Bible Ballistics: Vol. 11 No. 16 Tidbits From Daniel #3!!!
It’s been a while, but we’re heading back to Daniel for more gleanings from the life of this faithful, godly man. Today we’ll consider part of Daniel chapter 2, and see what we can learn from this young man and his personal character. (We’ll deal with the dreams later.) Especially in these days of the flamboyancy and the flare for the dramatic on public display as the defining import of any one or any thing!
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man,
but the end thereof
are the ways of death.” Proverbs 16:25
Just because something is popular and culturally accepted, or even promoted, doesn’t make it right. As my mother used to say, “If someone jumped off of a cliff, would you do it too?” (And I’m sure many of you heard that same motherly wisdom on multiple occasions!) We live in a culture that claims wrong to be right, and right to be wrong—in fact we’re not the first culture to experience this phenomenon, and God warned of this predilection many years ago.
“Woe unto them
that draw iniquity with cords of vanity,
and sin as it were with a cart rope:
19 That say, Let him make speed,
and hasten his work,
that we may see it:
and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel
draw nigh and come,
that we may know it!
20 Woe unto them
that call evil good,
and good evil;
that put darkness for light,
and light for darkness;
that put bitter for sweet,
and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe unto them that are wise
in their own eyes,
in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:18-21
God gave Isaiah a warning for those who claimed to be “His” own. He had long called Judah to repentance, and Isaiah delivered these warnings to those in need of repentance. While Isaiah lived through some good kings, as well as some who weren’t so good, he continually delivered God’s message to people then as well as to us now! And our culture desperately needs to hear the call to repentance today, and the call to God’s own people to stand fast for and in the truth of God—and we must know truth to stand in it.
It is becoming increasingly unpopular to speak the truth, to define good and evil as God defines them; rather than to be swept along with those who “call evil good, and good evil”, or those who “put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter”. God is still calling people to “consider your ways” as Haggai called his people to do, to seek HIS wisdom and ways, rather than settling for the wisdom of men who “are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight”—going their own way rather than God’s! This brings us right back to our first verse from Proverbs, and the admonition to do that which IS right, rather than that which “seemeth right unto a man”!
So how do we know God’s way? Much in the same way that Daniel did, by faith and knowing HIS Word.
“Now faith is the substance
of things hoped for,
of things not seen…..
6 But without faith
it is impossible to please him:
for he that cometh to God
must believe that he is,
and that he is a rewarder
of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:1 & 6
“Seek ye the LORD
while he may be found,
call ye upon him
while he is near:” Isaiah 55:6
Jesus reminds us that we must respond to the call of God to the hearts of men and women—for salvation is always initiated by God, not man! So if you hear his voice, open the door while you can.
I stand at the door,
if any man hear my voice,
and open the door,
I will come in
and will sup with him,
and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
Daniel had come out of a great time of revival in Judah, and yet he and his friends suffered for the failure of their nation (as a whole) to repent and turn to God. Daniel not only knew the word but also made a decision that we need to heed and follow today.
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 knew that what God said, he wanted to pursue, and even in the pagan land where he found himself, he was determined to pursue God and live holy toward Him and His laws regardless of his circumstances. But, as we have discussed before, he followed God with courtesy and respect for those in authority over him as well as his friends. Daniel made up his mind to serve God unwaveringly, and lived out what he professed to believe. What about us? Are we experiencing the favor of God in our commitment to Him, or are we reaping the consequence of poor choices? God rewarded Daniel for his faithfulness and Daniel honored God’s favor by living right before God and man.
“Now God had brought Daniel into favour ”
“God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom”
God not only blessed them spiritually, but He blessed and prepared them for service that they didn’t even realize would be ahead of them:
“And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” Daniel 1:20
All this brings us to chapter 2 and the dilemma that Daniel and his friends found themselves in, how they responded, and how God’s plans for the ages played out in all that came to pass!
Chapter 2 finds Daniel and his friends promoted to serve in the king’s court as counselors in the ‘wisemen’ corp (so to speak). King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that disturbed him, and when he called for his ‘wisemen’ they were unable to interpret his dream because he couldn’t relate the essentials of the dream to them. This short-tempered king went into frenzy and called for the death of all of the ‘wisemen’ to be killed unless they could tell him what he wanted to know. When they soldiers came to get Daniel and his friends (who were a part of the ‘wisemen’ corp!) to put them to death with the others, we find Daniel handling the situation with great discernment and discretion.
