Daniel Chapter 2: There is a God in Heaven

Daniel 2:19-23 (NASB)
19Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven; 20 Daniel said,
“Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
21
“It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men
And knowledge to men of understanding.
22
“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him.
23
“To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise,
For You have given me wisdom and power;
Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s matter.”

Daniel chapter 2 is a long chapter (49 verses) but you may want to read the entire chapter so that you get a sense of what’s going on with Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar. Several Wednesday nights ago as I taught this chapter at church, there were two prominent themes that stood out to us. First, it is Daniel’s God, “the God of heaven,” that is in control of this earth. And not only is God in charge, but we are also reminded that He can remove and establish kings, leaders, presidents, and even dictators! Second, it is only Daniel’s God who can reveal and make known deep and profound mysteries, the “hidden things.” God gives wisdom not to those who hold powerful positions in this world, but to those who obey, trust, and faithfully follow God’s will and purpose for their lives.

King Nebuchadnezzar was having a troubling dream that caused him to have some sleepless nights and he was anxious to have the meaning revealed to him. The king called for his conjurers, magicians, and sorcerers – his “wise men.” However, the king throws them a curve; he not only wants them to interpret the meaning of his dream, but he demands that they also tell him what his dream actually was! Well as you can imagine, the “wise men” are shocked and grasping for words. So they tell the king: “There is not a man on earth who could declare the matter for the king” (Daniel 2:10). It’s not going to come as a surprise that this was not the answer that King Nebuchadnezzar was looking for. So he gives the order that they be “torn limb from limb.” And then for good measure, their houses would be “made a rubbish heap” (Daniel 2:5).

“Because of this the king became indignant and very furious and gave orders to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they looked for Daniel and his friends to kill them” (Daniel 2:12-13).

And what was Daniel’s response? I don’t know about you, but my first thought would be to get as far away from the king as possible. Daniel, however, did not do that. We are told that Daniel asked to appear before the king (yes, the same king that wanted to take his life) in order to ask for more time so that he could give the king the interpretation of the dream. And because of God’s influence in earthly affairs, the king grants Daniel the time needed for the interpretation of the dream.

Daniel remained calm because he trusted God regardless of the outcome. Daniel knew that prayer would provide the answer to this dream and that would be how he would approach God. Daniel’s faith and trust in God enabled him to go before the powerful and unpredictable King Nebuchadnezzar and ask for more time. So Daniel and his three friends resolve to pray “so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon” (Daniel 2:18).

God reveals the dream and its meaning to Daniel and immediately, Daniel gives praise and thanks to God, while acknowledging God’s wisdom and power over all the earth. Daniel then goes before the king and tells the king his dream and then gives him the interpretation. The point that Daniel makes to the king is that the “God of heaven” is the only one who “reveals mysteries” (Daniel 2:28). The “God of heaven” reigns over the whole earth and King Nebuchadnezzar will soon find out that it is God “who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings” (Daniel 2:21).

Thinking about the world we live in today, we see the same circumstances occurring. We have ruthless and power hungry dictators and self-appointed leaders threatening to destroy entire nations. They don’t even pause to consider God, because they believe their own power is greater than anyone else, including God. However, as the Bible clearly states and history has shown us, it is God and God alone, who determines the “times and the epochs; he removes kings and establishes kings.” People throughout the ages have over and over again relied on their own wisdom instead of God’s wisdom and what do we see occurring? Presidents, dictators, and kings have come and gone but God remains in control. God’s kingdom is the only kingdom that will last forever, it will be everlasting!

Daniel 2:44 (NASB)
In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

 

 

 

 

Daniel Chapter 1: Being A Good Witness


Daniel 1:8-9: But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials…

For the last four weeks, I have been teaching the book of Daniel in our Wednesday night Bible study. Although this book was written around the sixth century BC, it has many important applications and insights for us as believers today. One important aspect stood out for us as we studied the first chapter of Daniel. Given the example of these four teenage Hebrews believers, we talked about how important it is for us as believers today, to be a good and faithful witness for God. We certainly live in a time and in a world that needs to hear our witness, to the love and compassion of God, and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We saw in Daniel chapter 1, how Daniel and his three Hebrew friends stood firm in their belief and trust in God. These young men were teenagers, who were taken away into captivity to Babylon, and they stood firm in their faithfulness to God against the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. And because of their faithfulness, “God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams” (Daniel 1:17).

“But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself…”
As believers today, we must also make up our mind to not defile ourselves. We live in a world that worships almost everything except God. If we are to be a faithful witness, by living out our lives in a way that is committed and faithful to God, we can’t allow the world to defile us. Christians need to pray for God’s strength to stand firm against the ever evolving belief system of this world. If we are to be a good witness for Christ, we must live a life that makes others take notice. When we rise above the sin and turmoil of this world, we can make an impact upon others by being a good and faithful witness to God.

God used these four Hebrew teenagers, to make a pagan king take notice of their unique and faithful relationship with the one true God. And God can use you, to help those who are lost today, to notice and want to know more about your relationship with God. Always strive to be a good and faithful witness to God, because you never know how God can use your witness to affect someone that is watching how you live out your life as a follower of Christ.