Prophecies of Daniel 2, Part 4

October 28, 2015 at 8:10 AM

Nebuchadnezzar is firm in demanding the contents and interpretation of his dream.

Nebuchadnezzar is firm in demanding the contents and interpretation of his dream.

In our last previous in this series, we arrived to a cliffhanger where we learned that in Daniel 2:13, King Nebuchadnezzar sent out a decree that all the wise men should be killed. That included Daniel and his three friends since they had recently been put into the king’s service as counselors.

Recall also that neither Daniel or his friends had been part of the discussion between the wise men and the king. That fact is proven in the following verses, Daniel 2:14-15.

14 Then Daniel replied with discretion and discernment to Arioch, the captain of the king’s bodyguard, who had gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon; 15 he said to Arioch, the king’s commander, “For what reason is the decree from the king so urgent?” Then Arioch informed Daniel about the matter.

Note the text tells us that Daniel used “discretion” and “discernment” in approaching Arioch. Note also the last phrase, “Then Arioch informed Daniel about the matter.” This indicates that Daniel was not aware of the exact reason why the king wanted all of the wise men to be slain. It is interesting though that Daniel asks why the decree itself was so urgent, but we have no record of him asking what the problem was all about. That may have been the result of using “discretion and discernment.”

Notice in Daniel 2:16, Daniel’s response once he learned why King Nebuchadnezzar was so insistent about executing the wise men.

16 So Daniel went in and requested of the king that he would give him time, in order that he might declare the interpretation to the king.

We get the impression here that even after Daniel learns why the king has called for the executions of all the wise men, Daniel seems to calmly ask the king permission for some time to give the king what he sought.

It is, of course, impossible to say what Daniel was experiencing inside himself, however, we can certainly gain some clues from the text itself.

First, Daniel learns of the situation from Arioch. Second, Daniel goes to the king himself to request a bit of time to figure things out. Third, Daniel seemed to know that he would ultimately be able to declare the interpretation to the king. Fourth, this ostensibly includes the exact details of the dream itself that Nebuchadnezzar had refused to make known to his wise men.

All in all, it appears as though Daniel’s faith in God was strong at this point. He somehow believed God would provide what the king sought. It may be that God instilled this conviction inside of Daniel so that he would understand that God was with him. The reality though is that, based on other situations that occur in the book of Daniel, Daniel’s faith in God was already very strong.

I believe because Daniel (and his friends) passed the first test of refusing to defile themselves with the king’s food, considered unclean by Mosaic Law standards, as we learn in Daniel 1, God rewarded Daniel with discernment and the ability to interpret dreams. They were likely also gifted with an increase of faith as well.

Daniel likely sensed that God would provide the knowledge the king sought, but simply needed a bit of time to come before the Lord and inquire of Him. For a staunch Jewish believer like Daniel, he understood that an appropriate attitude of the heart was required. This is important to understand and to put into practice.

As Christians, do we rush into God’s presence, present our want/need list, then rush out again? Or, do we take our time in approaching God, not because it’s anything that we do that gains our audience with God, but based purely on the fact that we are approaching the very God of the entire Creation?

I have grown very tired of going to churches and upon entering, instead of experiencing a time of reverential quiet and awe for God, it often sounds like the period just prior to a concert. There’s loud talking, laughing, people joking around, children running around, and all manner of things that do not necessarily induce an attitude of quiet reverence. Are we there to worship God or catch up with our neighbor that we haven’t seen all week?

Fellowship is fine and necessary. It’s a good thing. But when we go into the sanctuary, shouldn’t our thoughts, our prayers, our demeanor be the things that please God and bring Him glory? Shouldn’t our conversation with others always be exchanged in whispers instead of jovial, loud conversation?

I sometimes picture Jesus on the dais, sitting, and just waiting. He waits for the congregation to notice that He is there. Clearly, if He was there physically, I think the resultant reaction would be stark. People would enter quietly, with reverence. They would take their seats and simply focus their eyes and heart on the One sitting before them.

The modern church does not do this. Few go to church with this mindset, nor do they go with an attitude of waiting on God. Too much in too many churches today is very secular. At least some of the things that take place in churches today – whether it’s the so-called “worship,” videos, skits, or what have you – not only do not bring glory to God, but simply give the world more reason to laugh.

As far as Daniel and his friends go, verses 17 and 18 tell us what happens next.

17 Then Daniel went to his house and informed his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, about the matter, 18 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.

Fascinating, isn’t it? Daniel learns of the situation, then goes to inform his friends. Verse 18 tells us that they decided to seek God’s compassion concerning this mystery from the king so that their lives would not be “destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.”

I do not believe for a moment that either Daniel or his friends were scared of dying. In fact, later on, when we learn about the fiery furnace (Daniel 3), and Daniel himself in the lion’s den (Daniel 6), it is very clear that these men had faith and refused to bow to the whims of the kings. Had God not intervened, they would have died for it and died willingly.

I don’t think fear of death was at the heart of the issue. I believe that Daniel believed that God would provide the information demanded by King Nebuchadnezzar. I think something within him realized or sensed that God had brought this about to bring Himself glory and Daniel also may have sensed that God might use him to that end.

Daniel took nothing for granted, but by prayer and supplication, made his requests known to God (cf. Philippians 4:6).

Daniel took nothing for granted, but by prayer and supplication, made his requests known to God (cf. Philippians 4:6).

We can conclude that the men took some time to focus on God and His purposes in prayer. Throughout the book of Daniel, we have remarkable examples of Daniel praying that prove to us his character. In some ways, he is reminiscent of Ezra or Nehemiah, or Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel. These men – these prophets – all approached God on behalf of the people of Israel. They put themselves in place of the people and literally stood in for them. Their humility is clearly seen in their prayers.

Daniel was no exception. As we’ll see later on in other parts of Daniel, he approached God with a very humble spirit and because of this, Daniel was greatly beloved.

We need to also remember that God chose to respond to Daniel’s prayers (and those of his friends) because of His (God’s) highest purposes. Daniel and his friends made themselves available to God and God chose to use them for His glory. In the process, these young men grew in wisdom and discernment before the Lord. Daniel himself was given the gift of interpreting dreams. These benefits came from God and were to be used to bring great glory to Him. These gifts were not to be used for selfish gain, but to highlight God’s purposes.

James 5:16b points out a very important truth.

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

As we’ll eventually learn, Daniel was certainly considered righteous but he was so because he believed God, not because of anything he had personally accomplished. Because of his faith in God, he prayed correctly and God responded by bringing great glory to Himself. This is what God wants to do in and through all of us. Are you willing?

Entry filed under: israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , , .

Prophecies of Daniel 2, Part 3 Prayer and Praise, Part 3

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