Mission Impossible Daniel (Chapter 2)
(By Ben Fronczek)
In our last lesson I talked a little about how and why Daniel and a few other Jews were in Babylon. The Jewish nation had turned their back on God and the covenant they had made with Him during the time of Moses. In that covenant God had told them that He would greatly bless them for their faithfulness, but if they turned their back on Him and the covenant they had made they would eventually suffer dire consequences. As far back as the time of Moses God predicted that the Jews would one day do just this and so God told them that one day He would allow a king and a kingdom they did not know to come in and destroy their nation and all but a few would survive. God also told them that some of the survivors would even be carried off and they would serve the king that captured them. All this took place about 587BC as predicted..
As we looked at Daniel chapter 1 last time, we read where the king ordered his servant to choose some of the finest young men, who had been captured, who were somewhat wise and showed a aptitude to learn so that they could be trained to serve in the royal palace. Daniel and is 3 companions were chosen and they were given new Babylonian names. The king also provided them with food from his own table. This may have seem like a blessing to those who had just come out of a city that was besieged and nearly starved out during a time of war, but for Daniel and his companions they just could not eat the kings food. Daniel and his companions were obviously young men that had a good upbringing and were some of the few that remained faithful to the Lord. So they made a decision not to defile themselves by eating the kings food. As the story goes God honors their loyalty and commitment to Him and the Mosaic covenant and blessed them with good health and more wisdom than any in Babylon. That leads us to chapter 2. Read 2:1-13 (click on and read)
It seems to me that king Nebuchadnezzar was no fool. He had all these magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers in his service (on the pay role as it were) and so after having this disturbing dream he tests to see if they were scamming him and playing him for a fool. After calling them in he demands that they not only tell him what he dreamt but also what it meant. If they didn’t he’d have them torn limb from limb for being phonies.
Well these guys were frantic, and they even admitted that there was no way that they could tell the king what he dreamt. They said no king ever made such a request.
At that point the king sees them for who and what they really were… a bunch of phony charlatans who were mooching off him. So in anger he sends the order out to have all these so called ‘wise men’ executed in Babylon. Read 2:14-24 (click on verse and read)
Being in the company of the wise men, Daniel and his 3 companions were to be rounded up with the others to be executed. The text goes on to say that Daniel spoke to this commander with wisdom and tact. – I think its important how we talk to others… The NASB says that he spoke with discretion and discernment. The KJV says the he answered with counsel and wisdom.
How we speak to another can make all the difference in a stressful, difficult time of peril. All too often we are quick with our tongue and shoot our self in the foot when we need to be careful and think before we speak.
Proverbs 13:3 says, “Proud fools talk too much; the words of the wise protect them.”
Even at a young age Daniel was wise enough to see this. I wonder if he memorized some of those proverbs written by Solomon? Maybe he did!
After finding out what was going on, Daniel goes to the king and asks for a little bit of time so that he could come back with an answer. Here we see Daniel stepping out on faith. Not only is he bold enough to confront this powerful king who was obviously upset with all the wise men, we also see that Daniel believed that the Lord would help him with this problem.
Where the other magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers said that it was impossible, Daniel said ‘give me a chance.’ Why and how could Daniel believe that he had such a chance to do this? Because Daniel knew the scriptures, and Daniel knew that his God and our God can do amazing things, and will bless those who are truly faithful to Him as He had already done for Daniel and his companions and for others throughout the Bible (e.g.).
So Daniel returns home and tells his three friends what’s going and asks them to pray. And what happens? God shows Daniel what the kings saw in his dream and what it meant. After thanking and praising God he returns to the king and tells him that there is a God in Heaven who knows all and has revealed to him what the king saw in his vision. Read 2:25-49 (click on and read verse)
So what did the King see in his vision? He saw a great statue with a head of gold, with a chest and arms of silver, with a belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet part iron and part clay, and then he saw a stone smash it all to bits. That stone became a mountain and would last forever.
What does the image of this great statue represent? Well Daniel lets the king know that the God of heaven had revealed the future to him in that vision. Each section represented a different kingdom or empire. The gold head represented him, this king and the Babylonian empire. The empire to follow depicted as silver would be a little inferior representing the Medo-Persian Empire. This would be followed by the Greek empire seen as the bronze section, followed by the Roman Empire first depicted by the iron legs and then the feet of iron and clay as the Roman Empire as it deteriorated. And finally the empire that would outlive them all and last forever (that is the church and the kingdom of God) that was the stone that would strike them all down and grow into an everlasting mountain.
At this explanation Nebuchadnezzar is not only awed and blown away, this great and powerful king humbles himself and falls prostrate before this young man Daniel.
As I said earlier, this king was no fool, Daniel had produced the goods. Because Daniel gave God the glory and credit right from the beginning, rather than himself, Nebuchadnezzar recognized God for who He is; the God of gods, and Lord of Kings and praised Him as such.
Daniel is promoted to rule over the entire province of Babylon and was placed in charge of all its wise men. Sounds a little like the story of Joseph to me.
So what lesson can we take away from this story today?
I believe we can learn some principles that can help us handle predicaments which seem way beyond our own ability. You may not have a king demanding you to tell him what he dreamt last night and what it means but we all face our own crisis that seem beyond our ability to solve on our own. Maybe it’s a health issue you or a loved one has, maybe it’s your marriage, or a financial problem, maybe a disastrous relationship problem, or a habitual sin problem and you can’t seem to fix yourself or stop on your own.
#1. I believe God’s work is most obvious when it our situation becomes humanly impossible. All too often we take God’s involvement and blessings for granted.
But when we’ve done all that we can do or we are face with what may seem like an impossible situation, we have a heavenly Father who loves us who we can turn to.
Daniel understood that a humanly impossible situation can only be resolved with divine help. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the trials he faced he wrote,
“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us… “ 2 Cor. 8-10
No matter how impossible a situation may seem it is important for us to turn to God for help.
In Mark 10:27 Jesus said, “All things are possible with GOD!”
#2. When you don’t know what to do or how to do it, PRAY! Ask others to pray for you as well. Over and over when in difficult situations we see men and women of God praying for themselves and for one another. James wrote that if we lack knowledge or wisdom we should pray for it. But he also goes on to say,
“6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
#3. God wants us to believe and trust in Him, even if we don’t understand how He can fix things. That’s what we call faith. And that kind of faithful prayer will see results. Such prayers of faith will eventually produce praise. Praise from you and praise from others.
#4. When things like this happen when we see God resolving great problems, our faith grows. Our faith grows from trial to trail, from faith to faith. I believe Daniel and his 3 friends grew stronger with each passing trial, and they needed to because they would have more trials to come. Likewise we are to grow stronger from trial to trail, from faith to faith. I believe sometimes God may allow certain things to happen in our life hoping that our faith will grow stronger.
#5. Miracles like this not only build our faith, it opens eyes of others as well, just like it opened the eyes of Nebuchadnezzar who praise our Lord in Heaven. Sometimes it’s not all about you.
So whatever you face you need to remember that there is a God in Heaven and He is able.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
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