It Is Finished Audio

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Daniel: Dreams, Visions, & the End Times -- Bible Lesson 3

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Introduction to Daniel 3

God had given Nebuchadnezzar a dream of future events regarding Babylon and the kingdoms to come after him. He had been shown a vast statue of various materials such as gold, silver, bronze, iron, and clay, each representing the kingdoms to come and their power. His dream is, in many ways, still unfolding today as we live in a mixture of part iron and clay. One may wonder how this can be. As you may recall from the previous lesson, Rome was represented by the iron but had become divided, thus being represented by the iron mixed with clay. Today, we live in a time where the world's kingdoms are divided, although they will one day have a false unity under the leadership of the antichrist. They guarantee promises, make countless peace treaties, and form alliances, only to have them broken. The United States at one time represented a melting pot of freedom, liberty, and justice for all. Unfortunately, it now represents greed, corruption, perversion, and a magnet for all types of debauchery. Yet, there is a call for those who are believers in Christ to stand uncompromisingly for Him.

In this next lesson, we will see how God used three young men to make a righteous stand before a heathen king, nation, and fellow exiles. These Jewish men, although in captivity, did not compromise their beliefs in the Lord for fear of death. They held on to what they knew to be true despite the threat of death, and the Lord brought them out of the fire without any evidence of having been thrown in. If He could do it for them, would He not do the same for us today? Let’s dive in as we watch the Lord do the miraculous in an impossible situation.

 Image of Gold

“King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.  He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up” (Daniel 3:1-2).

            King Nebuchadnezzar had been given a dream of a tall statue made of various materials such as gold, silver, bronze, iron, and clay. These materials represented kingdoms, but he seemed inspired by this dream, thus making a pure golden image unto himself and/or his gods. The Bible describes the image as sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, equating to ninety feet tall and nine feet wide. The place where Nebuchadnezzar erected the image was named Dura which means circuit or walled place and was a common name in Mesopotamia.[1]

            The Babylons worshiped many gods, like Marduk, who was their primary deity and believed the be the god of heaven, earth, nature, and humanity.[2] According to the Babylonian historians, Bel was another name given to Marduk, but the name meant lord. Babylon took pride in their heathen worship and Nebuchadnezzar, being a heathen king, took pride in his god-like position and ability to command others to obey. Yet, Nebuchadnezzar was going to once again learn about the power of the one true God. The Bible says:Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable” (Isaiah 40:28).

            King Nebuchadnezzar had commanded every official within his province, especially those in government, to come to the ceremony for the image he had set up. In today’s time, this would be similar to inviting the White House staff, members of Congress, the Supreme Court Justices, local mayors, other city officials, and maybe even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, active-duty military personnel, and our three-letter gangs (FBI, CIA, HLS, DHS, etc.). Their attendance was mandatory, and no one dared defy the official summons to appear. 

Leaders on Board

“So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it” (Daniel 3:3).

            All the invited officials attended the opening ceremony of King Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. One could almost certainly say it was less of an invitation that one could decline and more of a command. Nevertheless, all who were supposed to be in attendance were present.

            Can you imagine if the world would flood the churches by automatic invitation every time the doors opened? Think about the changes that would occur in the lives of many who would go to the Lord’s house to hear sound preaching and surrender their hearts to Him. Charles Spurgeon is quoted as saying: [Oh, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies; and if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay, and not madly to destroy themselves. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”][1] This Baptist preacher from the 1800s argued that the body of Christ should do everything possible to prevent even one sinner from being condemned to eternal fire.

It should not be an easy stroll to go to hell, but one that a person takes out of the hardness of their hearts as every effort from believers made it difficult to get there. The Bible says: The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Sadly, many leaders are drawing crowds, but few are using their platforms to point to Jesus and the work He did on the cross for our sins. As a result, we have corruption of both political and spiritual leaders who jump at the earthly kings’ command but ignore the King of kings.

  

The Call to Bow

“Then the herald loudly proclaimed, ‘Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace’ ”

 (Daniel 3:4-6).

