The Excellent Spirit
By Pastor Jim May
Most historians and Bible teachers agree that it was around 600 years before Jesus was born, that there lived a man by the name of Daniel who found himself in some pretty precarious situations. I want to take a look at the highlights of Daniel’s life and show you some important things that are relevant to you today.
Daniel 6:3, "Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm."
The Bible tells us more than once that Daniel was a man who had an excellent spirit. What is that excellent spirit and how can we hope to have the same excellent spirit and attitude that Daniel had?
Daniel’s spirit was the result of the way he handled himself, and the way he treated other people, and most of all, the manner in which he served his God. These are all key factors in the development of Daniel’s character and nature. Perhaps if we could pick out those characteristics that made Daniel into a man with an excellent spirit, then we could develop that same kind of excellent spirit too. Do you have an excellent spirit? Let’s put it to the litmus test of God’s Word and find out.
Daniel’s story begins in scripture when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded and conquered Judah and captured Jerusalem, taking part of the vessels of gold and silver that belonged to the temple and placed those same sacred vessels in the temple of his own idol gods. As a young teenager, perhaps as young as 12 or 13 years old, Daniel and many of his friends were all taken back to Babylon as captives, to be trained in the ways of the Babylonians and become personal servants to the King.
I’m sure that you may have heard of a few of Daniel’s friends who were captured with him. Their names were Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; better known today as Sharach, Meschach and Abednego who would literally go through the fiery furnace as a test of their faithfulness. (And you thought your trials were hard!)
Right from the start of the story we are given clues to help us understand how Daniel developed his excellent spirit. The Babylonian King wanted only the best of the Hebrew children to be trained in his kingdom.
Of course, Nebuchadnezzar and his master eunuch were not looking at Daniel and his friends from a spiritual point of view. All they were looking for were children with perfect bodies and perfect minds. But for us, I think that it would be best if we were to relate the character of Daniel through a spiritual point of view as well as the physical.
Daniel 1:3-4, "And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; 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."