So, in the previous episodes of this series we saw:
- A brief historical background of Judah in the days of Nebuchadnezzar/Daniel
- We defined Influence, explained our context and analysed some requirements necessary to become a divine influencer.
- We saw that these influencers must be people without blemish and well favoured.
In this episode, we shall dig deep into one of the requirements that Nebuchadnezzar spelt out in Daniel 1:4, “Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.”
4. You must be Skilful in ALL wisdom:
The term “skilful” used in this passage (Daniel 1:4) is the Hebrew word “sakal” which means: intelligent, to be prudent (not abstract prudence, but acting prudently), act wisely, give attention to, ponder, prosper. From this develops the connotation of insight and intellectual comprehension.
Wisdom on the other hand as used in this passage is the Hebrew word chokmah which means wisdom; experience; shrewdness. Chakam (another Hebrew word) means wise; skilful; practical. So, a chakam seeks after chokmah.
It can refer to technical skills or special abilities in fashioning something as can be seen in Exodus 23:3 “whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garment” It also appears in the Hebrew Bible in Exodus 35:31.
Chokmah also means the knowledge and ability to make the right choices at the opportune time. In fact, the consistency of making the right choices is an indication of maturity and development.
In fact, Chakam was regarded as mastery or an art, signifying that to be wise was viewed as a process of attainment rather than an accomplishment.
From the foregoing, it’s evident that Daniel and the other three Hebrew children must have possessed and demonstrated some skill of wisdom before their captivity despite their young age.
Now, if one recalls that Josiah became a king at 8 years, Jehoahaz at 23, Jehoiakim at 25 and Jehoiachin at 18, it won’t be difficult to imagine seeing practical technical and/or intellectual skills displayed by Daniel at a young age. In fact, this indication of maturity (read wisdom) didn’t take long to manifest in Babylon.
Wisdom of Daniel
To buttress this point, see what God said through Ezekiel, Daniel’s contemporary although older, concerning Daniel’s wisdom in Ezekiel 28:3 “Behold, thou are wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee.”
In this passage, God was taunting the Prince of Tyre because the Prince of Tyre thought he was wiser than Daniel, but he was wiser in his own eyes.
But more importantly, note that the comparison was with Daniel when it had to do with wisdom. And this is further shown in Daniel 9:22.
The word ‘ALL’
Furthermore, the word ALL in the phrase captured my attention. In fact, I had to read it in three different languages to make sure all of them had the word ALL contained in them. And it turned out they all had the word.
So, the question comes spontaneous, how were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah skilful in ALL wisdom at such a young age?
Anyway, the answer isn’t far fetched because as we saw in the preceding paragraphs, wisdom isn’t an accomplishment but a process of attainment. So, they certainly possessed a great measure of wisdom already but which certainly increased with time.
According to the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Daniel 1:4 reads “… suitable for instruction in all wisdom” showing that the king was talking about their mental and intellectual fitness. Because “give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just a man, and he will increase in learning.” (Proverbs 9:8-9).
What Nebuchadnezzar truly wanted
It seems to me that after excluding people with physical defects, Nebuchadnezzar also wanted to exclude good-looking and gorgeous dummies.
He wanted sharp and quick minds who could learn fast and assimilate all forms of wisdom; young men, and I add women, who have sufficient understanding of where they were coming from and the nuances of the office they’d occupy soon.
You see, to influence the world for Jesus, you must possess (heavenly) wisdom. Wisdom is so important that God possessed her from the beginning, before his works of old (Proverbs 8:22).
Her advantages are so enormous (Proverbs 4:5-10):
Wisdom is the path to honour and promotion, a crown of glory, an ornament of grace, gives happiness, a tree of life, more precious than rubies, grants long life and wealth, more valuable than gold and silver, grants peace and pleasantness, safeguards from evil (Proverbs 3:13-18; 4:5-10; 5:1-6; 8:11)
I want these scriptures to make you salivate and thirst for it “For wisdom is a defence, even as money is a defence, but the excellency of knowledge is that wisdom shields and preserves the life of him who has it.” (Ecclesiastes 7:12);
“Wisdom is better than weapons of war…” (Ecclesiastes 9:18);
“ And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of your times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the Lord is his treasure.” (Isaiah 33:6).
I’ll return to this in later articles but note that wisdom has prepared her house and table, and is beckoning on you to come and eat. In fact, she climbed to the rooftop, stood in the middle of the street calling for your attention, if you hearken and come in, you’ll certainly get her. (Proverbs chapters 8 and 9)
Where to find Wisdom
Let me just remind you where you can find her. I’ll still return to this subject in future episodes:
The Spirit of God (Exodus 31:3-6),
The Lord Himself (Exodus 36:1-2),
God’s Law/Word (Deuteronomy 4:6),
The fear of the Lord- a prerequisite (Proverbs 9:10),
Just/Righteous people (Proverbs 10:31).
Books, Mentors etc.
Wisdom and humility
May I quickly add that wisdom must necessarily be yoked with humility; that is, the more you gain wisdom, the more you should grow in humility. Because without the latter, the former will be reduced to earthly, sensual(unspiritual) and demonic wisdom (James 3:15).
But the wisdom from above is pure, peaceable and gentle (James 3:17-18)
A side note – the fruits of the Holy Ghost in the new testament (Galatians 5:22-23) are the same as the fruits of wisdom described in James 3:17-18.
So, this is a requirement for anyone who wants to divinely influence his or her environment for Christ.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed it, make sure to share it with friends, family and colleagues.
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