God Reveals Nebuchadnezzar's Dream17 Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions,18 and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered and said:
to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep 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 might,
and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
for you have made known to us the king's matter.”
Accompanying sermon John MacArthur sermon: The Forgotten Dream and the Unforgettable Daniel
Accompanying sermon by Richard DeMass: The Revealer of Mysteries
Accompanying sermon by Ray Pritchard: The World According to God
There are limits to humanity's power and abilities. King Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful man on earth, but he couldn't sleep. His advisors were the wisest men in the kingdom, but they couldn't read the King's mind or tell him his dream - that was humanly impossible.
Why would God reveal prophesy to a pagan King? Obviously, we don't know the mind of God, but there are some options that make sense. First of all, Israel had become apostate, and rejection with full knowledge is even worse than pagan unbelief. Secondly, this would reveal to both nations the power of God. Thirdly, God can and will use anyone He wishes, in order to fulfil His divine purposes.
The King obviously knew, at least to a certain extent, that the abilities of the wise men to interpret dreams was a bunch of hocus pocus. The Babylonians historically put huge stock in dreams and there was a method to their interpretations based on prior dreams and their "results", but it really was similar to the psychics of today, who find out a few details and then weave together plausible scenarios so broad they cannot be wrong.
And so the King issues them a challenge - not to just interpret his dream, but to tell him what he dreamt! God had given him this vision, but then He caused Nebuchadnezzar to forget it, in order to display His power and dominion over all the earth and its future. Obviously, they cannot do what he asks, and in a fit of rage he orders all the wise men to be executed. Anger causes us to make stupid and rash decisions, and the King was no exception. This order would include Daniel and his friends, though they were likely still apprentices, which is likely why they were not in the room when the King made his demands.
Notice Daniel's incredibly mature response - remember, at this point he is still a teenager, between 17 and 19 yrs of age. When the executioners found Daniel and his friends, he didn't panic. He calmly and tactfully asked about the situation. When he found out about the King's dream dilemma, he likely knew immediately that this was why God had given him the gift of understanding dreams and visions (Daniel 1:17). Acting on faith, he sought an audience with the king - a king with absolute authority and who was currently acting in rage and not sound thinking. But Daniel is certain that God is with him and he goes to the king.
After the king grants him time to interpret his dream (something the king had denied the other wise men - once again, evidence of God's hand at work), Daniel finds his friends and fellow believers and asks them to pray with him. God answers Daniel's prayer and Daniel's immediate response is one of thankfulness and praise, giving glory to God.
What unwavering faith! How do we react to pressure? To unexpected crises? Do we remain calm, secure in the sovereignty of God, assess the situation, and gather fellow believers to pray to God for wisdom on how to handle the crisis? Do we respond in thankfulness and praise, giving glory to the One to whom it belongs?
And when Daniel returns to the King, he makes it clear, in no uncertain terms, that what the King asked for was impossible with man, and only possible through the power of God.
Isn't this also true of the way of salvation? Salvation is impossible through the mind and power of man. We are dead in our sins. We cannot save ourselves or discover the way of salvation on our own. But God, in His infinite wisdom and power, shows us the way, and stirs our spirits to receive the glorious mystery of salvation. Thanks be to God our Saviour!
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Daniel 2:31-49