Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 18 Responding Rightly???
As we continue our look at Daniel and his friends, we begin our look at chapter 2, and what a help it can be, if we’ll but pay attention to the actions of our “faithful four”! To set us up, our friends have completed their time in training and are in service in the king’s court along with a multitude of other Babylonian “wise men” when a major “royal crisis” arises. While we will not be dealing with the prophetic nature of this crisis, we will be looking at what we can learn from the character, choices and consequences of these four. What lessons of faith and obedience we can learn from these young men—emphasis on young—in commitment, character and total consistency! What kind of “Daniels” will we be when faced with a “Nebuchadnezzar” crisis?
“And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar
Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams,
wherewith his spirit was troubled,
and his sleep brake from him.
2 Then the king commanded to call
and the astrologers,
and the sorcerers,
and the Chaldeans,
for to shew the king his dreams.
So they came and stood before the king.
3 And the king said unto them,
I have dreamed a dream,
and my spirit was troubled
to know the dream.
4 Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack,
O king, live for ever:
tell thy servants the dream,
and we will shew the interpretation.
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.
6 But if ye shew the dream,
and the interpretation thereof,
ye shall receive of me
and great honour:
therefore shew me the dream,
and the interpretation thereof.” Daniel 2:1-6
The king has a disturbing dream, and he is frantic to know what it means! But there is a major dilemma in this situation, the king can’t remember the dream, just that it disturbed him. So, he has called in his “senior staff” to reveal the dream and its meaning to him. First crisis—he can’t remember the dream! Second crisis—he is demanding that they tell him the dream or face a brutal death. But the trouble continues! Third crisis—he apparently doesn’t trust his own “wise men” of this senior staff.
“They answered again and said,
Let the king tell his servants the dream,
and we will shew the interpretation of it.
8 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
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.
10 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
that asked such things
at any magician,
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 2:7-12
I love this scenario—the king demanding that these men not only “interpret” his dream but tell him the dream, for he has forgotten it! But we see more than that here, we see an undercurrent of distrust—the king is not confident when they request more time, but thinks they are simply stalling until they think the urgency will pass. But the king is threatening their lives and their “houses” (implying that their families would also be destroyed) if they fail—but great reward if they succeed. Yet, we find a “God-insidence” here, as God is setting up an amazing turn of affairs in this crisis. Oh, how we need to learn to trust in our Lord God—He is never caught by surprise, He never says “oops”, and He never leaves His will to chance—HE IS the Sovereign Lord of all—in or out of Babylon—under a Nebuchadnezzar or a David—in total freedom or in seemingly unescapable servitude! Where are you today? It’s not a surprise to God, and if we’ll just learn some of the valuable lessons that are here in this account, we will be equipped for success in God’s eyes no matter our circumstances!
All this being said, these “wise men” make an amazing statement without being truly aware of what they are acknowledging.
“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…”
WOW!!! If we could really get a hold on this truth and the reality and difference that it would make when we realize the truth and contrast that this simple statement reveals. These pagan astrologers/Chaldeans/counselors admit the king is asking something that “MEN” cannot do. They also acknowledge that only “the gods” (little ‘g’ gods) can reveal this thing, and that “the gods”—their ‘gods’—dwell “not with flesh”! But “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”, Daniel served a different GOD—The God Almighty of all creation—who does dwell with men (women, boys, and girls) who will choose to trust and follow HIM!
The response of these ‘wise men’ was not well received by the King, and he is virtually in a rage as he commands the destruction of “all” the wise men in the kingdom. Enter crisis number four—Daniel and his friends are a part of this order of servants in the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar! What will they do now? Let’s see?
“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
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
the interpretation.” Daniel 2:13-16
The soldiers come to seek Daniel and his friends, but Daniel didn’t panic; rather he behaved himself with “counsel and wisdom” to “Arioch the captain of the king’s guard” as Daniel seeks to find out the cause of the extreme measures that seek the lives of these young men. But notice what Daniel does and the response; don’t miss the import of this “young” man’s character and demeanor—he went into the king, who didn’t trust the other “wise men”, yet he seems to trust and have confidence in this Jewish young man, and grants Daniel the time he wouldn’t give to the “wise men” to give him the answer to his questionable, disturbing dream. This is huge! When we will choose to follow The Lord Jesus, and be faithful to His Word and His ways, God will go before us and make the way for us. But the lessons that we can learn from the piety of these (not pride or arrogance) young men are lessons that we must not only seek, but pursue, with ardent fervor to be found as faithful in our crises as these young men. What next? Let’s see.
“Then Daniel went to his house,
and made the thing known
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
19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel
in a night vision.
blessed the God of heaven.” Daniel 2:17-19
What was Daniel’s plan? A plan that we all can learn from—he didn’t panic—he didn’t doubt, pout or drop out—he didn’t scream or pitch a fit–or even whine because it ‘wasn’t fair’—NO—HE PRAYED and called his friends to join him in seeking God’s face in prayer for “mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret”! But let’s go back and rehearse something of import from chapter one when God honored our four young men for their obedience before the King:
“As for these four children,
God gave them
in all learning
and Daniel had understanding
in all visions and dreams.” Daniel 1:17
Daniel’s gift from God included the ability to understand and interpret dreams and visions! Oh, what a coincidence! NOT! God has a plan for you and me just as HE did for Daniel—not necessarily the same plan, but HIS plan. Just as the author of Hebrews reminds us.
“…let us run with patience
that is set before us…”. Hebrews 12:1b
God doesn’t call me to run your race, or you to run mine, rather, HE simply calls us to faithful obedience to follow HIM on “our race”—the race that HE has “set before us”!
Jesus also reminded us that all of our gifts are not the same, but God is at work all the same.
“For whosoever shall give you
a cup of water to drink
in my name,
because ye belong to Christ,
verily I say unto you,
he shall not lose his reward.” Mark 9:41
Daniel and His friends sought God’s face in prayer that they would be delivered! There is nothing wrong with praying for deliverance, when we understand that God is trustworthy, and we can declare with Job (perhaps a declaration that Daniel knew as well!) that no matter God’s answer we will still trust HIM!
“Though he slay me,
yet will I trust in him:
but I will maintain
mine own ways before him.” Job 13:15
And Jesus own direction for prayer’s parameters:
“Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10
So, my friends—Daniel prayed! How about you and me? Is prayer our first line of defense or our last resort? But there’s more! For God heard and answered Daniel’s prayer and gave him the answer he requested, but in closing for today, I want us to think on Danie’s response to answered prayer! Have you prayed for a deliverance? What did you do when God answered? What if the answer wasn’t what you asked for? Daniel makes it clear that he KNEW the God to whom he prayed. Please ponder these thoughts this week, and I pray that it will encourage and speak to your heart! I also pray that you will ponder the strength and sovereignty of our GOD! May Jesus Christ be praised…. Remember “our God reigns”! And we’ll look at the results next week. (By the way this is a great passage to commit to memory!)
“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
21 And he changeth
and the seasons:
and setteth up
he giveth wisdom
unto the wise,
to them that know understanding:
22 He revealeth
and secret things:
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
and hast made known
what we desired of thee:
for thou hast now
made known unto us
the king’s matter.” Daniel 2:19-23
May God bless you in your pursuit of HIM this week!!! Blessings on you and yours as we press on with, for and through Jesus our Lord!
Amen and Amen!!!