Nebuchadnezzar was amazed at Daniel’s God. He had no honest expectation that anyone would be able to fulfill his command. Besides, he liked the fact that the golden head of the statue represented him. In his mind, Nebuchadnezzar was the greatest. He probably missed Daniel’s statement that the God of heaven had given the kingdom to him.
Admiration does not always lead to relationship though. Nebuchadnezzar gives no sign of yielding control of his life and kingdom to God. No relationship of faith is stirred in this pagan king’s heart. Maybe you have known someone like that…they see the works of God and may even be amazed at God’s divine plan, but they are not yet ready to yield their lives to Him in faith. As much as we would like to climb inside their head and heart and shake them to recognition and faith…we cannot. It is our responsibility to share the truth…share the gospel…it is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to change the heart!
“The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed.”
The story of revolution is the story of the founding of nations, including our own. People who rise up against established authorities do so as a result of long-held animosities against long-perpetrated injustices. What would an unshakable kingdom look like? It would be, by definition, a good kingdom – one in which human flourishing is the way of life for all people. Despots and dictators and technocrats tout the resilience of their societies, but they know – everybody knows – that revolutionaries always lie in wait. The scriptures reveal that at long last there is coming on the earth a kingdom which revolution will never threaten. How can this be? Here’s how: Human rulers hold their people down. God in his glory will lift his people up.
Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. vs. 48
From exiled refugee to chief prefect. There are many parallels between the life of Joseph and Daniel. Besides the obvious ability to interpret dreams, they both had incredible character and unshakeable faith. Both were also revered by their sovereigns, partly for their interpretations, but also for their trustworthiness. I doubt Daniel set out to become chief prefect, but his integrity brought him to an occasion to receive it. Working without thought of reward. We are most generally uncomfortable with that concept. To be fair, Daniel was bargaining for his life, but his trust was not in the king, it was in the Lord. Where are you? What challenge has God placed in your path? How are you facing that challenge? Don’t look for what you can get out of it, just trust the Lord to get your through it.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Daniel 2:31-49 in our New Spring Sermon Series: “Faith Under Fire” A Study in Daniel.
Yahweh is making war with pagan gods. Just like He did in Egypt. Just like He did in Canaan. God had allowed the Israelites to be taken into captivity, but He was not abandoning them! On the contrary, He was using their displacement to make it known that Yahweh is the One True God. Look at what the Chaldeans said after the king asked them to tell him the dream, “there is no one else who could declare it to the king except gods, whose dwelling place is not with mortal flesh.” Now look at Daniel’s response, “there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.” Not only is He the One True God who could know this dream, but He actually reveals His knowledge to mortals. Omniscient yet intimate. Omnipotent yet personal. This is not another god. This is The God, and He is making Himself known to the world.
The scriptures tell us Daniel spoke with prudence and discretion. Discretion is speaking or behaving in a way that honors or protects the dignity of the one spoken to. I imagine a calm and wise response was the last thing the captain of the king’s guard expected. Fear, anger, and urgency usually produce different results, but not Daniel, not in that moment.
Discretion feels like ancient history these days. We’ve replaced discretion with social media insults and venting.
Solomon wrote, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
Not sure if Daniel ever read those words of wisdom, but he certainly applied their truth. It begs the question, what lives would be saved if we spoke with the same kind of discretion? What bridges could be built or marriages saved?
“so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.”
Daniel continues to demonstrate the presence of God in his actions and reactions. The way he speaks to Arioch is remarkable- tact, faith, wisdom, and courage. All are indications that God is near and helping Daniel.
However, the thing that jumped off the page to me was Daniel also prayed for the Babylonian wise men. Facing execution with his close friends, they also prayed for the lost and pagan wise men. His heart and concern for them at this intense moment is astounding. Made me wonder, “Do our prayers include the names and welfare of others?”“Even rivals and enemies?”I believe that God’s wisdom and peace gave Daniel the clarity of thought and purpose to pray for those other men too. May our walk with the Lord help us do the same.
It was an impossible task! Even the sorcerers and wise men of Babylon recognized it…what the king was asking of them could not be done by mere men. Their gods and idols never spoke to them, so they were at a complete dead end. They were going to die! Daniel had a secret weapon though. He had a relationship with the living God. God was the one sending Nebuchadnezzar the dreams, so He could certainly reveal them to Daniel.
Daniel demonstrates to us how we should address not only the impossible tasks in our lives, but the everyday tasks we face as well. He immediately went to pray…and to enlist his prayer warriors to pray! Do you have a group of prayer warriors you go to? Fellow believers that you can depend on to intercede? All of us need that inner circle of like-minded believers who will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us in prayer. “Where two or more are gathered in His name…”
“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.