Friday, January 13, 2017

Living Lives Of Purpose: Lessons From The Book Of Daniel. Day 6, God Answers Daniel's Prayer

Living Lives Of Purpose:
Lessons From The Book Of Daniel
Day 6
God Answers Daniel's Prayer

In our study yesterday King Nebuchadnezzar had been having a very troubling dream. In order to make sure his counselors were giving him a true interpretation, he insisted that the wise men of Babylon not only interpret the dream but also relate what the dream was to begin with. He reasoned that, if they were indeed receiving assistance from the spirit world, telling him his dream wouldn't be any harder than interpreting it. But the wise men were unable to fulfill his request, stating that no one but the gods could know such things, and the king ordered all the wise men in Babylon to be put to death, including Daniel and his friends.

After successfully gaining an audience with the king and a stay of execution, Daniel goes home to appeal to God for help. "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 2:17-18) Daniel is mainly concerned with his predicament and that of his friends. He does not know if he can prevent the pagan wise men from being executed, but he knows if God gives him the answer then the king will spare his own life and that of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The king will be gracious to them in order to show honor to their God. 

The young Hebrew men pray earnestly through the night. Their lives depend on it. They come to God in faith, believing He knows all things and is able to tell them the dream and its interpretation. They are displaying the type of faith the Apostle Paul speaks of in Hebrews 11:6, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." There is no prayer so earnest as that which we pray when we know there is no hope unless God comes through. These young men believe that God exists and that He hears prayers and that He acts on behalf of mankind. Without Him they can do nothing to save themselves. You may have heard the expression, "When you are down to nothing, God is up to something," and that is a good place to be to witness the glory of God, because we can give the credit to no one but Him.

The Lord answers the desperate prayer of these men. "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 forever 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)

What a beautiful psalm of praise! Daniel gives all the glory to the Lord for this mighty deliverance. He declares the sovereignty of God over all heaven and earth, over the times and seasons, and over kings and governments. Nothing exists outside of God's authority and control. Nothing is hidden from God, not even the deepest secrets, not even the darkest deeds. The One who is the Light knows everything and has given Daniel the answer. This is the God of his ancestors, the God who delivered Israel from Egypt, who parted the waters for Moses, who sent down fire for Elijah, who rescued King David from the hand of his deadly enemy Saul. Daniel grew up hearing of the mighty deeds of the Lord and now he has witnessed them with his own eyes. 

Arioch, the commander of the king's guard, must be notified at once so Daniel can go in to see the king. "Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, 'Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.'" (Daniel 2:24) By this statement we are led to believe that no one perished by the king's decree. The Babylonian wise men have Daniel and his God to thank for their lives but, jealous over the promotion Daniel and his friends are going to receive from the king, these men will look for ways to have them put to death. 

The commander wastes no time in getting Daniel before the king or in taking credit for the good news. "Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, 'I have found a man among the exiles of Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.'" (Daniel 2:25) In yesterday's study Nebuchadnezzar promised a very fine reward for anyone who could tell him his dream and interpret it. Arioch hopes to share in this reward by giving the impression he searched high and low throughout the capital of Babylon for one who could help the king. He wants the king to believe he is responsible for finding this man Daniel.

Up til now in today's passage we have seen Daniel and his friends going by their Hebrew names. But the king knows them by their Babylonian names and when addressing Daniel he uses his new name of Belteshazzar. "The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), 'Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?'" (Daniel 2:26)

Daniel is quick to divert any glory from himself and to put it squarely upon the One who deserves it: his God. "Daniel replied, 'No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.'" (Daniel 2:27-28b) Amen! There is a God in heaven and He knows all things. He is the Maker of all things and He set the universe in motion and holds all things together. The first thing Daniel does is honor the Lord. He wants this pagan king to know that the one true God, the only God, is responsible for revealing the dream and its interpretation. The idols and incantations and occult rituals of the Babylonian wise men have produced nothing, but the God of heaven who interacts with man has given Daniel the answer. Yesterday the Babylonian wise men declared heatedly that no one could reveal the answer to the king except the gods and that the gods do not dwell with men. They were correct in stating no one could reveal this mystery except a god, but they were incorrect in believing there is no god who dwells with man. The God of Israel, the God of Daniel's ancestors, has chosen to dwell with man. He reveals Himself to mankind and interacts on behalf of those who love Him. It is on this basis alone that Daniel is able to come before the king with the answer. 

No comments:

Post a Comment