Leadership Insights From Daniel 2

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Daniel was a young leader serving in a foreign land. He trusted and obeyed God (this was not the status quo in Babylon).

Daniel was unwilling to do what everyone else was doing. He didn’t feel the need to feed on all the same things being offered to the other young people…

Daniel 1

5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.

6 Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.

7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.

8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel,

10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”

11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah,

12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.

13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”

14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.

16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar.

19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service.

20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.

In Daniel’s case, he resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine (as a Jew, he followed strict dietary rules under the Old Testament law).

As a leadership principle, I believe we must make tough decisions about what we will and will not participate in.

Some things may be AVAILABLE for our enjoyment, but not everything is BENEFICIAL.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything” — but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything” — but not everything is beneficial. – 1 Corinthians 10:23

Daniel resolved… it was his decision. He had the courage to say “no thank-you.” He chose to do things a little differently… and because of it, he excelled.


Leaders are willing to say “no thank you” to some things.

Leaders choose not to do what everyone else is doing.

Leaders make tough decisions from a place of conviction.


Are there some things I have been saying “yes” to that I should be saying “no thank you” to?

What are some things “everyone else is doing” that would produce no benefit in my life as a leader?

What difficult decisions or resolutions do I need to make from a place of conviction?

I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

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