Now I’m gonna start right off by saying that this one gave me a decent amount of trouble, and that I’m not satisfied with what I pulled out of it tonight, because I feel like there is more to it than I’m seeing, but I’m somehow not reading it right or am incapable of understanding - a lot like Nebuchadnezzar and his dreams.
In particular, Daniel 2:21 gave me the most trouble as far as sheer understanding goes: “He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the understanding.” I’m kind of at a loss here for the meaning in this verse; maybe it’s that God gives His wisdom to those who are wise in matters of the earth, because he is the revealer of secrets that no man can uncover.
Some verses that stood out to me especially:
- Daniel 3:15 “and who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” I noticed that in my NJKV, god is not capitalized before Nebuchadnezzar throws Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego into the fire, but afterwards in 3:29 says “there is no other God who can deliver like this.”
It’s apparent that I had trouble finding meaning in these chapters based on the length of explanation I wrote down for myself, but I sought to look at how this story related to Esther’s (based on a conversation with a friend about the similarities) and myself and God.
God gave Nebuchadnezzar (I wish his name was shorter!) his kingdom and he prospered and ruled. More relevantly, He gave the king Daniel, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-nego). Daniel is truly a wise man before he is given an official title - “he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies.” (Daiel 1:8). This brings Daniel into God’s favor; “God gave [him] knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding of all visions and dreams,” (Daniel 1:17). There’s the meaning of giving wisdom to the wise, I’m guessing. This gift of food that the king gave the men reminded me of the jewels the women were given before meeting the king in Esther. Esther seeks what is good, just as Daniel does.
And like Xerxes, Nebuchadnezzar seeks information and truth; tis time concerning his dreams. He is willing to give glory and joy to the men who can both tell and interpret his dreams, he asks all wise men, but none can accomplish the task without the wisdom of God. As I read this, again came Proverbs 25:2 - “it is the glory of God to conceal a matter,” (in Daniel he is the “revealer of secrets” as well as the concealer) “but it is the honor of kings to search it out.” Here I saw Nebuchadnezzar concealing his own dreams and asking man to reveal it, not God.
Also, as Esther’s people [the Jews] were condemed to be killed, Daniel and his friends are sought to be killed, even a second time when Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams are first interpreted by Daniel through “the revealer of secrets”.
The Esther similarities just keep coming! Daniel approaches the king, despite the risk of death that lies before him, and interprets his dream. Daniel prayed for the wisdom in order to spare himself and his friends from death, not to have the glory of God’s power for his own. In the dream Daniel interprets that all kingdoms, including the king’s, will fall before the kingdom of heaven - basically saying that all men will fall before God, because He is the Most High.
And it seems like Nebuchadnezzar is struck by God’s work through Daniel (2:47) but then he immediately forms a statue of gold that he demands everyone praise, “[the image of gold] that King Nebuchadnezzar has made.” I generalized this as the king demanding everyone to praise him and give him glory for doing something, when really God has given him everything he has. Maybe he believes that God has given him his kingdom and Daniel because He is pleased with him, and sees no error in his pride. He doesn’t seem altered by Daniel’s interpretation through God.
As when Mordecai would not honor Haman, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego wouldn’t praise and worship the image that the king has set up, and were sentenced to burn. This passage really closely paralleled Esther (Daniel 3:12).
- “and if I perish, I perish! (Esther 4:16) compared with Daniel 3:17-18.
More resemblances; they refuse to follow any law but God’s law and are saved. The king sees the image of a fourth man, the Son of God, in the fire with them (Daniel 3:25).
- Daniel 3:28-29 “because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” Here I think that the king gains more faith in God, who has shown him His power and that His law is the highest; no man can trump God, basically. “The Most High rules in the kingdom of man and gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.” (Daniel 4:17 and repeated)
When Daniel predicts and interprets this to the king it occurs just when God said it would; Nebuchadnezzar says he made Babylon great for his own majesty (Daniel 4:30) and God makes him the lowest of men. It took King Nebuchadnezzar turning from a mighty tree to a stump to get it, that pride in himself will lead to failure but giving glory to God will bring him joy and honor (Daniel 4:37).
- God is the highest law and the Most High. He can do anything and everything I do should be for His glory and in His name, not for my own. When I try to profit through my work, my own golden image” or my figurative kingdom, I’m gonna get ripped apart by God and so is my kingdom. Nothing I do for my own glory will fulfill me. It’s only through bringing glory to God and lifting up His name that I will be quenched, just like Jeff says at Cru. I need to ask God to “reveal secrets” too, instead of trying to on my own.
- I need to not only appreciate the gifts that God bestows upon me and use them in His honor, but also to not get prideful when times are good. What happens when I am thrown into the fire, or made into the lowest of men? No threat should tear at my faith and understanding and trust in the Lord. In fact, it should be more present when I am the stump, because sometimes it is my own wake-up call. (I thought it was interesting that God chose to tell Nebuchadnezzar to wake up through dreams, too.)
In times of good, I need to watch my pride and be thankful and give the glory to God, and know that even if He takes everything away that His law and plan are the highest. In times that are bad, I need to seek His mercy like Daniel and remember that He gives the kingdom of heaven to the lowest of man. The man with lowest pride. I need to humble myself.