Christianity 201

February 19, 2022

Daniel Interprets the King’s Dream

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:32 pm
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This is our third time with Alisa whose blog is On the Housetops. Although she has not been as active online lately, there is a post from last summer I felt was worth sharing with our readers today. Click the header which follows to read this where we located it.

Daniel 2: Trust in the God Who Knows

Daniel arose to an urgent knock at his door. Opening it, he was shocked to see the king’s captain standing there with a dozen soldiers ready to arrest him. Some of them held torches; all were armed with swords. Looking past the entourage, Daniel noticed smoke rising in multiple places around the city. What was going on?

Captain Arioch informed Daniel that King Nebuchadnezzar had ordered for all the wise men of Babylon to be executed, and their homes burned to the ground. He said it matter-of-factly, but Daniel detected a hint of hesitation: Arioch was not in favor of the decision. But when you’re the king’s captain, your personal opinions don’t matter. You do what you’re told… or else.

For a few moments, did fear grip Daniel’s heart? If it did, we don’t know.

“Why is the decree from the king so urgent?” Daniel asked.

Arioch explained what had triggered the king’s rage: that night, Nebuchadnezzar’s sleep had been disturbed by a dream – and not just any dream, but one that seemed to hold significance and meaning. So he had called together his top magicians and astrologers to interpret the dream for him (which wasn’t highly unusual). What was highly unusual, though, was that Nebuchadnezzar had either forgotten the dream that was supposedly so significant, or else refused to tell them what the dream was. It was an unprecedented demand, but he wanted his wise men to prove their ability to interpret the dream by also recounting to him what the dream even was!

Of course, the wise men had declared this to be impossible. And so, in a rage, Nebuchadnezzar had ordered for all the wise men of Babylon to be destroyed. Immediately!

Let’s pause for a second here. It’s easy to put ourselves in the shoes of Daniel when we’re reading this story: to compare ourselves to the hero. But there are lessons to be learned from these other characters as well.

Look at Nebuchadnezzar. He wanted something so badly, he was willing to throw away all reason in his quest for it. He put unreasonable demands on those around him, and then lashed out when they couldn’t come through. Are there times when we lash out in anger simply because we can’t get what we want?

Or we can look at the fact that Nebuchadnezzar was turning to people to solve a problem only God can solve. Granted, he didn’t know the LORD and was only doing what he knew to do. But for those of us who are believers – how often do we forget who to turn to for answers? How often do we turn to people and books and blogs for help that we can only receive through God Himself?

Or what if we were in Arioch’s shoes? Would we have obeyed the king’s command and started killing the wise men of Babylon, even though we knew their deaths were unjust? Or would we have stood against it in some way? That’s a hard situation…

How would we have felt as the wise men themselves? Stuck in a lose-lose situation, with no way out? And no belief in God to give them hope? For all their magic and witchcraft and earthly (or demonic) wisdom, they had no way of answering the king or saving their own lives.

But circling back to Daniel – he had hope. The situation looked impossible, but Daniel didn’t say that. With courage and boldness, he went to Nebuchadnezzar and asked for time, so that he might give the king the interpretation. And apparently the king granted his request.

So Daniel gathered his friends together – the ones who shared his faith in God – and they prayed. And prayed. And prayed. Begging God to show them mercy, to reveal the secrets that only He knew, so that they might not perish alongside the other wise men.

And the LORD heard their prayers. Daniel awoke from a vision in the night and praised the God of wisdom and might, the God who knows all things – who had now granted Daniel wisdom and might and knowledge.

He brought the good news to Arioch, who quickly brought him to the king, much relieved that someone could appease the king, but probably nervous about whether Daniel actually would.

He probably became even more nervous when Daniel started off, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king” (Dan. 2:27).

But Daniel continued, “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.” Without hesitation, he described the dream that the king had experienced, of a great multi-layered statue that was mysteriously destroyed by a stone, so that no trace of it was left, but the stone grew into a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

Everyone in the throne room must have been deathly quiet, hanging on to his every word. Arioch watched the king’s face: Nebuchadnezzar was nodding – this was indeed what he had dreamed.

But now what was the interpretation?

The statue represented Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom (the Babylonian empire), which would be followed by three more empires (which we know today to be the Median-Persian empire, the Greek empire, and the Roman empire). But these earthly kingdoms would be followed by a different one, for “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44).

At this, Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and declared, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the LORD of kings, and a revealer of secrets…” (Dan. 2:47).

Truly indeed.

God knows the timeline of history, even before it has happened yet. He knows what tomorrow holds. He knows the secrets of men’s hearts: even the secrets they themselves don’t know.

And He promises that someday, His kingdom will fill this entire earth and never be destroyed. What a wonderful promise that is!

So trust Him… trust the God who knows.

Bonus content:

God does bring wisdom when we ask, and light to various situations. Here is an NIV scripture medley from based on the Daily Light on the Daily Path book by Samuel Bagster.

Pr.2.6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Pr.3.5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;

Jas.1.5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

l.Cor.1.25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength… 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong… 29 so that no one may boast before him. 

Ps.119.11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.

130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
    it gives understanding to the simple.

Lk.4.22a All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.

Jn.7.46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does…”

1Cor.1.30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

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