 

            The command had gone out for all the people to bow to the golden statue Nebuchadnezzar had created. No one was exempt from following this command regardless of age, ethnicity, race, social class, or otherwise. The messenger made it clear for all to hear in their language, and they were to act accordingly upon hearing the sound of the music. This was a call for universal worship of a foreign idol, with King Nebuchadnezzar relishing in pride, arrogance, and self-worship as if he were a deity of the gods. Strikingly, this is comparable to what John the Revelator wrote regarding the worship of the beast and its image. The Bible says: “The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:5-8). Similarly, Babylon had been appointed as God’s instrument of judgment to the Jews for seventy years.

Nebuchadnezzar had waged war against God’s people and conquered Jerusalem and the Lord’s temple. Nevertheless, this did not occur by happenstance. The Lord had authorized and ordained it to teach His people a great lesson. The Bible says: “Now I will give all your countries into the hands of my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him. All nations will serve him and his son and his grandson until the time for his land comes; then many nations and great kings will subjugate him. If, however, any nation or kingdom will not serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon or bow its neck under his yoke, I will punish that nation with the sword, famine and plague, declares the Lord, until I destroy it by his hand” (Jeremiah 27:6-8). Just as God will allow the dragon and his beasts to operate in their plans for a time, He had allowed Babylon to have dominion over His people. Even so, they were not supposed to worship him or his gods or bow to his music.

One may wonder why music and various musical instruments were used to lure people into bowing down to this golden image. Music is one of the most powerful tools ever invented. It can either be an agent for good or evil. It was initially meant only to praise and worship the Lord. The Bible says: Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!” (Psalm 150:1-6). The Lord loves our praise, and singing with instruments and dance pleases Him. Sadly, the devil loves to be praised as well. The Bible says: You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created” (Ezekiel 28:13). The Bible seems to indicate that God created Lucifer to be musically inclined in Heaven. Unfortunately, as with nearly everything, He took what was good, and turned it into evil, where music is no longer pure and clean.

Many of today’s lyrics are filled with absolute garbage. Songs are being made about sexually exploiting children and turning them into homosexuals, lesbians, and transgenders in the name of diversity. Women are regarded as mere sex objects for an ungodly feminist movement. Young people are taught to disrespect authority, and a man going to jail or prison has been made to appear cool and as a right of passage. Murder is celebrated, and thug life is noted to be the norm instead of having respect for all human life and being a positive influence in society. Even the church has crossed lines in an effort to stay prominent on the Billboard’s Hot 100, where collaborations with vulgar, secular artists are deemed as ministry, and anyone who dares to speak against it is considered self-righteous, unloving, judgmental, and negative. Yet, the prisons and jails are full, abortion clinics’ profits are abundant, single-parent homes are in high numbers, and criminal activity amongst young people is skyrocketing. Music is definitely affecting people far and near, as in Nebuchadnezzar’s time. The question is, on which side of the aisle are you? Do you listen to music where Jesus is glorified and would not have to leave the room, or are you in sync with the world where the enemy can have you bow?

 


Time to Bow

“Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘May the king live forever! Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set   up’ ” (Daniel 3:7-12).

            So, the music began to play. Everyone in attendance began to bow to the golden image except three young men –Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These young men obviously stood out because everyone else had obeyed the command to bow before the image. If you recall, these were the same young men who declined to eat the king’s food. They were also the three friends Daniel called upon to pray with him to receive the contents and interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. After God answered their prayer, Daniel was given a high position in the kingdom and so were they. Nevertheless, they did not allow fear of losing their jobs, social status, and/or life to deter them from obeying God. They were committed to honoring the Lord regardless of the cost because He required their obedience. They may have remembered the stories of the past and how their ancestors failed miserably in honoring the Lord. They may have even recalled the prophets who warned of the destruction that would come if their nation did not return to the God of their ancestors. Therefore, they refused to follow the same destructive path regardless of their geographical location or governmental position; enslavement or freedom. The Bible says: And Samuel said, ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams’ ” (1 Samuel 15:22). Obedience to God was better than any sacrifice they would have to make was the mindset of Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego.

