Year 3 Day 11
Read - Daniel 2v1-24
Message - Scott Woodburn
When Martin Luther King had a dream he spoke eloquently about it and inspired generations. Nebuchadnezzar was no Martin Luther King. The ruler of Babylon also had a dream but it wasn't about children playing together or the quality of a man's character. It was about...well...actually...what was it about?
To answer this question Nebuchadnezzar called all of his magicians and enchanters and put them to the test. His dream was more akin to a nightmare, it had troubled him greatly and caused him to lose sleep (v1). So he called his staff together and challenged them to tell him the content of his dream (v2). If they were able to do that then Nebuchadnezzar could trust them to interpret the dream (v9). Great riches and honour awaited the successful enchanter (v6).
The enchanters, magicians and sorcerers had been put in an impossible situation. Their boss was essentially asking them to read his mind and so they were forced to admit the task they had been given was impossible . Only the gods could help and unfortunately "their dwelling is not with flesh" (v11)
Nebuchadnezzar responded to this with unbridled rage. He had threatened to tear his wise men limb from limb and to destroy their families (v5) and so he ordered that all the wise men of Babylon be killed (v12). Behold the pettiness and vindictiveness of sin. Nebuchadnezzar was prepared to slaughter thousands for the sake of an unknown and uninterpreted dream.
Daniel and his friends would certainly have lost their lives in the purge (v13) and so Daniel acted with great urgency. He sought a meeting with Nebuchadnezzar to discuss the issue (v16) and he asked his friends to seek the mercy of Almighty God in revealing to them the mystery of the dream (v18). Years later James would be inspired to write "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." (James 1v5) Daniel lacked wisdom but just as Nebuchadnezzar was troubled at night, so God answered Daniel's prayer in a vision by night (v19).
You would think that Daniel would rush straight for the palace, but instead he fell straight to his knees and praised the Lord (v19b). Daniel's song of praise is a wonderful reminder that to our God belongs all wisdom and might (v20). He rules over times and seasons and kings and queens (v21). He generously gives wisdom and knowledge to His people, revealing to them deep and hidden things (v21b-22) and He deserves our thanks and praise for how He answers our prayers and guides our paths (v23).
And so with a song of praise lifted to the Lord, Daniel made further arrangements to stop the slaughter in Babylon and go and see the king (v24).
Nebuchadnezzar could not be helped by his vast array of staff. The magicians, enchanters and sorcerers likewise could not be helped by their occult practices and false gods. The king was tormented by his dreams, his government was tormented by the king and all these years later nothing has changed. We live in towns where people search for truth everywhere except before the Lord's throne. Many have built their lives on gut feelings, following the heart, false religions, crossing fingers, ouija boards, granny speaking from beyond the grave, praying to "angels" and a host of other dangerous nonsense.
If we seek truth, if we thirst for wisdom, if we long for peace then we absolutely must look to Christ. "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power." (Hebrews 1v1-3) Here is our Saviour! He laughs at the gods of wood and stone! He is wisdom! He is truth! He is light in the darkness! He made his dwelling with flesh!
"Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways! 'For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor?' 'Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?' For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11v33-36)
Q18 Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell? The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.