Qualities of a Prophetic Leader

Daniel’s story begins with a deportation to Babylon in 587 B.C. Extracted from the city of Jerusalem were the most prominent and promising Jews. This was all part of the plan by the foreign army to destroy Jewish uniqueness and dilute their separateness.

The Babylonians first removed the brightest and the best from Jerusalem and from her halls of government. Then they were given new names or new identities in Babylon. The obvious gap remaining in the Jewish city’s government would then be filled with imported Babylonians.

Nebuchadnezzar then ransacked Jerusalem and looted the temple of its golden goblets and added them to his personal treasury. They remained there until his death. It was then that his wicked son, Belshazzar, inherited the dedicated temple treasures.

One night, Belshazzar decided to show his superiority over the God of the Jews. In his desire to prove his pre-eminence, the king commanded his servants: “Get me the golden goblets, the spoils from my father’s plunder. Let’s use them to toast our gods!” With his nobles, his wives and his concubines, they praised the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone.

In the midst of their revelry, a collective gasp echoed the room as a bony finger scratched a message on the wall before the trembling onlookers and then vanished.


The stunned witnessed froze; even proud Belshazzar was aghast with fear. Who could interpret this sign?

The king’s magicians and conjurers tried, but to no avail. Even his most prestigious counselors remained baffled until the queen entered the room.

“There is a man in your kingdom in whom is a spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of your father, illumination, insight and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him. And King Nebuchadnezzar, your father, your father the king, appointed him chief of the magicians, conjurers, Chaldeans and diviners. This was because an [1] extraordinary spirit, [2] knowledge and insight, [3] interpretation of dreams, [4] explanation of enigmas and [5] solving of difficult problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Let Daniel now be summoned and he will declare the interpretation” (Dan. 5:11-12).

Five qualities were so obvious to the queen that she listed them without hesitation.

What made Daniel so valuable? The queen gives us a hint to his prominence. We would do well to learn, nurture and cultivate five qualities that Daniel possessed. Let’s take a look at each of these five qualities of a prophetic leader.


    1. Extraordinary SpiritSome Bible translations may call it a “spirit of excellence.” Some versions refer to it as a “distinguished spirit.” But in either case, the meaning remains the same. In Daniel’s case, his demeanor, his disposition and his attitude were obvious attributes, clearly apparent to anyone. What was most obvious about Daniel was his spirit.The most obvious thing about a quality in an effective leader will be his spirit — the spirit with which he serves. It is not just a quality of his serving, but the spirit with which he is teachable and learns, and not just the fact that he takes notes. It is the spirit with which he speaks, and not just the fact that he can put words and phrases together to communicate a concept or idea. It is the spirit with which he prays. It is the spirit with which he deals with people and relates to those around him.It is a jutting spirit — a spirit of excellence, a spirit that is extraordinary. It is a distinguishable spirit. That is one of the things that we get to ask God to develop in us so that we become an effective leader — a spirit of excellence.
    2. Knowledge and InsightDaniel was knowledgeable; he knew what to do. Proverbs says, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will not stand before obscure men. He will stand before kings.” Be skilled in who you are.God does not give medals for mediocrity. God wants you to develop your knowledge. Knowledge is understanding the facts and knowing the facts and having the skills to go along with the facts.
    3. Interpretation of DreamsDaniel had interpretation of dreams. Can God speak through dreams? You bet He can. But does He exclusively speak through dreams? No! He speaks through process elements. He speaks through people. He speaks through double confirmations. He speaks through anything that He can use to get to you. But what is the interpretation of dreams?Let me make this really precise and succinct. It just means Daniel knew what God was saying. He had an extraordinary spirit in times alone with his God, so he knew what God was saying.
    4. Explanation of EnigmasAn enigma means an unexplainable item — something that is hard to explain. It is just something that is tough to understand. Daniel was able to take difficult concepts and make them simple.
    5. Solve Difficult ProblemsDaniel never saw a problem as a justification to drop out. He never saw a problem as a reason to “bail.”You are going to have many problems that you are going to hit you in ministry and in leadership. Never see a problem as a justification for mediocrity or to bail out.One of the qualities of an effective leader is that he is able to solve difficult problems. God will never send you into battle if you cannot stand up in the barracks.

      There are going to be difficult problems. Never see them as a justification to bail. Always see that as a step toward effective leadership. Daniel was challenged by problems. He said, “Let me think them through and solve them.” Solve them! That will help you to move from phase to phase as you develop into an effective leader.

Comments 2

  1. I have learned this when I attended Leadership 1 and 2 at Pacific Rim Bible College but Pastor Wayne Cordeiro had put it in a different light of understanding for me. In my reflection, I believe that I have the quality of a Prophetic leader. I am not saying this to lift up myself, God forbid that I maybe dishonored by God because he hates the proud. As I understand that there were times, when I am so close to Him (came with much prayers and meditating in His Word, right spirit, and right standing with God) that I can see or have a glimpse of not only the deepest meaning/understanding of an event or situation, but also the future event of that particular situation.

  2. very good, I was been thinking that or dreams are true, but God can talk through dreams but not all, ask God to refile out the your dreams through your strong prayers the spirit can be helpful when you believe.

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