“Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.”
After the Medes and Persians conquered the Babylonians, Darius structured the kingdom to be governed by one hundred and twenty princes. These princes would be chargeable to three presidents, and Daniel was the chief of the presidents. It is such an incredible thing that Daniel, this Jewish captive living in Babylon, became the man in this position. How is it that he would find such favor and promotion?
Our verse reveals why Daniel was elevated to such a place of prominence and responsibility in this kingdom. The Word of God says that it was due to the fact that “an excellent spirit was in him.” There was something in the spirit of Daniel that caused the king to prefer him above others and influenced the king to place Daniel over all others in the kingdom. This is something worthy of our individual consideration. How important is it that we have a right spirit, and what does that mean?
For one thing, it would imply that our attitude is right. If we are going to have “an excellent spirit,” we are going to have to keep a good attitude. Why would someone want to promote anyone with a critical spirit, a jealous spirit, a bitter spirit, or a prideful attitude? Daniel was humble, yet he was committed to excellence in his personal life. Daniel was concerned for his reputation, as well as, the way God was respected. He strove to be his absolute best, but not for personal gain or glory, rather for the glory of God.
Another thing that is included in one having “an excellent spirit” is our character. Daniel was diligent and faithful. He was a committed learner, being recognized for his wisdom and skill in knowledge and understanding science. This quality is woefully lacking in the average person in our society. Here we find Daniel, a devoted follower of God, being honored and elevated in a pagan and non-believing environment. He was recognized for having “an excellent spirit.” Even the unsaved society is capable of identifying good character and attitude. The cry of employers today is for men and women of character. One of the best things we can do for our children is to teach them the value of honesty, integrity, faithfulness, diligence, and having a right spirit.