The Rock of Ages (Daniel 2)
A normal part of our lives is to make plans. Plans for the day, the week and even long term plans. A lot of effort can go into making plans, and therefore great enjoyment comes at the fruition of our plans. Yet we all know that our plans don't always work out. Certain things can rise up and frustrate and thwart our plans. We need to be flexible at times and change our plans.
In this message we are going to learn about God’s plan for the ages, which will culminate with the eternal Kingdom of Christ. Unlike our plans, His cannot be thwarted! This chapter (Daniel 2) gives the account of Nebuchadnezzar’s troubling dream. By God’s help Daniel provides the meaning and is promoted to a position of high authority in Babylon. This chapter reminds us that God is in control and His kingdom alone will endure for eternity.
NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DREAM (Daniel 2:1-13)
In Nebuchadnezzar’s second year of his reign, he had a series of dreams that troubled him and caused sleepless nights (Daniel 2:1). Nebuchadnezzar issued a command that all the wise men of the kingdom be summoned and he said to them, “I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream” (Dan. 2:3). In response to this, the king’s servants requested the content of the dream so that they could give its interpretation (Dan. 2:4). Such a request did not satisfy Nebuchadnezzar as he wanted them to reveal what the dream was as well as its meaning. If they cannot do this they would be “cut in pieces” (Dan. 2:5), but if they could they would be rewarded (Dan. 2:6). The wise men confessed that such a request was humanly impossible (Dan. 2:10-11). To this the king responded with anger and fury, and “gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon” (Dan. 2:12). After this “they began killing the wise men; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them” (Dan. 2:13). Here we see that both the king and his wise men were powerless in being able to understand Divine truth (cf. 1 Cor. 2:12-16).
DANIEL'S PRAYER (Daniel 2:14-23)
Daniel carefully and wisely (cf. Col. 4:5-6) sought permission to be granted time so as to provide the interpretation of the king’s dream (Dan. 2:16). By God’s grace Nebuchadnezzar granted this request. After arriving at his home, Daniel makes the situation known to his three friends with the view of taking this matter to the Lord in prayer (Dan. 2:17-18). Such actions reveal much about their high view of God and their trust in Him. The Lord granted the dream and meaning to Daniel in a night vision (Dan. 2:19), so Daniel responded with praise and gratitude (Dan. 2:20-23; cf. 1 Thess. 5:18).
DANIEL'S INTERPRETATION (Daniel 2:24-45)
Daniel appeals to the king’s servant that the wise men of Babylon not be destroyed, as he will tell the king the interpretation (Dan. 2:24). Before Daniel tells the king the dream and its meaning, he tells the king that this secret could not be declared by any of the wise men, but only by means of the “God in heaven” (Dan. 2:27-28). Daniel goes on to say what the dream was. In the dream was a “great image”, the form of which was magnificent (Dan. 2:31). He continues by saying, “This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay” (Dan. 2:32-33). After this a stone struck the feet, which then brought destruction to the entire image, and the stone “became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (Dan. 2:35).
After revealing the dream itself, Daniel goes on to give the interpretation (Dan. 2:36-45). He states that the head of gold represents Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom (Dan. 2:37-38), and that the other parts represent successive kingdoms (Dan. 2:39-40). This image refers to the “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24) which consists of four successive kingdoms that will be superseded by a fifth and eternal kingdom (2:44). Daniel concludes that “the dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure” (Dan. 2:45).
DANIEL'S PROMOTION (Daniel 2:46-49)
Nebuchadnezzar responded with awe by falling “on his face, prostrate before Daniel” (Dan. 2:46). King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged that Daniel’s God “is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets” (Dan. 2:47). He then promoted Daniel to be “ruler over the whole providence of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon” (Dan. 2:48). Daniel requested that his friends also be promoted, but “Daniel sat in the gate of the king” (Dan. 2:49).
After looking at this chapter, we need to know that despite the accomplishments (positive and negative) of kingdoms and nations, our perspective ought to be that only the kingdom of Christ is eternal (cf. Dan. 2:44). For this reason, if things are going well in a nation, don’t put your confidence and trust in it because it will pass. If things are going badly, don’t despair because it is not eternal. Long for the eternal kingdom of Christ.
1. Give some Biblical examples of God speaking to people through dreams.
2. Why were the “wise men of Babylon” unable to reveal the meaning of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream? See also 1 Cor. 2:12-16.
3. Why is it important to praise God and thank Him for all His provisions? How is Daniel a fine example of this?
4. Despite the accomplishments (positive and negative) of kingdoms and nations, what must our perspective be in light of Daniel 2:44?