Bible Ballistics: Attitude of Gratitude and Faith??? Vol. 6#14

Daniel was faithful to God in the crises, and also went on to be a faithful instrument of God’s grace and one of the most profound eschatological (a big word that just means end time events) prophets in all of scripture. He was given some of the most important prophecies in the Bible, yet it all began in his youth—the youth of a faithful servant. This faithful young man continued on to be a man of faith and devotion to God during his whole life. As we saw in our last study, he knew where to go when the crises was dropped right in his lap, he went to his God. But one of the things we often miss in this amazing story is Daniel’s response to God when the prayers of he and his friends were answered so powerfully.

Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 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 2:17-18

We often hear about Daniel and his friends praying in their time of crisis, but we seldom hear about Daniel’s prayer of gratitude in reply to God’s answer to their prayers, and that’s where we’ll springboard from today. Daniel’s prayer of thanksgiving is one of the most revealing prayers in all the Bible, and I love to read it over and over again to remind myself of the awesome character of the God we serve!!!

Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

20 Daniel answered and said,

       Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever:

       for wisdom and might are his:

       21 And he changeth the times and the seasons:

       he removeth kings, and setteth up kings:

       he giveth wisdom unto the wise,

       and knowledge to them that know understanding:       

22 He revealeth the deep and secret things:

       he knoweth what is in the darkness,

       and the light dwelleth with him.

23 I thank thee,

       and praise thee,

              O thou God of my fathers,

       who hast given me wisdom and might,

       and hast made known unto me

              now

              what we desired of thee:

       for thou hast now made known unto us

              the king’s matter.” Daniel 2:19-23

Wow! What a prayer! Do you see it? This prayer was focused on the God who answered—not simply the answer. Daniel and his friends had power with God, because they knew that their only power was FROM God!!! “Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven”! Daniel never forgot who his God was, nor did he forget his dependence on the God he loved, or did he ever forget how devoted he was to his God. What about us?

How often do we ask and receive, and never even think to say ‘thank you’ to the God we claim to believe in, trust and follow. We can learn so much from this young man (probably a late teen) and I think we need to!

And just what did Daniel do after he received the answer to his prayer? Once again we see a young man filled with integrity and wisdom, give us a wonderful example. He goes through channels, if you would, to reveal the hidden dream and it’s meaning to the king. He goes in to the commander of the guard commissioned to destroy the wise men, and seeks an audience with the king.

Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation. 25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the    captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.” Daniel 2:24-25

Daniel wasn’t concerned about ‘credit’; he was concerned about being God’s servant. And that should our concern be—not recognition, or credit or getting that proverbial ‘pat on the back’, but following Jesus and leaving the results to HIM!!! While Arioch was working his way up the ladder of success, Daniel was simply trying to meet the needs of others, and be where God wanted him to be. Doing what God had placed him in Babylon to do—bear witness in all his ways.

Daniel had received the answer to the prayers of him and his friends—the dream and it’s interpretation to relieve the anxiety of a wicked, pagan king to whom they were in captive service! Captives and servants in a foreign land, to a pagan foreign king, and yet Daniel had compassion on this erratic king who wanted to kill all the “wise men”, a group which Daniel and friends belonged to. Now what? A praying man with a grateful heart, and a faithful life; what does God have in store? A servant brought before a king?

The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? 27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said,

       The secret which the king hath demanded

              cannot the wise men,

              the astrologers,

              the magicians,

              the soothsayers,

       shew unto the king;

28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar

       what shall be in the latter days.

       Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

29 As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter:

       and he that revealeth secrets

       maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.

