Humble vs. Prideful Leaders

Yesterday, we contrasted the differences between those who walk in pride and those who walk in humility. Today will we take a quick look at a biblical model of a humble leader.

Daniel was a young man when he and his friends entered King Nebuchadnezzar’s royal service. From the beginning, Daniel had a narrow focus and committed himself to faithfully serving God in spite of his culture which worshiped many gods. Because Daniel was faithful in prayer, he grew in wisdom and God gave him the ability to interpret dreams which put him in a favored position with the royal kingship and officials.

God appointed Nebuchadnezzar as king (Dan. 4:17, 25, 32), yet Nebuchadnezzar did not honor God. He grew prideful and as a result, God humbled him. This son, Belshazzar, succeeded him on the throne and followed the same pattern of sin (Chapter 5). On the contrary, the bible speaks glaring words about Daniel’s humble posture before God and those he was called to serve. Let’s look at some of the ways Daniel’s humility is evident in the biblical text:

1. Chapter 1 – Daniel did not demand his rights.

When the king issued a diet for the young men in training, Daniel made a conscious choice not to defile himself with the king’s food, but he did not say, “Man, I’m not gonna eat this, I don’t care what they say.” Daniel approached the issue in a gracious manner and offered an alternative solution that would allow him to honor the Lord and those the Lord has placed in authority over him.

2. Chapter 2 – When in danger, Daniel responded with discretion.

Because none of the magicians or sorcerers could interpret his dream, the king made a rash decision to kill all of the wise men of Babylon. When the officials came to take Daniel away to his death, Daniel did not get angry and say, “This is foolishness (which it was).” Instead, he chose his words wisely and asked for the king’s reasoning for the decision, which followed with Daniel’s request to seek the Lord concerning the matter.

3. Chapter 6 – Daniel was a man of integrity.

When the jealous commissioners tried to find a charge against Daniel, “they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him (Dan. 6:4b).” We are all to live this way. The Apostle Paul gave this instruction to Titus: “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us (Titus 2:7-8).”

4. Chapter 9 – Daniel was fervent in prayer.

Prayer was the cornerstone of Daniel’s life and service. Daniel prayed for God’s direction. Daniel confessed his sins and the sins of his people. There is much we can learn from Daniel’s prayers of confession. Daniel used prayer as a means of praising God and reminding himself of God’s faithfulness throughout the generations. Daniel prayed in repentance. Daniel honored God through his prayers.

As a result of his prayers, we observe God intervene in Daniel’s life in mighty ways. Daniel also has miraculous visions and angelic encounters. On multiple occasions, the book reveals that Daniel is highly esteemed of God. Why? Because he had God’s favor and he humbled himself before the Lord. We can learn a lot from Daniel.

Daniel was a leader God could use. Throughout the Book of Daniel, we see God is glorified and people worship Him as a result of Daniel’s faithful service and humble actions. As a result of his humility and integrity, God gave Daniel favor and elevated him.

Scripture Meditation:

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:10 [NIV]).”

What are other examples of humility in leadership? Is humility a trait we see modeled in Christian leaders today?

© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2013

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