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.

January 22, 2021

Another Plague Which Covered the Whole Earth

Today another new writer to introduce. Rolain Peterson is a writer who lives in Harare, Zimbabwe and currently is involved with children’s ministry. His blog, which he’s been writing since January, 2012, is called Kingspeech. He is the author of the 31-day digital devotional, Rise Above Fear. Send some love across the ocean to Rolain by reading this at his site, not here. Click the header which immediately follows…

In the darkness, God has a plan

I was encouraged today as I read the story of Joseph. With all that is going on with the pandemic, it’s easy to get discouraged but I was reminded that God is working in our lives in the midst of intense darkness.

So let’s get into it.

We all know the time Pharaoh had dreams and when no one could interpret the dreams someone remembered Joseph and he was summoned to interpret them. He told Pharaoh seven years of plenty would come followed by seven years of famine.

The seven years of plenty came and Joseph who had been promoted to second in charge stored away grain. He stored away so much that it became impossible to keep track of how much they were storing.

Then the seven years of famine arrived and this is what I want to focus on. The famine didn’t just affect Egypt but the whole world.

“And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.”

Genesis 41:57

It was a difficult time for the world but in that dark time God had a plan. There were some very important and key things that God was doing in that seven year famine period. I want to highlight two things.

  1. Israel reunited with Joseph, who he presumed had died.

Since the famine affected the whole world, Israel was affected too and had to send his sons to buy grain which in turn led to the discovery of Joseph. That is important because it leads us to the next key thing that happened.

       2. Israel’s entire family relocated to Egypt because of Joseph.

Joseph made plans for his whole family to move to Egypt so they would be provided for during the famine. And that is also important because it was a fulfillment of what God told Abraham,

“Then the Lord said to him, know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there.

But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.”

Genesis 15:13, 14

We know God was talking about Moses and the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.

So do you see?

In the seven year famine period, God was working and setting some big things up. And the famine had a part to play in the grand scheme of things.

God was setting pieces in place for Israel’s next chapter and that encouraged me because in this season of Covid-19, God has a plan too.

You may not see it or understand but He is working. You don’t need to stay discouraged or hopeless because He is in total control.

His plans and purposes for your life are working out in the midst of the darkness.

And that’s my encouragement to you. He will fulfill what He has promised you and this season will end.

Second Helping: About a month ago I bookmarked another article from Rolain; take a minute to read Patiently Endure, a short look at a verse in Numbers 21.

October 31, 2019

Helping People Connect with God in an Increasingly Godless Society

(This “Shrunk Sermon” is from a series on The Book of Daniel which begins here)

by Clarke Dixon

How can we help people connect with God in an increasingly godless society? Fewer are calling themselves Christians. Fewer are committed to attending church. Fewer people turn to churches in times of spiritual seeking. People now look for wedding officiants instead of pastors. People now desire a celebration of life rather than a Christian funeral. There is no doubt that people in North American and Western Europe have been turning away from Christianity. With this being the trajectory, are we able to help them connect with God?

In Biblical times Babylon was more godless than we are. King Nebuchadnezzar makes Prime Minister Trudeau, President Trump, and President Putin, all look like angels. Yet in Daniel, chapter 4 we see something remarkable:

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble. Daniel 4:37 (NIV)

Nebuchadnezzar, a far-from-godly king over a truly godless empire made a God-connection! God’s people were very much in the minority, so we cannot give credit to prayer in schools, or Bible based laws. Church attendance was at an all time low! There is therefore hope for Canadians. If Nebuchadnezzar can make a God connection, anyone can. There are lessons for Canadian Christians in Daniel, chapter 4.

