In looking at the book of Daniel in my devotional time I have started to see some leadership lessons that present themselves in there. If you start reading Daniel chapter 1, what do you see that Nebuchadnezzar is looking for in the youths he is asking Ashpenaz to get from the Israelites? Daniel 1:4 in the New Living says he was looking for these qualities: “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good sense, and have the poise needed to serve in the royal palace. Teach these young men the language and literature of the Babylonians. “ He was looking for young men who were full of leadership potential. At least that is what I see when I read this and that is what I see when I read further in this chapter.
Later in Daniel 1 we read this: But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. – Daniel 1:8 (NKJV). What do we see in this? We see spiritual leadership because we see Daniel has made a decision in his heart that he will not make himself unclean eating the King’s food. How does he handle this decision? Does he say it is going to be my way or I am going on go on a hunger strike and not eat anything. Does he make demands? No, he does not. If you take the time read the read the rest of the chapter you will see that Daniel uses people skills and negotiating skills, but also has the favor of God on him. Also keep in mind he was leading Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah in not eating the King’s food. We see real leadership from Daniel here.
Do not forget that in this first chapter we are seeing Daniel as a teenager. I would say that Ashpenaz who was the one who was to choose these young men for their leadership potential did an outstanding job. Leaders are those who purpose in their heart to do what God lays on their hearts to do and that is what we see Daniel do. Leaders are those who use all the skills that they have on hand to get the job done as Daniel does with his people skills and his negotiating skills. Leaders lead others to God’s purposes and that is what we see from Daniel in leading of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah in not eating the King’s food.
There is plenty of leadership seen and plenty of lessons we can learn here. Have you learned the lessons that Daniel teaches? I have to be honest and say that some of this I am still working on. What are your thoughts?