Upon noticing that these men refused to bow, some Babylonians reported this defiance to the king. They told the king that there were some Jews who dared to defy his ordinance to worship the image. Could it be that these Babylonians may have been envious that the king would allow these Jewish exiles to have positions in the kingdom? Did they possibly see this as an opportunity to have them removed? Well, here was their chance, or at least they thought to bring to the king’s attention the defiance of these Jewish men because the Babylonians were sure to mention that they held positions throughout the land.

Sometimes, Christians will have enemies who are just watching for an opportunity for us to fall. They sit and wait until someone does the least little thing, and then the finger-pointing begins. However, it is so important for believers to watch, pray, and try to avoid temptation so the enemy will not get a foothold. This is not to say that any of us will be perfect. Nevertheless, we are only made so in Christ. The Bible says: You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).



[1] Charles Spurgeon, "Top 25 Charles Spurgeon Quotes on Prayer & Jesus," A-Z Quotes, accessed January 28, 2023, https://www.azquotes.com/author/13978-Charles_Spurgeon.

 



[1] Bible Gateway, "Dura - Encyclopedia of The Bible - Bible Gateway," BibleGateway.com: A Searchable Online Bible in over 150 Versions and 50 Languages, accessed January 27, 2023, https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/encyclopedia-of-the-bible/Dura.

[2] Nemanja, "Babylonian Gods - A Comprehensive List - Symbol Sage," Symbol Sage, last modified August 23, 2022, https://symbolsage.com/babylonian-gods-a-list/.

 

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Daniel: Dreams, Visions, & the End Times -- Bible Lesson 2

 

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Introduction to Daniel 2

            In lesson one of this series, we were introduced to the young Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They stood courageously for God when it could have been easy to disregard all they had learned about Him due to being in a foreign land. Nevertheless, the Lord’s hands were at work in their lives, and He let them know they were not alone. The Lord gave them favor with the king’s official regarding their diet because the young men did not want to defile themselves with the king’s food. He also supplied them with extraordinary wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of government, philosophy, education, and Babylonian culture, thus surpassing that of their peers and expert advisors. 

            In this second lesson, we will see more of God’s involvement in the life of Daniel and the Lord’s first introduction of Himself to the Babylonian ruler. In 587 B.C., God allowed King Nebuchadnezzar to overpower Judah, deport its citizens, and destroy the city and its capital, Jerusalem, thus fulfilling His word given to Jeremiah and other prophets. The Bible says: Now I will give all your countries into the hands of my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him” (Jeremiah 27:6). The Lord made the king great, but He had more in store for this heathen king.

King Nebuchadnezzar was given a powerful prophetic dream despite not knowing nor serving the Lord. He saw future events leading up to the end of days and Jesus’ return. Why would a heathen king receive such a compelling dream while not knowing the Lord? Could it be that God would use Daniel to introduce him to the One True God of Hosts? Let’s look at how the Lord used a young man in exile to be His mouthpiece in Babylon and will similarly use us today.

The King’s Dream

“In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled, and he could not sleep. So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, ‘I have had a dream that troubles me, and I want to know what it means.’ Then the astrologers answered the king, ‘May the king live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it’ ” (Daniel 2:1-4).

            Nebuchadnezzar was pretty new in his leadership role as Babylon’s king during his siege upon Judah. According to some historical accounts, his father, Nabopolassar, had liberated Babylonia from Assyria's rule with the help of the Medes and left his son, Nebuchadnezzar, with a firm foundation once he succeeded him to the throne. Nebuchadnezzar, no less, made a name for himself and formed an alliance with the Medes through marriage to their king’s daughter, Amytis.[1] Later, however, this powerful king became troubled due to a dream that the Lord had given him. He called for his advisors to give him the interpretation of the dream.

            History tells of Babylon looking to astrologers to tell them their gods' desires. The Babylonians believed that the planets represented different gods, and that the sun, moon, and stars spoke of the gods’ will. The Babylonians had a prophecy from the second millennium that predicted children born in the twelfth month of the year would be blessed with longevity and male heirs. They also believed that one could know about an individual based on the arrangement of the stars at the time of their birth.[2] Thus, Babylon was heavily invested in its astrologers and those who practiced magic arts.

