Daniel 1 & 2: God's revelation
In the last two posts, we’ve seen that God used his people – who were undefiled and wise – as he went from loser to victor amongst the Babylonians. But the second thing he used to declare his name was what we call revelation - making known something to people that they could not have known on their own.
We don’t know what the time gap between chapters 1 and 2 are, but sometime later, Daniel and his friends are pretty well entrenched in palace life. And the king, that renowned tyrannical, power-hungry despot, Nebuchadnezzar, had a bad dream.
It was such a bad dream that he wanted to know what it meant. He called in all his wise men, magicians and astrologers to ask them.
And so that he would know that the interpretation was right, he thought he’d throw in a little proof-challenge, as power-hungry despots are apt to do occasionally: "Tell me my dream and then interpret it. Otherwise I’ll kill all of you."
Nebuchadnezzar was looking to his wise men to answer the unanswerable. To solve the unsolvable. To fathom the unfathomable.
And of course, not unreasonably, no-one could do it.
This is what the wise men and the magicians said to the king in chapter 2, verses 10 and 11:
"There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks… What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men."
That of course is true. But Daniel knows the God who can reveal it to the king. He prays, asks his friends to pray, and seeks the answer from God. And he comes through. God is the source of the solution.
Daniel makes sure that the king knows this. In V24-28 He’s careful to tell the king that it’s not his own cleverness, but God’s revelation. He certainly doesn't take the glory for himself.
The details of the dream are interesting and worth more study on your own perhaps, but I’m not going into them here. What I'm more concerned with is that God began this story looking like a loser, defeated by the most impressive army ever seen on earth. He finishes up this story the ultimate winner. He is the only one who has the answer to the unanswerable question posed by the most powerful man on earth.
And Nebuchadnezzar says these humble words: "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries.”