Prophecies of Daniel 2, Part 5
We’re finally getting back to our series on Daniel 2 and the prophecies found therein. As we did with Daniel 1, we have been endeavoring to create a visual picture of what occurred in that chapter so that we have a better grasp on what it is God is telling us through the prophetic revelation in His Word. In this case, it’s Daniel 2, which is where we learn of a number of “firsts.”
We ended our last installment with Daniel 2:17-18.
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.
So Daniel and his friends hear of the problem that they face. Because of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he insisted that the wise men in his employee not only tell him the meaning of his dream, but he also expected them to tell him exactly what he dreamed as well! This was unheard of but Nebuchadnezzar was immovable on this point. He did not want to take a chance of being lied to as to the meaning of the dream if he simply told his counselors what he had dreamed. He reasoned that if they did not know, they would come up with something that sounded reasonable but might not be truthful. To avoid this, Nebuchadnezzar opted to force them to tell him what he had dreamed as well.
The “Hananiah” here in this passage – noted as a friend of Daniel – is certainly not the same Hananiah that is mentioned as the false prophet under King Zedekiah found in the book of Jeremiah. The most obvious reason for this is the time difference. The events that transpired in Jeremiah that eventually led up to Nebuchadnezzar besieging and conquering Jerusalem occurred way before Nebuchadnezzar did these things. That particular Hananiah would have been a great deal older than the Hananiah mentioned here in Daniel. Besides, the Bible essentially outs the Hananiah in Jeremiah as a false prophet. This is certainly not the case with the Hananiah mentioned in Daniel, who was not only a good friend with Daniel, but was just as devout and as we will learn later, was tossed into the fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar for his unwillingness to worship the king.
Daniel and his friends take the time to place themselves in God’s hands, while asking Him for the knowledge for which King Nebuchadnezzar sought. This should be the automatic response of all of God’s children when faced with any calamity or concern. These should drive us to our knees as we seek God’s counsel. We should also never expect that they will all go according to our own desires either, but in all things, be willing to adapt ourselves to God’s revealed will.
Daniel 2:19 tells us the results of seeking God’s will in this matter.
Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
Note that God chose to reveal the mystery of the king’s dreams to Daniel during the night. This was the real start of God using Daniel for His purposes. How did Daniel get to this point? Because he was faithful in what we might consider to be the “small” things, like not eating food that God said was “unclean” from Daniel 1.
The revelation came as a direct response to the prayers of these godly men and as Constable points out, James says as much in James 4:2-4. There, James points out the problems associated with not received answers to our prayers. The exact opposite is seen in Daniel and his four friends. We could easily follow this up with James 5:16, which states, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
When James tells us to “confess your sins to one another,” he is not telling us to confess our hidden sins to other people for accountability. He is saying that when we actually wrong another person, we should confess that fault to them so that God’s forgiveness would be applied to our lives and that relationship. We need to be healed from the problems our sin creates and sometimes, it creates problems in relationships to others.
Note the last sentence about how our effective prayers (for those considered and labeled by God as “righteous” due to their faith in Him), accomplish much. This is not to say that everything we pray for will come to pass. It simply says that our prayers will “accomplish much.” When we pray, it is really a process. We confess our sins, our shortcomings, our inability to grasp the Lord’s will in all things. We pray because we want to know His will. We also pray because we have requests that we believe only God can fulfill. We pray because during the process of prayer, we either gain much faith and strength knowing that God will bring certain things to pass that we have prayed for, or He modifies our wants and desires during our prayers to align themselves with His desires and purposes.
I believe that is exactly what happened with Daniel and his friends. They came to the Lord for the express purpose of learning what Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed. They asked the Lord to reveal that dream and its meaning. Because it was fully within God’s purposes to do so, He responded in the affirmative. But we’ll see in future chapters of Daniel that this is not always the case.
However, it is also very important to understand that whatever God’s response to our prayers is, we do what Daniel did at the end of verse 19. He blessed God. How did he do this? Most likely via praise because Daniel knew that neither he nor his friends had the capacity to learn what Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed or its interpretation apart from God. This should be our automatic response regardless of how God responds to our prayers.
Isn’t this exactly what Proverbs 3:6 states quite clearly, as just one example?
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
As we submit ourselves to Him, expecting only His direction in our lives – whatever that direction may be in each situation – He will make our paths straight. In other words, He will make things very clear about how we should proceed. That is what He does and He does so not only for our benefit and growth, but ultimately for His glory.
I believe that had not God revealed the mysteries Daniel and his friends sought, they still would have praised God for His revealed will, even though it meant their deaths. These things are in God’s hands. We need to strive to live as they lived, knowing that the God of heaven is in charge of our lives. We must seek and embrace His revealed will even if at first it doesn’t gel with us.
It is for our growth and His glory.