When I’ve prayed for a solution to a problem in my secular work and God has answered my prayer, I tend to keep it to myself rather than try and explain it to my colleagues.
I may, like Daniel, thank God for his answer in my personal times with him. However, when I talk to other people who have a different belief system to me, then I’m not sure how to approach it and put it into words.
I need to be more like Daniel.
Daniel had prayed. God had answered his prayer. Now Daniel had the opportunity to not only interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, but also tell him what he had actually dreamed.
Daniel didn’t hesitate in explaining how God had provided the solution to the king’s problem.
Daniel said: “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries”.
He went on to say: “As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen”.
Twice Daniel referred to God as a revealer of mysteries.
The word revealer means to “uncover” but also “to take into exile.” Would this name have triggered something in the king’s mind? This revealer Daniel talked about was both responsible for uncovering the contents of the dream to Daniel, as well as being in charge of the captivity of the man who stood in front of him.
Daniel didn’t use a Hebrew name for God, one the king would have found confusing. Instead, Daniel talked of God in terms the king understood.
Nebuchadnezzar already believed the gods spoke through dreams and here was Daniel telling him his own God, the revealer of mysteries, spoke through dreams, too.
With the king intrigued and receptive, Daniel then gave the king the answer he was looking for.
Daniel told the king his dream. However, before Daniel gave the interpretation, he explained one more thing:
Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. Daniel 2:37-38 (NIV)
Nebuchadnezzar would have relished this glory given to him. Nebuchadnezzar liked to be worshipped by his subjects. To be called a king of kings made Nebuchadnezzar better than other kings. To have dominion and power and might and glory, made Nebuchadnezzar seem like a god himself.
Daniel didn’t fear to give Nebuchadnezzar the respect he required in his position. Even though he knew the one true sovereign God was truly the King of kings.
Daniel term for God, the great God, didn’t degrade the gods Nebuchadnezzar worshipped. He didn’t refer to them as dumb, stone idols. Daniel knew soon enough, Nebuchadnezzar could not fail to worship the God who revealed dreams.
If Daniel had been disrespectful, Nebuchadnezzar would not have been receptive to hearing about the great God.
And so, we can apply these lessons to our own situations at work and at college.
We must be wise. When God revealed the dream to Daniel, Daniel used the word “wisdom” three times in his thanks and praise to God. So, that’s a good starting place for us.
To be wise in our secular work, we must pray for wisdom.
If you have any doubt you will be given the wisdom you require, then listen to what James 1:5 has to say:
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 (NIV, Emphasis mine.)
When you don’t feel able to put into words how God resolves problems in your work, ask God to give you wise words your colleagues will understand. Use descriptions that are different to what you’d normally use when you’re with other people who have the same faith as you.
Give your bosses, or your professors, the respect their positions deserve. Be gushing. They are in high up positions because God has put them there. God is sovereign over the hierarchy and structures of your workplace.
In doing so, you will be making opportunities for those in charge to be receptive to hearing about God.
Then remember, when you walk into the office with a solution to a problem, when really all you want to do is whine, you make your superiors less stressed and more open to hearing about the faith in God that you have.
Dear God, when I don’t have the right words to speak about you so other people will understand, give me the wisdom to speak clearly. Amen