30 But as for me,

       this secret is not revealed to me

              for any wisdom that I have more than any living,        

but for their sakes

              that shall make known the interpretation

              to the king,

              and that thou mightest know

                      the thoughts of thy heart.” Daniel 2:26-30

Daniel stood before this pagan king and openly proclaimed that there is a God in heaven who knows all, and HE has chosen to reveal His will for the future to this Babylonian king! Why would God choose a pagan king to reveal these things to? Because He is God, and He can speak to whomever He pleases, whenever He pleases, for whatever purposes HE pleases. And God chose to reveal the future of human history to Nebuchadnezzar, through Daniel! And Daniel was available to God, for HIS purposes: and his testimony exalted the God of all creation, not self. Most of us today would be thinking about the credit, the fame, the fortune, or the power; Daniel was thinking about being a true reflection of God Almighty and bringing HIM glory! And he did.

While we recognize the gifts that God gave Daniel, I think we often miss the character of the precious young man that chose to serve his God and do His bidding even in his tender youth. He didn’t wait for a better day, for a convenient time, for a better job, for more education, or anything else! Why? Because:

“….. 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

Daniel had already made up his mind, before any of this had come to pass, that he would be faithful to God, NO MATTER WHAT! And now God is honoring his faithfulness and setting up a great and extensive ministry that is still affecting lives today. Are we willing to choose God, follow Jesus, do whatever He asks us to do, and leave the results to Him? Oh, if only we could remember to live this way. But back to Daniel, what was the result of this answered prayer? Great and mighty things came on this powerful young man, and he served God faithfully for some 70-plus years.

Without spending a great deal of time on the intricacies of the prophetic revelation, we will look at Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. 32 This        image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 33 His legs   of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. 34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. 35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and        filled the whole earth. 36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.”   Daniel 2:31-36

The dream was of a great statue—

Head of gold—

Arms and breast of silver—

Belly and thighs of brass/bronze—

Legs of iron–

Feet and toes of iron and clay.

And a stone—

Cut out without hands–

Which smote the statue upon its feet—

Broke all the elements to pieces.

Became a great mountain—

And filled the whole earth.

Then Daniel goes on to give the interpretation to the king:

Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. 39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. 41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” Daniel 2:37-45

To summarize, let’s work backwards and look at the end of the dream first. It sets the parameters of the rest.

the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter

God chose to reveal his plan for the ages to this mighty king and his servant Daniel.

the dream is certain…. the interpretation thereof sure!

The dream is from God, it is as sure and as certain as the God who revealed it. Remember the prayer we looked at in the beginning:

Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever:

       for wisdom and might are his:

       21 And he changeth the times and the seasons:

       he removeth kings, and setteth up kings:

       he giveth wisdom unto the wise,

       and knowledge to them that know understanding:       

22 He revealeth the deep and secret things:

       he knoweth what is in the darkness,

       and the light dwelleth with him.” Daniel 2:20-22

The dream revealed that there would be four major world kingdoms, beginning with Babylon—Nebuchadnezzar being the head of gold, and that there would follow 3 subsequent kingdoms:

Arms/breast of silver–Medo-Persia

Belly and thighs-Greece

Legs of iron-Rome

Feet and toes of iron & clay-a latter day Rome.

The dream and the interpretation, while focused on the four kingdoms, zeros in on the “stone” that would be cut out of a great mountain without hands (by God’s design not man’s) and would destroy the 4 kingdoms in the days of the 10 kings (feet and 10 toes), and set up an everlasting kingdom that will never be destroyed or overcome–God’s kingdom, and Jesus the stone, which will destroy the kingdoms of this world.

And Daniel’s faithfulness was greatly rewarded and exalted by Nebuchadnezzar because of his faithful integrity and wisdom.

The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. 48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.” Daniel 2:47-49

So, what do we take away from all of this? Well, it’s not to argue and debate over obscure interpretations, or timelines, but rather to take confidence as Daniel did in the God who rules and gave the dream and its interpretation. Will we choose to be faithful to the God of the eternal kingdom, or will the kingdoms of this world distract us? The choice is yours. Will you learn from Daniel and make up your mind to follow God? Or will you miss the lesson and loose it all.

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36

       “…..choose you this day whom ye will serve….” Joshua 24:15

And remember, not to “choose” is “choosing”!