            The Bible does not say if Nebuchadnezzar had other dreams where he sought out the counsel of his astrologers. Nevertheless, in this case, he expected them to be able to give him the interpretation of the dream, thus fulfilling their duties to him. The Bible says that he had dreams, so this meant that there was more than one. However, something was troubling about this one dream that left him unable to sleep. His spirit was perplexed, and he wanted an immediate interpretation where calmness may once again return.

            The Lord has often used dreams throughout history to send His people warnings, instructions, and other messages. However, the Lord also sent dreams to those who did not know or acknowledge Him. For example, Pharaoh was given a dream of an upcoming famine (Genesis 41:1-7). Abimelech was warned in a dream against taking Abraham’s wife, Sarah, into his home (Genesis 20:3-7). Laban was cautioned in a dream to watch his behavior regarding his nephew Jacob (Genesis 31:24). While there were others, the Lord had profound messages to deliver when He used dreams to speak.

            It is always important to heed the Lord’s voice whenever He speaks, whether through dreams, visions, His Word, prophecy, or some other method. He is not like a man who does idle talk, but every Word from the Lord is of great significance. The Lord had this to say through the Prophet Joel: Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28). As time draws closer to the Lord’s return, we should not find it strange that the Lord will speak even more to His people and others through dreams and visions. Nevertheless, always get confirmation from Him as to what He has to say and through whom He is speaking it.

Threat of Death

“The king replied to the astrologers, ‘This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me’ ” (Daniel 2:5-6).

            The dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had seriously impacted him. He did not understand its contents, and it left him very troubled. Nevertheless, when he called his advisors to come, he was not willing to tell them about the dream. It would seem that the king was skeptical and not confident that his wise men would give him a meaningful and authentic interpretation. It would have been easy for the king to tell them the contents of the dream, but this was the workings of the Lord. By not allowing them to fabricate an interpretation, they were placed in a position to be honest and acknowledge that their magic, sorcery, astrology, and charms were unable to grant the king's request. However, this only angered the king.

            Nebuchadnezzar expected his demands to be met or those within his counsel would be executed. Not only did he threaten to kill them, but he threatened to destroy their property as well. This could have included the members of their household and servants, which the king had been known to do. In 2 Kings, the Bible tells the story of Nebuchadnezzar capturing Judah’s king, Zedekiah, killing his sons in his view and then plucking out his eyes. King Nebuchadnezzar was not a ruler for the faint at heart. Anyone daring to cross him or failing to meet his demands would meet an untimely fate, and the presumed guilty party’s execution could have been the final result.

            One can only imagine the fear in the hearts of those serving the king. They could not honor his request, and even though he promised to reward them, their inability to accomplish this great task was more than they could bear. After all, no one had ever asked them to do such a thing, and with all their knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of their gods, they could not get help from them.

Death Decree Issued

“Once more they replied, ‘Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.’ Then the king answered, ‘I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me the dream, there is only one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me.’ The astrologers answered the king, ‘There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans.’ This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death” (Daniel 2:7-13).

            The king’s advisors pleaded with him to tell them the dream so they could interpret it. They were in the fight of their lives and were desperate to save themselves and all that was theirs. After all, the king’s demand seemed unreasonable and humanly impossible. If only he would tell them the dream, they could come together and give him something that would appease his ears. At least, this is what they may have been thinking, but Nebuchadnezzar was not about to give them a chance to create a fictitious interpretation. He was wise enough not to be fooled by their charm and desired to have the truth at any cost. Therefore, if they could not tell him the contents of his dream, he felt there was no longer any need for their services. They and their gods were useless to him, so he issued a death warrant for all of his advisors.

             While this may seem like a king who was only desperate for answers, one can see the mighty works of God in this story. The Lord did not allow the king to be satisfied with receiving a false interpretation of his dream. In times past, Nebuchadnezzar may have told his advisors about his dreams, and they may have made up explanations to keep the king happy. Similarly, King Ahab had asked Jehoshaphat to join him in a battle against the king of Aram, but Jehoshaphat wanted an accurate word from the Lord. The Bible says: So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—about four hundred men—and asked them, ‘Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?’ ‘Go,’ they answered, ‘for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.’ But Jehoshaphat asked, ‘Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?’ ” (1 Kings 22:6-7). Jehoshaphat was not content with Ahab’s false prophets, who would say anything to appease the king’s ears. He wanted a true prophet from the Lord, and the Prophet Micaiah delivered such a Word.