“And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain;
and they sought Daniel and his fellows
to be slain.
14 Then Daniel answered
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?
made the thing known to Daniel.” Daniel 2:13-15
Here we have Daniel about to be put to death, along with his friends, yet we see no sense of panic or despair in them. We find a young man, probably in his late teens by now, responding with a wise and understanding heart—a heart that was devoted to the God whom he had “purposed in his heart” to serve faithfully, with no fear. Let’s continue on.
“Then Daniel went in,
and desired of the king
that he would give him time,
and that he would shew the king
the interpretation.” Daniel 2:16
I find it most significant that Daniel simply requested to see the king, and when he went in to him, simply asked for time to reveal “the interpretation” of the King’s dream—which also meant that he would have to ‘know’ the dream without Nebuchadnezzar telling him what it was! It is important to note here that the King had been so angry and untrusting of the other ‘wisemen’ that when they asked for time, he refused to give them time believing that they only wanted to stall until he was over his anger; yet when Daniel asks for time, he has caused such confidence in the king, that he was granted what was denied to the other, older and senior ‘wisemen’! Why would the king do this? I think that he saw in Daniel a spirit that produced confidence rather than doubt! What about you and I? What do others think about our word? Do we live in such a way as to create confidence in our relationship with God and man; or do we live such wishy-washy lives, that others find it hard to believe anything we say—especially about our faith or our God? Ouch?
Yet here in Daniel we find three young men who were so devoted to, and confident in God’s provision that they were willing to put their lives on the line with a king who had already decreed their death! So let’s see how Daniel handles the situation.
“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.
19 Then was the secret revealed
in a night vision.
Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” Daniel 2:17-19
Daniel went to his three friends, and called them to join him in praying for God’s provision in their time of need. Daniel went to God first! Daniel called his friends together to pray—not to fret, or wring their hands, or seek human solutions, or figure out a way of escape—they came together to PRAY! And not only to pray, but to receive the answer from God! They asked of God, and HE answered. But don’t stop there—“Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven”! Daniel not only asked but he blessed/praised God for the answer when it came. And in praising God, he gave us one of the most beautiful accounts of the character and work of GOD in all of scripture!
“Daniel answered and said,
Blessed be the name of God for 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 hast made known unto me now
what we desired of thee:
for thou hast now made known
the king’s matter.” Daniel 2:20-23
This is one of my favorite passages in all of scripture, for it reveals so much about God, and answers question of who God is and what He does. HE is God, and there is nothing that is outside of His control, so let’s rehearse these truths about His power, strength and wisdom. To Him belong:
Setting up of kings—
Removal of kings—
Granting of wisdom to the wise—
(Given to Daniel rather than the world’s ‘wise’ men!)
Granting knowledge to those of understanding—
Revealer of the deep and hidden things—
What is in the darkness—
Light, for HE IS light!!!
IF we could really get a hold on these truths deep down in our hearts and minds, oh what it would do for our peace and confidence in God, much like what Paul encouraged the Philippians to pursue and rest in!
“Be careful for nothing;
but in every thing
let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God,
which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts
through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren,
whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise,
think on these things.
9 Those things, which ye have both learned,
and seen in me,
and the God of peace
shall be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9
Did you notice the mention of peace twice:
“the peace of God,
which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds
through Christ Jesus”
As believers we receive the “peace of God”, because the blood of Jesus brings us into a right relationship with God, giving us “peace with God”:
“Therefore being justified by faith,
we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ:…..
8 But God commendeth his love toward us,
in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.
9 Much more then,
being now justified by his blood,
we shall be saved from wrath
10 For if, when we were enemies,
we were reconciled
by the death of his Son,
we shall be saved
by his life.” Romans 5:1 & 8-10
We who have come to Jesus have been “reconciled to God by the death of his Son”—the blood of Jesus has given us not only the “peace of God” but also “peace with God”! And I believe this precious, godly young man named Daniel was filled with the confidence of his relationship with God (although he was looking forward to the blood of the sacrifice and we are looking back at it)! So my friends, where is your confidence? Have you learned to walk with this God who holds it all, or are you trying to be your own “wiseman”, depending on the world’s wisdom? Oh, how much we can learn from Daniel and his friends—more about God—more about His character—more about His faithfulness—more about His abundant care and provision– no matter what we may be facing! Even angry kings!
May we grow in our confidence of God just like Daniel?
“And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” 1 John 2:28