President Eisenhower spoke these wise words–‘the important is seldom urgent and the urgent is seldom important.’ This maxim, the Eisenhower Decision Principle, helps people focus on long-term goals, ignoring what needs to be ignored. How often I’ve fretted over something that never happened. Or when it did, the outcome was better than I feared. So much wasted energy. And I don’t possess a huge stamina-reserve to fritter away!
Daniel is certainly up against it. A ‘wise man’ trainee, who’s been forcibly abducted from his homeland in Israel to ungodly Babylon. Now all the high mucky-muck ‘wise men’ fail King Nebuchadnezzar by flubbing his demand to recount his nightmare dream-details and interpretation, meaning it’s literally lights-out for all including Daniel and his three friends. Unless. Now he faces the urgent and the important!
What does Daniel do? Tell you what I’d do. Pack my bags, escaping on some hush-hush camel train. Cash out my investments, turning shekels into gold bars, fleeing under the cover of darkness. Craft a nifty disguise as a female jockey. Whatever it takes to save my hide!
Not Daniel. Beginning at chapter 2, we see him approaching the King asking for extra time, hoping to return with some answers. Holds out for a breather. Takes a step back. Why? Daniel gathers his three friends asking them to pray to God for mercy and insight into what troubles the king. Pray! Not just to save themselves, but the lives of all the king’s ‘wise men’ (v.18). Prayers are offered–important and urgent pleas.
Answers come from the Lord. The exact right ones, of course! Verses 20-23 overflow with Daniel’s praise to God for all His help–‘To you, O God…I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what was asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter’ (Dan. 2:23).
Is it too demanding and exhausting to lift our voices in prayer to Jesus? And to ask a few trusted Christian friends to join in? Answers will come. When? I don’t know. In what form? Not a clue. Who can we trust? That I know…and so do you. Our great God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
Good reminder on this our country’s 4th of July! That trust business, I mean. ‘In God… we trust.’ Agreed?
Thank you, Lord, for helping us when we need it most. Amen.