            Many voices are going out into the world today who claim to receive messages from the Lord. Some are indeed hearing from God, while others are prophesying lies created in their own heads. The Lord rebuked the ones who were doing this. The Bible says: “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?” (Jeremiah 23:25-26). The Lord was not pleased with the lying prophets in Israel who had prophesied lies in His name and turned the hearts of the people. These same prophets told the people they would not be subjected to the king of Babylon, but these were all lies. The Bible says: “If, however, any nation or kingdom will not serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon or bow its neck under his yoke, I will punish that nation with the sword, famine and plague, declares the Lord, until I destroy it by his hand. So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your interpreters of dreams, your mediums or your sorcerers who tell you, ‘You will not serve the king of Babylon.’ They prophesy lies to you that will only serve to remove you far from your lands; I will banish you and you will perish” (Jeremiah 27:8-10).

            Nebuchadnezzar did not know the Lord, at the time of his dream, but the Lord had placed a desire for truth on the inside him. Likewise, as believers in Christ, we should also desire the Lord’s truth and not what is appealing to the ears. The Bible says: “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). We are indeed living in such a time.

Intercession

“When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. He asked the king’s officer, ‘Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?’ Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him. Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon” (Daniel 2:14-18).

            Daniel was not initially present at the summons of the wise men to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. There is a number of reasons why this may have been the case, but let’s examine a few. First, the king may have summoned only his most senior advisors for this task. By Daniel and his friends being new in the king’s court, they may not have been a part of the king’s first line of counsel.

Second, the king may have only had certain wise men he designated for such matters. Even though Daniel and his friends had been trained in Babylonian matters, dream interpretation may not have been a part of their official duties. Another reason could be that Daniel and his friends may have been delegated duties in other areas of government throughout Babylon, which did not require their presence for the king’s personal affairs. Regardless of the reasons, Daniel received the news of the king’s death decree second-hand and only after it had already been issued. Even so, God was still at work.

The king’s commander had been ordered to carry out the death sentence on all of the king’s wise men. Upon hearing about this decree from the commander, Daniel did not lose his head and panic. The Bible says that he was wise in his dialogue with the king’s commander, just as he had with the king’s official who had overseen them during their training, and he showed great thought and respect. Daniel acted wisely in not exasperating the situation but allowing the Lord to operate as he had in times past. The Bible says: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Daniel could have become angry and spoken harshly of the king and the other wise men. On the contrary, he went before the king and asked for time to interpret the dream.

As believers in the body of Christ, we need to display Christ’s character at all times. Yes, we are human and subject to fall; nevertheless, we should ask the Holy Spirit to help us discern all matters before we are quick to speak. The Bible says: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19-20). Daniel used wisdom in not only his words but actions. He went before the king to request time to interpret the king’s dream, and his request was granted.

Daniel understood that the matter before him was dire, and the Lord was the only One who could prevent him and his friends from execution. The king’s decree included all the wise men throughout the kingdom. However, Daniel was perhaps concerned for more than just his and his friends’ lives but the other wise men he had come to know, as there were other Jews exiled with them. Nevertheless, Daniel did not fret. He informed his friends about the situation, and they went before the Lord to pray and ask for His help. They knew and believed that God would give them the contents of the king’s dream and the interpretation. Their faith did not fail, for the Lord did precisely what they asked.

            We can be confident in knowing that the Lord can do all we ask for and need in accordance with His will. The Bible says: Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21). Who is the power that works within us? It is none other than the Holy Spirit. He is the One who stirs our faith to help us be reassured in the Lord’s saving power.

 

Daniel Praises the Lord for Revelation

“During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said: ‘Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king’ ”

(Daniel 2:19-23).

