“Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”
The royal advisors were good at what they did. They knew how monarchs thought. They’d heard countless dreams, and they knew that these visions from the unconscious followed familiar scripts involving power, pomposity, and paranoia. The interpreters would request to hear the dream not so much to learn the narrative as to gain an opportunity to discern Nebuchadnezzar’s verbal cues and which dream elements he would emphasize. The advisors’ guild would then get to work, producing an “interpretive product” that would please him. But this time, God’s communication to the king had shaken him to the core. For the first time in his life, he sought the truth rather than an engineered answer. He learned from Daniel that God will show the truth to those who seek it.
Daniel said,“Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. vs. 20
But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me for any wisdom residing in me more than in any other living man, but for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind. vs. 30
Daniel had the perfect opportunity to take full advantage of the king and build himself up to a great height. He had the interpretation of the dream, all he had to do was lord it over him, but that is not who Daniel was. He had just given thanks to God who has all wisdom and power, so for him to give credit anywhere other than God would have been sin.
I believe that temptation is great and should not be underestimated. When we are in a position of authority or control we must always remember that it was the Lord who allowed us to get there. Daniel would not have been much of a servant of the Lord if he took credit for this dream interpretation, but it is a good reminder for us to always put the Lord first in every conversation and decision.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Daniel 2:1-30 in our New Spring Sermon Series: “Faith Under Fire” A Study in Daniel.
“As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom” vs 17
Have you ever found yourself at a place where you might have to compromise your integrity to please someone else? Maybe this was peer pressure of the teenage/college years of your life, or maybe this was to succumb to the demands of an employer. You found yourself at a crossroads knowing that there would be consequences for whatever direction you went. These four youths found themselves at a similar crossroads. Despite their subjugation and lack of familiarity with the customs of this new life, they were obedient to their heavenly authority over their earthly authority, and their obedience was rewarded.
Faithful and consistent obedience to God creates a holistic shift in our daily focus from fear and uncertainty to confidence and empowerment. This kind of obedience alters our mind, body, and soul bringing us into a state of greater awareness of who He is and what He is doing around us, thus increasing our knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom.
And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand…Daniel 1:2
From the beginning God sets a clear tone. These events in Daniel aren’t the result of a turf war between regional deities, with the God of Judah losing ground. But that is exactly how Nebuchadnezzar would have perceived it:
“Our gods are better than your God.”
The writer is matter of fact, And the Lord gave. This was part of God’s plan the whole time.
Daniel is more relevant than ever. In a world that arrogantly declares, “where is your God?” Daniel is a firm reminder that history is governed by God’s sovereign will; He is its guide. I can’t imagine a greater comfort and hope.
“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah”
There is an interesting background to where we pick up Daniel’s story (chapter 1). Daniel is around 16 (3rd year in reign of king Jehoiakim) when he is taken captive. Scholars use this information to place the birth of Daniel around 622 BC. This is important because around this same time, king Josiah begins to repair and restore the temple. Perhaps the most significant result was the discovery of the Word of God that was lost and probably forgotten. Josiah then instructs and encourages the reading and teaching of God’s Word. So, Daniel grows up in a community and context of regular exposure to God’s Word.Worship, Study, Ceremony. Is it any coincidence that later on in life (age 16) he has courage and conviction to honor and serve God above any other authority.
Wonder where the amazing wisdom and insight comes from? (God’s Word) Wonder where peace in the midst of persecution and dysfunction comes from? (God’s Word)
Who wants and needs the kind of character and steadfast faith we see Daniel display in chapter 1? Not just kids, but teens and adults also need regular encounters with God’s Word individually and in community.
So, Will you gather with a community of believers this Sunday to encounter and learn God’s Word?The result could be life giving!
The circumstances of Daniel’s life were rather overwhelming. His nation had been conquered by the most powerful king in the world. He and his friends were taken away as captives to a distant land and were treated as slaves on a path, not of their choosing.
Even though Daniel’s life was out of his control, he knew the God he served was sovereign and that he owed obedience to Him first and foremost. Daniel refused to compromise on what he knew God required of him, regardless of what the captor king demanded.
How about you? Are you allowing your circumstances to dictate your life? Or, are you letting God use you to make a difference for Him? Your obedience may have lasting effects on the people and circumstances around you. Ask God to open your eyes to what He expects of you and then walk in obedience…regardless of the cost. The cost of disobedience is much higher!
Did Daniel and his friends devise their plan in order to prove the superiority of the Lord up against the various and sundry deities of Babylon and of Israel’s fellow subjugated peoples? In actuality, Daniel was in no position to stage a showdown. As a prisoner of war, his influence amounted to as much as the geopolitical realities would have allowed, which is to say, nothing. Bible readers can look at the sweep of the story and thrill at Nebuchadnezzar’s eventual transformation to a believing – or at least “Yahweh-friendly” – monarch. But that story’s arc was far from apparent in the midst of war and forced resettlement. For now, Daniel had to find his bearings. Was God still God far away? Daniel did all he knew to do. And he discovered God’s familiar presence. Daniel was home.
But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; vs. 8a
Take a moment to personalize Daniel’s story. Maybe you can use these prompts: I was attending college, but had to drop out because…, I lost my job, so I found myself having to…, our relationship ended which led me to…, I was in a car accident which changed everything…
The scenarios are endless, and perhaps one or two applied directly to your faith journey. Daniel and his friends were a part of a captured people. Their way of life would never be as is should have been, but they were selected to be a part of the king’s court…things were looking up. Like all of us after a personal upheaval we will be faced with a choice on how we move forward. Sometimes those choices will be there to affirm your calling as a follower of Christ. Daniel could have given in to the situation, but he knew that he must remain faithful to who God had called him to be. We all have the same choices before us, daily actually. Don’t let situations dictate your character. Let your character (your identity in Christ) define those situations.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Daniel 1-21 in our New Spring Sermon Series: “Faith Under Fire” A Study in Daniel.