Master Teaching

a blog for teachers who follow the Master Teacher

His Name be ever blessed

Daniel.jpgAfter being carted off to captivity and possibly made a eunuch, Daniel’s career was bookended by death threats. In between, he prospered but only while navigating enemy territory. He also hobnobbed with kings though never sure where their capriciousness might land him next. In this messy mix of ups and downs, Daniel’s life motto seemed to be, “God gives, God takes. God’s name be ever blessed.”[1]

Early on Daniel and his three companions were given “knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning” (1:17),[2] but they didn’t rest on their laurels. Instead they gave Yahweh’s gift back, or so it seems. If they’d been lazy or irresponsible, I doubt their guard would have risked his life for their dietary restrictions.[3] If they’d felt disgruntled or entitled, I can’t imagine Nebuchadnezzar finding them “ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom” (1:20).

Daniel was also granted favor, and then he must have labored to be worthy of this second gift. He impressed equals, low-level managers, and a lineup of kings who rewarded him with a procession of powerful positions. Had he been disrespectful or disloyal, I doubt his head would have stayed on his body long enough to be appointed head of anything.

Yahweh also gave Daniel skill, not just the ability to interpret dreams but also to maneuver difficult situations with “wisdom and tact” (2:14). Then, even in the face of death, Daniel returned skill with honor. From routine matters of food and drink to daily prayer, he obeyed in spite of potentially deadly consequences. With execution looming, he not only took time to praise Yahweh before rushing off with the saving answer, but he also made Him the star of the interpretation narrative (chapter 2). Challenge or success, he gave honor where it was due.

Yahweh gave; He took; and Daniel “so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom” (6:3). When his jealous co-workers tried to fault his work ethic, “they could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent” (6:4). In the end, they determined they’d never find anything against him unless it related to Yahweh’s law. And then, not for the first time, one of Daniel’s bosses praised his God:

I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end (6:26).

In spite of the messy mix of ups and downs in your profession, don’t you hope Daniel’s legacy becomes yours?

By her exceptional qualities and hard work, she so distinguished herself among students and colleagues that school leaders honored her. She was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. Even those who would accuse her of doing wrong could find no fault in her except to say that she was too committed to the Master Teacher. In fact, they couldn’t help but honor Him as King of kings.[4]

Yahweh gives; He takes; His name be ever blessed!

[1] Job 1:21, The Message.
[2]Unless otherwise noted, quotes are from the New International Version.
[3] I’m assuming that if the chief official’s life was in danger so also were the lives of Daniel, his companions, and their guard.
[4] This is adapted from Daniel 6. Both the New International Version and the New Living Translation were used.

Further exploration

What’s your perspective?

  • What do you learn from Daniel’s experiences and life motto?
  • How does his legacy inspire you in your teaching?

Photo Credit: notfrancois via Compfight cc

6 comments on “His Name be ever blessed

  1. Julie Prentice
    July 1, 2015

    Valuable thoughts and insights (again!). It’s been awhile since I’ve been reminded of this example of integrity and work ethic and sovereignty. Isn’t it so easy to focus on what is going wrong in a situation instead of what one can do right in that situation.


    • Melissa
      July 2, 2015

      The human condition, right? We’re natural complainers. At least I am! I’ve thought a lot about Daniel as I worked on this post and how he had so little control over things that weren’t just temporary inconveniences. I’ve decided it’s a good practice, when I’m feeling sorry for myself, to ponder the lives of the Old Testament prophets. 🙂


  2. Ken Smith
    July 2, 2015

    A particularly interesting use of the Daniel 6 passage at the end!


    • Melissa
      July 2, 2015

      I’m glad to know my “personal Bible scholar” approves. 😉


  3. Carolyn Stent
    July 2, 2015

    Thanks, Melissa, for the challenge! That is definitely my desire.


    • Melissa
      July 2, 2015

      And under His favor, you are succeeding!! 🙂


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This entry was posted on July 1, 2015 by in ancient models for teachers, Melissa K. Smith.



Photo Credit: Eric Fischer via Compfight cc
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