Nebuchadnezzar was a troubled man before he met Daniel and the living God.
The king’s dream about the statue out of gold, silver, bronze and iron/clay really troubled him (Daniel 2). He had to know what it means. So he called in his wise men: magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers – more or less the scientists of his day.
He expected what was humanly impossible from them: not only did they have to interpret the dream, they also had to to tell him what the dream was. Yet knowing was terribly important, because it would disclose God’s plan in history.
The credibility of the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers was at stake. They stared being cut in pieces in the eye.
They admitted, “There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks.” Exactly! They were right, only the God of heaven knows.
Further, “No one can reveal it to the king except the gods.” Halfway correct this time, gods know nothing (Isaiah 44:17-18), only God does. “They do not live among men.” Correct, or maybe not: gods don’t, God does.
Credibility in tatters: chop them up! But just wait a while. There might be grace
Daniel appears on the scene. He prayed to the only God who knows and who answers prayers.
He returns to Nebuchadnezzar and proclaims the greatness of God: There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. I know these things, not because I a better than the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers. God made it clear to me.
Daniel explains and interprets the dream of the king. He explains what is going to happen through the Neo-Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman Empires. But he does not stop there. All of these empires would only be an lead-up to the Messianic Empire of Jesus Christ the Son of God “that will never be destroyed.” He is the Rock cut out from the mountain, but not by human hands.
The greatness of Daniel does not lie in his person, but in his obedience to proclaim the Word of God.
Nebuchadnezzar did not get it immediately, but by the grace of God he finally understood:
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble. (Daniel 4:37, NIV)
I would like to talk to him when I get to heaven about his dreaded dreams.
One can only wonder if the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers got it – and admitted their folly. They did get a second chance, didn’t they?
God reveals Himself by his Word, his Son, our Saviour. The Word, the Bible is about Him. It is true and infallible. He is Immanuel (Matthew 1:23), God-with-us, the One who came to make his dwelling with us (John 1:14)
Many wise men are rejecting this word, and they will continue to do so. Their credibility is at stake – that is lest they fall before the the Son and kiss Him. If not, He will destroy them (Psalm 2:12).
This troubled world is in need of the Word about the Word. Like Daniel we need to provide what we have received.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:2–5, NIV)
ⓒ Rev D Rudi Schwartz