          Daniel and his three friends, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego, had a history of trusting the Lord to take care of them. This was not their first time having to rely on the Lord to show them favor. Their first challenge was when they were offered the king’s food, but they passed the test, and the Lord saw them through. Now, they faced the challenge of trusting Him again to prevent them from being executed. It was humanly impossible to do what the king wanted. Yet, Daniel trusted that he served a God who was the Lord of impossibilities. The Bible says: Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God’ ” (Mark 10:27). Jesus had this reply for the disciples when they questioned the ability for anyone to be saved after the encounter with the rich young ruler. God will often reassure us of His promises and abilities, just as Jesus had with His disciples.

Later in the night, after Daniel and his friends presented their request to the Lord, He revealed to Daniel the contents of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its meaning. Daniel praised the Lord for being gracious in giving him an answer to their prayers. He celebrated the Lord for who He is. Let’s break down Daniel’s celebratory response to the Lord, for in it, we can understand the Lord’s character and find hope in His ability to save.

Breakdown of Daniel’s Praise

a.      Praise be to the name of God forever and ever. Daniel’s first response was to praise the Lord and give thanks for what He had done. Sometimes, people will forget what the Lord has done after they have received an answer to their prayers. Yet, this is never to be done because the Lord deserves our praise whenever He does something small or great in our lives. He wants to see that we appreciate His goodness and are appreciative for His blessings never cease for those who honor and serve Him. The Bible says:“The Lord has always existed, and there will never be an end in Him. His name is always to be praised. The Bible says: “Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:1-3).

 

b.     Wisdom and power are His. Daniel did not take credit for the insight that he had been given. He carefully praised the Lord and gave Him the recognition He deserved. Many people look to be praised by others for their achievements and accomplishments according to man’s standards. Yet, the Lord is the One who wakes us up in the morning and gives us a brain to think, hands to move, legs to walk, a voice to talk, and ears to hear. Without the Lord, there would be no such thing as having wisdom. The wisest man is foolish without the Lord. The Bible says: But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).

 

c.      He changes times and seasons. In Hebrew, times and seasons can mean appointments.[3] Daniel and his friends had an appointment with death. Nevertheless, the Lord was in control of their destiny and, thus, canceled the enemy’s assignment over their lives. See, many people are afraid of man’s plans, thoughts, and actions, but it is the Lord with whom we should be concerned and always prevail. The enemy cannot do anything the Lord doesn’t allow; therefore, when Satan tries to carry out his diabolical plans, the Lord often intervenes on behalf of His people. The Bible says: So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6).

 

d.     He deposes kings and raises up others. When Israel first asked for a king, the Lord chose Saul for them because they had rejected Him. However, when Saul rebelled against the Lord, He had the Prophet Samuel anoint David as Saul’s successor. Many believers think that the Lord has nothing to do with politics. Yet, the Lord always has always had a hand in rulers’ elevation or demotion based on their and the people’s obedience or lack thereof. In Israel’s case, the Lord had predetermined that Nebuchadnezzar would be the king He would use to judge His people. The Bible says:  ‘I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin’ ” (Jeremiah 25:9).

 

e.      He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.

 

Many people erroneously believe they are wise. Unfortunately, worldly wisdom has caused some to stray away from God because they have become gods unto themselves. Solomon allowed this to happen to him. Even though God had made him to be the wisest man on the earth, foolishness settled in as he allowed foreign women to turn him against the Lord. The Bible says: As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been” (1 Kings 11:4). One may ask, “How could such a wise man allow his heart to be turned away from the Lord?” Yet, when there is rebellion in the heart, the wise become fools. However, Daniel and his friends had been given wisdom in knowledge from the Lord but did quite the opposite. Their wisdom surpassed that of the other wise men, yet, they never became arrogant and prideful because of it. They remained humble and credited the Lord for everything. Daniel thanked Him for his blessing because he would have been nothing without Him. The Bible says:  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

 

f.      He reveals deep and hidden things. Nebuchadnezzar’s wise men could not tell nor interpret his dream because it was concealed from them, but God is not like man. There is nothing that can be veiled from Him. King David found this out when he tried to hide his indiscretion with Bathsheeba from others. Nevertheless, the Lord made it known that what he thought was done in secret was incapable of being hidden from Him because He sees and knows all. The Lord is omnipresent, and there is nowhere on the face of the earth or in the skies above where His eyes are blinded. The Bible says: The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).

