that he was excellent in spirit. (The definition of excellence: possessing outstanding quality or superior merit; remarkably good. Extraordinary; superior.) Daniel was blameless and had a clean record. I wish I could say the same for myself…but maybe from here on out I can give the blameless thing a try. He distinguished himself among the administrators with his excellent qualities. This is a pretty big statement. Meritocracy is the best way to stand out, not by being boisterous, pretentious, reckless or arrogant. He was most certainly a rare jewel because “excellent in spirit” is not something that most people can be labeled as, especially in the midst of a fire. He never compromised his relationship with the Lord, even when it could have cost him his life. His faith was so strong and the Lord was undeniably present with Daniel as he spend the night in a den full of peaceful, closed mouth lions. Not only did God reveal his presence, his protectiveness and his power by delivering Daniel from that very precarious set of circumstances, but God also handled the revenge of Daniel’s enemies without Daniel having to retaliate or even put up a fight of his own before or after he entered the lion’s den. After God delivered Daniel, it served as a testimony that led Darius to the God of Daniel. In the end Daniel continued to prosper.