Be Tactful, Not Tacky

Read Daniel 2:12-23

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Most of the wise men were all standing before the king.  The king summoned them all to his court except for four men.  Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah.  This seems odd because the king revered them as being 10 times better than any of his current wise men, yet he didn’t order them to court.  Most likely because they were still apprentices.  They were still in training, still being converted.

In verse 13 the decree was issued, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.  That is when Arioch, the king’s executioner knocked on Daniel’s door.  Imagine having the executioner knock on your door and you have no idea why he is at your house.

There was chaos everywhere.  The wise men were in a frenzy, they were stuck at the castle, forced to line up and wait their turn to be slaughtered.  The king was worked up because he still was tormented by this dream with no hope of ever getting the answer.  Within minutes the city is facing a real crisis. 

There was panic everywhere except in Daniel’s home.  Daniel was not panicked about anything; he was as cool as a cucumber.  When he spoke to Arioch, he spoke to him with wisdom and tact.  He didn’t just start running his mouth and making threats, he didn’t try to run away and hide.  Daniel talked to Arioch with wisdom.  He allowed the peace of God to control him and he used the wisdom of God to be spoken.  He also used tact.  He wasn’t tacky, he was tactful.  Huge difference here.  I know some people who could benefit with using tact when they speak to other people.

 Isaac Newton once said, “Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.” That is what Daniel did here.  When you are face to face with an executioner who is required to arrest you, you do not want to make him your enemy.  Just saying.

Daniel asked him “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?”  He was genuine and sincere, and Arioch explained to Daniel all the details of what had happened earlier that day.  When Daniel arrived at the castle, he immediately went to the king, requested permission to speak and asked the king for time.  He needed a little time to see if he could interpret the dream. 

It would be safe to say the favor of God on Daniel was intense, the executioner liked Daniel and showed him favor by taking him to where the king was.  He did not take him immediately to be killed.  God has his hand in all of this.  Also, Arioch would have heard about Daniels ability to interpret dreams and perhaps he thought this was an opportunity to save some lives.  Arioch would have had access to the king and he took Daniel directly to him.

This was risky for Daniel.  The king was already infuriated by the other wise men, he became angrier when they kept asking questions, he decided the wise men were just stalling and wasting his time.  Now we have Daniel asking for more time to interpret the dream. 

Vs. 16, At this, Daniel went into the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.  If this verse does not show confidence and boldness, I don’t know what does. 

Let’s look at it a different way.  Let’s look at the approach Daniel used.   The king is fiery mad, he wants all the wise men chopped into a million pieces, because they had the audacity to ask for more time.  Here comes Daniel, respectfully, yet confidently, using wisdom and tact approaches the king and what does he ask for?  More time.

The next verse (17) reads “Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends.”  The king granted Daniel more time.  Daniel showed promise as a wise man, but he was still very inexperienced compared to all the others.  He was still in training for the king, yet the king listened to him and granted him his request.

Obviously, God’s hand is everywhere in this, but don’t overlook the importance of the descriptions used.  Daniel spoke with wisdom and tact.  It appears that all the other wise men did not do that, because they only angered the king.  They tried to tell the king what to do, they gave him excuses and not answers, they did not offer any other options to help.  If they had only used wisdom and tact perhaps their outcome would have been different.  It was for Daniel.

When you are faced with a problem you handle it with wisdom and tact and make sure you are part of the solution and not part of the problem!

With the king’s permission, Daniel was released for a short while to intercede and discern the kings dream.  What was the first thing Daniel wanted to do after leaving the castle?  He went home, gathered the men of God whom he surrounded himself with, he explained that their lives were on the line, the clock was ticking and they needed to go to the throne room of heaven right now and beg God to have mercy on them and to make known to Daniel the mystery of the dreams.

When you are faced with a crisis what do you do?  Do you run to your “on the fence” friends, or do you go to the friends who are faithful and have a solid connection with God?  Daniel joined forces with his “all in” friends, they were unified in what to pray for, they agreed with their petitions.  You’ve got to start making wise decisions on who you ask to pray for you.  Don’t rely on the prayers of people who don’t know God.  Join forces with those who have been empowered by God, those who have God’s ear.  Not everyone knows or even cares to take the time to know Gods will.  They could cause more trouble by praying incorrectly, prayer needs to be precise and in line.

Daniel had all sorts of knowledge and understanding, he knew he could interpret dreams, easy peasy.  Except, he also knew that his authority and power rested solely on God, without God he could not pass this test.  We need to be careful as we grow in using our spiritual gifts that we do not forget that for them to be active it requires the help of Holy Spirit. 

They prayed earnestly; they shook the gates of heaven with these prayers.  They decreed and declared the promises of heaven to be manifested in their lives.  They prayed for knowledge of the mysteries and they prayed for their lives to be spared.  Specifically, that they would not be executed with all the other wicked sorcerers, magicians, and astrologers.  They had kept themselves separated from all the Babylonians, they continued to pray according to God’s laws, they chose to remain pure, eating God’s food, so that they could remain true to God and they did not want to die in a way that would lump them together with wickedness.  They did not want their deaths to be shameful.

Vs. 19, the mystery was revealed sometime during the night.  It appears this was an ongoing prayer.  This prayer was not done in just five minutes. This wasn’t a “there I prayed, I can watch Big Brother now”, type of prayer.  They dropped everything to pray, they buckled down for the long haul, they removed every ounce of distraction, and they got down on their knees, their faces in the floor and they begged for mercy.

Daniel in this position probably for hours into the wee hours of the night finally received a breakthrough.  It was the quiet of the night, when chose God speak to him through a vision.  One vision is all it took, one word from God is all he needed.  Daniel saw the exact image the king had dreamed, and he immediately praised the God of heaven.  He immediately gave thanks to God for his wisdom, his power.  He praised him for raising up and tearing down.  He thanked him for making people wise and giving knowledge to the discerning.  He thanked him for revelations and thanked him for being a light in a dark situation.  He thanked him for answering their extremely specific prayers.

Daniel blessed the God of heaven; Daniel praised the God of heaven.  That is what it is all about, every dream we dream, every interpretation we give, every word we speak, every conversation we engage in, all of it should lead to the praise of God in heaven.   

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