 

g.     He knows what lies in darkness. The Lord had given Nebuchadnezzar this powerful dream, but He was about to reveal what He had given at night. Likewise, the world is full of spiritual darkness, but one day, it will come to an end. There will be no more sin, death, disease, and hatred that plague the world we live in. The Lord sees all the things that most people cannot even comprehend that is taking place in secret. However, every child being sacrificed, woman being abused, backdoor deals being done for greed, and medical experiments for the depopulation of mankind will be exposed and ended. Every pastor who fails to preach the truth, prophet who prophesies lies, apostle whose foundation is compromised, evangelist who forsakes true evangelism, and teacher who distorts the truth will be exposed for their deceptive practices. The Bible says: And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

 

h.     Light dwells with him. Daniel acknowledged in his prayer that the Lord is the Light of the world. In Him there is no darkness. The Bible lets us know that as believers, we are also to be the light because the Light lives inside us. Daniel and his friend were a light even in exile, and so can we. Darkness and light cannot coexist, so the spirit of darkness (Satan) has to leave wherever the Lord is. This is why God-fearing believers must model the Lord in all we do to limit the enemy’s darkness as much as possible. Even though Bible prophecy must be fulfilled,  Jesus is a continuous Light for all who will accept Him as their Lord and Savior. The Bible says: Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ ” (John 8:12).

 

i.       I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors. Daniel knew of Israel’s history and how the Lord had rescued them from Egypt. He knew of God’s great power in parting the Red Sea, helping his ancestors conquer land from other nations, and blessing them to have food, shelter, and shielding their shoes and clothes from wear during their time in the wilderness. Daniel knew that the Lord had been faithful throughout Israel’s history, so He drew from that knowledge in His request to the Lord. Because of the Lord’s goodness, Daniel gave thanks and praise in his prayer, for he was grateful for the Lord’s kindness to him and his friends. Likewise, we should always thank the Lord for the goodness that He shows us daily. The Bible says: Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise?” (Psalm 106:1-2).

 

j.       You have given me wisdom and power. The Lord had blessed Daniel and his three friends with wisdom that surpassed that of their peers who had been exiled with them and the king’s other wise men. The Lord also allowed them to be placed in positions of authority throughout the kingdom, which showed His favor. It could have been easy for them to have been tasked with manual labor, but the Lord had His hands on Daniel and his friends, thus granting them favor beyond measure. Similarly, when the Lord blesses His people, He will do extraordinary things. Places you may not have usually been able to go, positions you didn’t qualify for, things you would have had to pay for, and healings that defy science are all possible with the Lord. The Bible says: For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones” (Proverbs 2:6-8).

 

k.      You have made known to me what we asked of you. Daniel and his three friends came together to pray for the Lord to reveal the contents of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation. They understood that prayer was the key to getting results from the Lord. Their prayers were heard and answered with the revelation being given to Daniel. Just think, if Daniel and his friends had not been prayer warriors, how this situation could have taken a turn for the worse. However, this situation lets us know that it matters who you are in fellowship with. It is wise for believers to have other God-fearing believers in their circle to come together and call on the Lord in challenging situations that the enemy is sure to bring. We are stronger together than apart. The Bible says: Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:19-20).

 

l.       You have made known to us the dream of the king. Lastly, Daniel concluded his prayer with acknowledgment and credited the Lord for answering their prayers. The Lord saved them from death; now, he could go before the king. The Bible says: I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, for I delight in your commands because I love them” (Psalm 119:46-47).

PART 2 CONTINUED.....



[1] Joshua J. Mark, "Nebuchadnezzar II," World History Encyclopedia, last modified November 7, 2018, https://www.worldhistory.org/Nebuchadnezzar_II/.

[2] Ancient Origins Staff, "Babylonian Astrology: How Mesopotamian Priests Influenced Your Horoscope," Ancient Origins Reconstructing the Story of Humanity's Past, last modified October 7, 2018, https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-ancient-traditions/babylonian-astrology-0010806.

[3] Strong's, "Strong's Hebrew: 6256. עֵת (eth) -- Time," Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages, accessed January 9, 2023, https://biblehub.com/hebrew/6256.htm.