The Book of Daniel, Let Me Tell You About My Dream!, Daniel 2:1-13 - Lesson 7
We have seen in our previous studies the rise of Daniel and his three fellow Hebrews, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who after having been questioned by the king himself, were declared to be ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers of his realm.
But this elevated status is soon threatened by what takes place in chapter two for what takes place is that which comes from the
troubled spirit of King Nebuchadnezzar.
From first glance one would assume that all is lost, but with a full understanding of this event we can come to the conclusion that the God of Daniel is in charge and has brought Nebuchadnezzarís troubled spirit about in order to lift up these humble men who trust in Him.
The Bible is clear that God will lift up the humble but will bring down the proud.
Each one of us can choose which group in which to be, but the result of that choice is up to our God.
As Proverbs 16:33 says, The lot is cast into the lap but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.
Daniel and his friends chose to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God and by doing this they let God overrule in their lives which resulted in being lifted up.
Nebuchadnezzar chose to exalt himself but God chose to humble him as we well see in further chapters.
Let us read the beginning 13 verses of this chapter
Daniel 2:1-13, And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack (Aramaic), O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation. The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. But if ye show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it. The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation thereof. The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the kingís matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.
There is much in this passage that is timeless.
It does not take much to know that there are charlatans in this world.
The world is abundant with religious frauds and we see in this passage that King Nebuchadnezzar suspected that he was surrounded by them in his palace.
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had a disturbing dream and he took advantage of this dream to test the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans as to the validity of their powers.
He not only told them to interpret the dream but he told them to also tell him the dream.
We do not know if he remembered the dream himself or if this was just a way to separate the true interpreter from the false.
The phrase in verse five which says "The thing is gone from me" in other translations reads "The command from me is firm".
In other words it does not mean he doesnít remember the dream but means this is my command and I am not backing down.
Now it is not an unusual occurrence to not remember a dream.
This happens to all of us from time to time when we have a dream and are not able to recall it in the morning but we know that it was disturbing.
I suspect that if someone were to tell us the dream we would exclaim, Yes, thatís it, eureka, it has come back to me!
But no king had even asked such a thing.
To ask for an interpretation is one thing but to first ask as to what the dream was, was preposterous.
Now Nebuchadnezzar was not a man whom you could put off by saying that what he said was preposterous.
These experts were aghast in hearing such a command for they knew that what he asked for was well out of their power to do.
For Nebuchadnezzar to demand this was disastrous to his staff.
And not only did he ask, he clearly defined what would take place when they did not comply with his command.
There would be slicing and dicing in their midst, and not only in their midst, in their legs, in their arms and through their neck.
And not only would they be left in pieces but their houses would be made into a rubbish heap which indicated that their families would also be executed.
King Nebuchadnezzar was not a man to be fooled with for this was the man who roasted Zedekiah and Ahab in the fire as Jeremiah reports in Jeremiah 29:22-23.
This is the same man who will later attempt to do the same, that is to roast the three Hebrew children in his oven which he commanded to heat 7 times hotter.
He is commanding the impossible with the penalty of death for non-compliance and is told by his advisors that what he asked was unreasonable and beyond what their gods could do.
There is a saying that beyond manís extremity lies Godís opportunity.
There is a vast gap beyond manís extremity which only faith in God fills.
Man is given to reach just so far but beyond manís reach God comes into play.
I believe that Michelangelo painted this on the Sistine chapel where you can see Moses extending his arm and finger their full extent to be met by the hand of God.
Your worst circumstance may be God's best opportunity and God provided the circumstance though the kingís dream.
And this was not only an extremity for Daniel but it was also an extremity for Nebuchadnezzar.
For we will see in chapter two an introduction of Danielís God to the king as we learn that Nebuchadnezzar soon heard about the only God who could accomplish the kingís demand.
We will see as we study the book of Daniel that Danielís rise is a main theme of the book but the path toward and the salvation of Nebuchadnezzar is also very prominent for we will see in chapter four the bowing of his knees to our God.
This dream starts the king on that path.
Daniel, when offering himself up to reveal the dream and the interpretation thereof begins by bringing to the mind of the king the events that led up to the dream.
We find in Daniel 2:29 this revelation, As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.
