Oh, how I love your instructions!

Today’s readings: Daniel 4:1-37, 2 Peter 1:1-21, Psalm 119:97-112, Proverbs 28:17-18

Yesterday I asked the question, “Daniel, how do you prepare for this?” I wanted to know how he gained the wisdom he needed, and particularly the insight into King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams. I believe that today’s reading in Psalm 119 provides a very strong clue to the answer to that question.

97 Oh, how I love your instructions!
    I think about them all day long.
98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
    for they are my constant guide.
99 Yes, I have more insight than my teachers,
    for I am always thinking of your laws.
100 I am even wiser than my elders,
    for I have kept your commandments.
101 I have refused to walk on any evil path,
    so that I may remain obedient to your word.
102 I haven’t turned away from your regulations,
    for you have taught me well.
103 How sweet your words taste to me;
    they are sweeter than honey.
104 Your commandments give me understanding;
    no wonder I hate every false way of life.

Daniel was wholehearted in his devotion to God to the extent that he was willing to risk his life by changing his diet in chapter 1. He was also willing to directly address the king, who was known to arbitrarily have people beheaded or torn limb from limb if they did not please him. We have evidence that Psalm 119:97 could have been written of Daniel. He loved God’s instructions. He refused to walk on any evil path (v. 101). He hated every false or ungodly way of life (v. 104). All those who met him – the steward in chapter 1, the other wise men, the king himself, recognized his wisdom (vv. 98, 100), his insight (v. 99) and his understanding (v. 104).

Daniel was not simply reading the scriptures and saying rote prayers. These verses were hidden in his heart. When I get to heaven, I will seek out Daniel (that is, if I ever get past adoring Jesus Himself) and ask him how well he know Psalm 119. Daniel trusted God for wisdom in dealing with people and insight in interpreting dreams. How did he prepare? It seems to me that his love for God’s instructions provided a foundation in his heart that enabled God to fill him and gift him in extraordinary ways, as evidenced by the remarkable stories, including his accurate interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about the tree.

How can I be wiser than my enemies? I must follow God’s commands and love His instructions all day long – not just in the morning when I read and pray and write in this blog.


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