Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus to him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah…
Subjective conditions of mind are requisite for objective truth to enter. Common light cannot penetrate walls of stone or iron shutters. The electric force will only circulate along proper conductors. And if material forces demand suitable conditions in which to perform their active mission, so much more does the spiritual force of truth require that the hand of the recipient shall be sensitive, candid, impressible. Such was the gross, unspiritual state of some populations in Palestine, that even Jesus could not do his mighty works among them. Daniel proceeds to prepare the soil for the seed.
I. PREJUDICE MUST BE DISARMED. The anger of the king had been so greatly excited by the impotence and the imposture of his wise men, that Daniel perceived it best to forego his privilege of entering the monarch's presence at will. It was better to take the circuitous route of a formal introduction, as if he were a stranger. Hence the marshal of the court precedes the Hebrew prophet, secures the monarch's attention, and introduces Daniel, not as one of the royal college of sages, but simply as a Jewish captive. The former credulity of the king had given place to utter scepticism. So men's minds oscillate between the points of easy, groundless belief and obstinate prejudice. No vice so frequently assumes the air of respectable propriety as this vice of prejudice. It serves as a thick fog to shut out from the mind the clear light of heavenly truth. "There's none so blind as those who will not see."
II. INQUIRY MUST BE AWAKENED. "Art thou able to make known the dream?" Inquiry is the natural state of the human mind. It is its sense of hunger - the putting forth of its prehensile organs to obtain food. To the spiritually inert nothing will be revealed. Sincere desire for wisdom will impel us to interrogate every possible teacher, and to say, "Art thou able to add to my stock of knowledge?" The true philosopher or prophet will often appear in very modest garb, as did Daniel; but the spirit of the learner is a spirit of humility - 'tis the spirit of a child. Remote as the antipodes is the temper that asks, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" "Every one that seeketh findeth." We may often find through a dependent - through a despised slave - what we cannot find ourselves. Nebuchadnezzar, with all his royal gifts, could not find an interpreter. Arioch, the captain of his guard, greets him with the news, "I have found him!" A little captive maid in Naaman's kitchen could direct her master where to find a cure for his leprosy.
III. TRUST IN FALSE PROPHETS AND IN FALSE SYSTEMS MUST BE DESTROYED. Side by side with the growth of true faith must proceed the destruction of a false faith. The pompous monarch had rested his faith in the magicians and soothsayers, without sufficient reason. He had very likely prided himself on the superhuman wisdom of his counsellors. Yet what guarantee had he that they had ever spoken truth? Had he ever examined their credentials? ever put to the test their real capacity? If not, he was simply the victim of self-imposed credulity. The institution of sorcery was ancient and time-honoured, but none the less was it false and corrupt. If the king would not take the pains to examine the pretensions of these magicians, he deserved to be deceived. A Heaven-sent teacher is an incalculable treasure; a false prophet is a poisoned cup - a wolf in sheep's clothing "Try the spirits, whether they be of God." No human authority is self-odginative; we must know the source whence it sprang. "Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils."
IV. RECOGNITION OF GOD MOST BECOMING IN MEN, ESPECIALLY IN TIMES OF PERPLEXITY. "There is a God in heaven." Nor is that heaven far removed. "In him we live and move and exist." Even the magicians had confessed that there were invisible deities: "The gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh." Why did not the king in secret prostrate himself before these, and entreat their aid? If we believe in God, we shall recognize him, honour him, and use him in seasons of need. The true God does not love to see us grope in darkness; he longs to give us light. Our mental capacities preach to us this truth. He "revealeth secrets." "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him." The secrets of nature he reveals to the patient investigator; and if we will inquire at the portals of the heavenly kingdom, we shall know, by gradual disclosures, the secrets of the invisible world. Even our inner solves we do not accurately know, until God unveils to us the mystery. Daniel was sent to the king, that he might know the workings of his own heart.
V. GENUINE HUMILITY IS A MARK OF GOD'S SERVANT. "This secret," said Daniel, "is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have." Natural endowments of intellect often puff men up with vain conceit of themselves; but the enlightening grace of God's Spirit develops their humility. "The meek will he teach his way." Having revealed to suppliants their own nothingness, their absolute dependence on the heavenly source, he unveils to them all truth that ministers to happiness and purity. The mysteries of his kingdom he hides from the boastful wise and prudent, but reveals them unto babes. The messenger of Divine truth will divert the attention of men from himself to his Master. Like John the Baptist, he accounts himself only as a "voice," and announces that One mightier and worthier cometh - the true Light and Life of men. Humility is a pre-requisite for Divine employment.
VI. WE MUST RECOGNIZE THE NEED OF VICARIOUS MERIT. It is noteworthy that Daniel disclosed the reason why God vouchsafed this revelation to the king. It was not done for the sake of the king, nor for the sake of the magicians, nor for the sake of the empire, but for the sake of the Jewish suppliants. It would be galling to our pride sometimes if we knew to what human mediation we were indebted for Divine blessing. The prayer of some bed-ridden saint has brought down the treasures of heavenly rain upon the Church. For the sake of Paul the prisoner, the lives of all on beard the imperilled ship were saved. For Joseph and his brethren's sake, famine was averted from the Egyptians. Yet these are but faint and imperfect types of that grand scheme of mediation which God has provided for the redemption of the world; and for Jesus' sake, mercy flows in a full stream to men; for Jesus' sake, heaven is opened to all believers; for Jesus' sake, prayer is heard and the Holy Ghost is given. We, too, can be mediators for others; and it may yet be said that for our sakes, and in response to our intercessions, dark minds are enlightened, a world is blessed. Christ the High Priest puts a censer into our hands, and asks us to tilt it with the fragrant incense of spiritual prayer. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.