Before going to sleep the night of his dream, Nebuchadnezzar was musing or pondering what the future held for himself and his kingdom.
I suppose this is an activity not far from any leader or in fact anyone for we all muse about the future.
Our Pastor no doubt muses "What will become of Grace Bible Church, of Santa Rosa Christian School, the Childrenís Bible Club, the YAC ministry, the Projector?
Each parent muses about their children, as to what will become of them.
What does the future hold?
Inquiring minds would like to know the answer but most likely we who muse will not be given a dream as to the answer.
But Nebuchadnezzar was given a dream and it deeply disturbed him and he wanted to know what the dream was and what it meant.
We do not know the dream patterns of the king.
There was no doubt in his mind that this was a special dream as he was impressed enough to gather his soothsayers together and command them to not only interpret the dream, but to tell the dream.
Verses 8 and 9 reveal to us that Nebuchadnezzar had some experience with his experts and wished no conspiracy from them to bring him only that which they thought he wanted to hear.
Verse 8 and 9, The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me (command from me is firm). 9But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation thereof.
Perhaps there were other occasions where Nebuchadnezzar had dreams interpretations full of platitudes and unspecific information for which he could not hold the interpreterís feet to the fire.
So he came up with a sure fire test.
In his culture it was thought that dreams were a means of the gods communicating with men.
It was natural for the king to want an interpretation for he wanted to know what the gods were saying to him.
We are told that his spirit was troubled; a foreboding that he must know about this particular dream more than other dreams that he had had.
This particular dream was such to bring him a sense of dread and motivated him to bring the kingís wise men to solve the problem.
This was a diverse court with men of many heathen religious practices but the conclusion of the assembled wise men was unanimous.
The king was being unreasonable to not only ask for an interpretation but to also command that they tell him the dream.
They might as well have been commanded to fly as to comply with the kingís command for it was totally outside the ability of each.
Daniel 2:10-11, The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the kingís matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. 11And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.
In this they revealed to the king that they had no power to do what was commanded.
But they also revealed that powers higher than they would have to step in and give the king what he desired.
And this is where our God dwells.
At the end of manís extremity dwells our God and the king had a man in his court who knew that God, a man who had faith enough to stretch out his arm to him.
Now that man and his three friends were included in the group which had just received the death sentence.
And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.
The roundup had begun.
Arioch the captain of the kingís guard had been assigned the duty to gather the wise men in one place.
Most likely there was to be a mass execution and names had been named and Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariahís names had been called.
This was one of those times that when you heard the call you did not want to answer "Here"!
But Daniel was forthright and did answer with counsel and wisdom.
The New American Standard version says he replied to the call with discretion and discernment.
I read this from that version:
Daniel 2:14-16, Then Daniel replied with discretion and discernment to Arioch, the captain of the kingís bodyguard, who had gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon; he said to Arioch, the kingís commander, "For what reason is the decree from the king so urgent?" Then Arioch informed Daniel about the matter. 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.
What depth of character is revealed by Danielís reaction to this roundup.
Daniel was a man of great God given wisdom which was especially exercised in times of crisis.
Nebuchadnezzar was not a king to be defied and his commands were to be obeyed without question.
But rather than reacting in panic Daniel reacted with discretion and discernment.
Here again we see that Daniel had, previous to this event, no doubt established a good relationship with Arioch, the kingís commander for we see a kindness on Ariochís part to Daniel even though he had orders to carry out his execution.
And because of this, he was able to learn what all the fuss was about and react positively to it.
There is no scripture that tells us Daniel had ever interpreted a dream before but one thing Daniel knew was that God knew the dream and the interpretation thereof and Daniel knew that God.
Here we see an opportunity given of God to Daniel to exercise faith in his God and display this God given gift to the king which was to put him in good stead in the kingdom for years to come.
Daniel, like his brother Joseph before him who interpreted Pharaohís dream, was fully persuaded that what the king demanded, God was able to do, through those who called upon Him for mercy in time of need.
On this basis, Daniel requested the king for time to discern the dream and its meaning in order to reveal it.
The delay was granted and in this granting Nebuchadnezzar showed a confidence in Daniel that was missing in his other wise men for whom he granted no delay.
In them he expected nothing other than a delay to formulate deceit and conspiracy.