Bible Ballistics: Are You Confident In The Crisis? Vol. 6#13
We talked last week about Daniel and his faithful determination to honor his God with his whole life regardless of the circumstances. We found that while he suffered with his people for national disobedience, Daniel had made up his mind to continue to be personally faithful to his God, wherever he might be.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart
that he would not defile himself
with the portion of the king’s meat,
nor with the wine which he drank:
therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs
that he might not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8
While Daniel determined to be faithful to his God, he also expressed and lived out respect and honor toward those over and around him. Daniel never acted with presumption or arrogance because of his relationship with his God. We can to learn so much from Daniel’s behavior, not only before his God, but also before the pagan world where he lived in captivity for most of his life. Let’s continue our look at Daniel’s life and see what else we can learn—a lot I believe.
As we progress into chapter 2, we find Daniel and his friends after their three-year time of indoctrination serving in Babylon, a pagan king, kingdom and culture. While we are inundated with a culture that wants to indoctrinate us in much the same way, although we aren’t in ‘captivity’ yet, what is our response? What can we learn from Daniel and how he dealt with the crisis that comes to him and his friends? Let’s dig in to see.
“…..Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.” Daniel 2:1a
To sum up the crises, the king has had a dream that disturbed him. It disturbed him so much that he called in his magicians, astrologers and sorcerers to relieve his anxiety. But there was a small problem besides the anxiety over the dream itself; King Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t remember what the dream was, only his anxiety. So, he not only asked these men to interpret his dream, but to tell him what the original dream was!!! Wow, talk about an uproar in the ranks! The king’s counselors all went into ‘panic’ mode—in fact they made a most revealing statement that is often overlooked when studying this passage; a statement that is most apropos of our culture today.
“The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. 11 And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.
12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious,
and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.” Daniel 2:10-12
Talk about a crisis—this is one. The wise men are telling the king, “no one can do this”!!! Hello, telling the KING it ‘can’t be done’, isn’t the greatest way to work your way up the corporate ladder. While the king was furious, I don’t want us to miss what these men said.
“not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter”—
“no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things”—
“it is a rare thing that the king requireth”—
And most importantly they proclaimed before the king:
“there is none other that can shew it
before the king,
except the gods,
whose dwelling is not with flesh”—
Did you get it? They not only understood that ‘we can’t do this’, but they presumed that ‘none other can show this to the king’!! They had only one answer, but it wasn’t the answer the king wanted to hear! What didn’t they understand?
They said, “only the ‘gods’ could do this thing” but they also made a most revealing statement that we need to examine. They declared that the ‘gods’ don’t dwell with men—and their ‘gods’ don’t’! They understood that they had no control over those that they claimed as ‘their’ ‘gods’! They knew that they had no real way to communicate with ‘their’ ‘gods’; no way to ask them questions, or get real answers. What a telling truth! The ‘gods’ that men have ‘created’ of their own devices, and for their own purposes, can’t solve the issues of life; they can’t deliver in the real dilemmas and crises of life, because they aren’t real. The result for these men? A death sentence from an angry and troubled king!!! And not only the ‘wise men’ who were actually present with the king in this encounter, but ALL THE WISE MEN were sentenced to death.
Now, how does this dilemma affect our man Daniel and his three friends? Remember in chapter one, they had so impressed the king, that they were placed in his service in the ‘wise men corps’ (if you would allow me to call them that). So, when the death sentence was passed on ‘ALL’ the ‘wise men’—Daniel and his friends were included.
“And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.” Daniel 2:13
And Daniel? He stood firm in the face of the compromise of his commitment and conscience before God, but what will he do now in the face of seemingly certain death? Let’s see?
“Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom
to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard,
which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:
15 He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain,
Why is the decree so hasty from the king?
Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.
16 Then Daniel went in,
and desired of the king
that he would give him time,
and that he would shew the king
17 Then Daniel went to his house,
and made the thing known
to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
18 That they would desire mercies
of the God of heaven
concerning this secret;
that Daniel and his fellows should not perish
with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” Daniel 2:14-18
Wow! What an amazing young man.
Faced with captivity for sins he didn’t commit—
and he chose faithfulness.
Faced with imminent death for a problem he didn’t create–
and he chooses calm, confidence and reason.
I can’t help but think that perhaps he remembered a verse from the Proverbs:
“The king’s heart
is in the hand of the Lord,
as the rivers of water:
he turneth it
whithersoever he will.” Proverbs 21:1
But what did Daniel do with his faithful confidence in his God? Did he lie down and wait for God to deliver him? NO WAY! Daniel took action, but again, not arrogant or presumptuous action, but he acted quickly, yet with “counsel and wisdom”, and in respect of the authorities over him. I can’t get past the fact that this mighty, high-ranking officer had enough respect and admiration for Daniel’s integrity and demeanor that he recounted to him the situation that had precipitated the ‘death decree’. Then what? Daniel was granted an audience with the king and ‘ASKED’ for time and assured the king that he could reveal the desired information to the king, and the king granted his request! Really??? Again it appears that the king had a measure of respect toward Daniel that he didn’t have toward his other advisors! Go back and see the king’s responses to the others at the beginning of this dilemma:
Verse 5, “The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.” Deliver or die!
Verses 8-9, “The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. 9 But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof.” NO TRUST!!! Lying and corrupt words???? Really???
Here we have a king who had such confidence in this young man, in contrast to the distrust of his ‘senior’ staff, that he was willing to trust Daniel with the time to find the answer to his dilemma.
And what was Daniel’s action after seeking permission for time? Daniel calls for a prayer meeting! With all the Hebrew children who were there in Babylon? NO! He called the three other faithful servants who were as devoted to his God as himself! He called on faithful prayer warriors who walked what they talked, not only before the ‘religious’ world, but those who were living it in these difficult circumstances as captives in Babylon. Daniel called his friends to pray with him for God’s deliverance, so they wouldn’t die with the condemned ‘wise men’ of Babylon. But Daniel didn’t ask for his own deliverance only, but for all those whose lives were in jeopardy. Those who would not appreciate his intervention, and who would later plot the destruction of his three friends, and even later his own life! Yet he sought to meet the king’s need and alleviate the danger to those ‘wise men’ that caused the problem.
Yet what do we do? We often pout, complain, stomp and take our own vengeance on those who cause what we perceive to be ‘problems’ in our lives. Oh to be like Daniel—
A man of integrity—
A man of confidence in God at all times—
A man of calm and reason under the gun—
A man of action—based on dependence on his God—
A man of prayer—and a man with friends who pray—
A man of honor and respect –toward all people–
(Respect for authority, not compromise)
A man whose life caused others to trust him—
and in his integrity!!!
And what was the outcome for this faithful man?
“Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel
in a night vision.
Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” Daniel 2:19
What can we learn? God hears and answers prayer:
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16b
“Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.” Psalm 54:2
“But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.” Psalm 69:13
So whatever your crisis is or when it comes, remember our faithful God is always able to hear, answer and deliver. And we’ll pick up with Daniel next week, so read up on chapter 2!