The following is by a friend who loves Jesus and wished to be anonymous.
King Nebuchadnezzar had an amazing experience (Dan. 4). The Lord showed him his future. The Most High wanted to deal with the king’s pride, to show he was a tool to bring about what would please God’s heart. The vision came to pass as Daniel said: the king lived and acted like an animal for seven years. Afterward, his reason and kingdom were restored. God’s move succeeded; the king learned that the Most High God rules over all kingdoms (Dan. 4:26, 34). This is a lesson even believers need. Can we trust that we only have what we have received from God, and that His kingdom rules?
Daniel understood this, and lived it while in captivity. Daniel 6:3 says that there was an excellent spirit within him. The only excellent spirit is the Spirit of Christ, which blessed the ungodly rulers of that day; the king honored Daniel above all authorities in the kingdom. This is right, for God honors His Son above all.
The other rulers craved the honor Daniel received, but they lacked the excellent spirit that draws out that honor. In envy, they devised a plan to remove Daniel. That way, the honor given him would fall to them.
They crafted a law they knew Daniel would break: People could only pray to King Darius for 30 days. Daniel, unfazed, communed with the Lord as before, making him subject to being thrown to the lions.
Daniel went into the lions’ den, the door sealed, and he given up for dead. To the delight of the king and astonishment of all, he too came up from death. But it was different from Nebuchadnezzar’s release. God did not put down Daniel the way that He had Nebuchadnezzar. Instead, God allowed the spirit in Daniel to be displayed, to the glory of God.
God brought the king down then up in order to deal with his heart condition. His takeaway? That the Most High rules the kingdom of men, and His Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. It is true that excellence was added to him. But it was something added TO Nebuchadnezzar, not a witness of an excellent spirit IN him.
Believers tend toward a relationship with God wherein we learn lessons. We find ourselves in some trying situation and ask, “What is God teaching me?” But this is no different from the Most High’s dealings with a heathen king! Let us search further into the Lord’s heart. We are not only those who believe upon Jesus’s infinite power and dominion. We are His body, those in whom He has deposited His most excellent Spirit. Like Daniel, we are to display this Spirit before the principalities that rule in the earth.
We may not find ourselves high up in earthly power structures, but the Lord will always honor His Son. How the Father relates to His Son in us will allow that spirit of the Son to shine. Events will be arranged so that we are taken down. Perhaps, like Daniel, someone wants to hurt us out of envy. But it doesn’t have to be that scenario. Any situation that brings us low is engineered by the Lord so we can display the spirit that maintains its loveliness while being put to death.
It is one thing that the image of God should have been placed before you; it is a very different thing that you should be changed into that image. – George Bowen, Love Revealed
Nebuchadnezzar had to be pushed down in order to be dealt with. Daniel was taken down so the Most High God would be glorified. When a believer goes into an unjust death in a right spirit, the lions have no power. That believer will emerge from the tomb as a witness that God honors His Son.
The Spirit wants to renew our minds so we move as the Lord’s body, by the excellent Spirit within us. Lessons are fine—and we all need them at times—but let’s not make that our primary relationship with the Lord! If He can deal with a heathen king according to a lesson-learning relationship, we believers bring Him no great glory when in the same condition!
What sets believers apart is Christ in us. This Spirit is most excellent; it bears witness to the nature and glory of God. Daniel moved with this Spirit exquisitely; he displayed a sweetness and kindness toward the king even after spending a night with lions! Daniel was full of the Spirit of Christ. The entire empire was able to know the nature of God after He was brought back from the dead. Let us press on to know the Lord!