First, note Daniel’s heart:

“Upon hearing this, Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) was overcome for a time, frightened by the meaning of the dream. Then the king said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, don’t be alarmed by the dream and what it means.’
“Belteshazzar replied, ‘I wish the events foreshadowed in this dream would happen to your enemies, my lord, and not to you! Daniel 4:19 (NLT)

Daniel’s heart broke for Nebuchadnezzar. There is no doubt about Daniel’s heart for God. However, Daniel also had a heart for Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel was moved by what he knew would happen to the king. Keep in mind that this is not a good and godly king. This is a not a friendly empire. This king had thrown Daniel’s friends into the fire. This king had threatened to destroy all the wise men, including Daniel, when they were unable to discern his dream. This empire had invaded Daniel’s homeland and taken people, including Daniel, as captives. Yet, it touched Daniel’s heart that Nebuchadnezzar was about to experience misfortune. Daniel was loving the enemy long before Jesus taught us to do so.

Do our hearts break for those who experience disconnect from God? Nebuchadnezzar was very different from Daniel. He had a different background, grew up speaking a different language, followed a different religion, and therefore had different values. Do our hearts break for those who would seem to be very different from us?

Do our hearts break over the struggles and misfortunes of others, even perceived enemies, or do we say, “told you so”? Do our hearts break for people? Do we faithfully love others? Broken hearts will be the evidence.

Second, note that Nebuchadnezzar’s connection with God was a journey.

Nebuchadnezzar had glorified Daniel’s God before, in chapter two. That did not stop him from throwing Daniel’s friends into a furnace in a fit of rage in chapter three. Chapter four ends with a stronger connection between the king and God than ever before. Yet there is likely more distance to go in Nebuchadnezzar’s understanding of the divine and his relationship with God. The path to, and with, God can be a long journey.

A relationship with God is always a journey. In previous Kanye West albums I have heard some Christian thoughts. In his latest album, called “Jesus is King,” there are nothing but Christian thoughts. Kanye is on a journey! Yet Kanye calls into question the ability of established Christians to walk that journey with him:

Said I’m finna do a gospel album
What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?
They’ll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody love me
They’ll be the first one to judge me
Feelin’ like nobody love me
Told people God was my mission
What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?
They’ll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody love me

Helping people connect with God is a great privilege, at any point along the journey. Daniel never gave up on Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel never wrote the king off, but served him with heart. Do we give up on people? Have we given up on our nation? Do we engage with people, serving others as Christ served us? Or do we isolate ourselves? Worse, perhaps we might prefer to isolate them. Are we faithful in our journey with people, as they are on a journey in their relationship with God? Relationships will be the evidence.

Third, watch for God’s heart work.

There was an essential ingredient that Nebuchadnezzar needed for a better connection with God. He needed humility. In Daniel chapter 4, God, not Daniel, takes Nebuchadnezzar on a journey of self-awareness and God-awareness:

29 Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”
31 Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.”
33 Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. . . 34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. . . . 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble. Daniel 4:29-34,37 (NIV)

Nebuchadnezzar is taken on a journey from thinking he is the best, with no need for God, to an awareness that he is, and has, nothing without God. Nebuchadnezzar does not make a vital connection with God until he is humbled. He needed some heart work, and God brought about that heart work.

People will not connect with God without some heart work. Merely sharing information won’t establish a God connection. Hearing the truth is often not enough. Daniel could say it, and he did. But Nebuchadnezzar did not learn it until he experienced it. The king had all the information he needed. Daniel put it in his head. However, the king did not have the humility to accept it until God prepared his heart. Still, it was important that Daniel say it. Are we committed to faithfully sharing the Good News of God’s love in Christ, even when we are being ignored? Are we faithful in engaging people’s minds, while we look to God to open hearts? Prayer will be the evidence.


Fewer people seem to be making a connection with God in our not-so-Christian-anymore society. We might despair. But there is hope. If Nebuchadnezzar can make a vital God-connection, anyone can. Daniel was involved in that connection. We can be involved also. Are we faithful in our love for people, really and truly loving our neighbour, even our enemies, as Jesus calls us to? Are we faithful in our journey with people, every step of the way, even the smallest steps, even steps sideways or back? Are we faithful in engaging people’s minds, while we look to God to open their hearts?