Monday, 21 September 2015
Bible Reading: Daniel 2v14-30 'Approaching the all powerful King.'
There area number of contrasts made in this section and in the chapter as a whole. There is a contrast drawn between Daniel and wise men. There is another stark contrast between God and Nebuchadnezzar. And in verses16-18 there is another contrast as Daniel goes to THE THRONE having been to the throne. He and friends ask God to do what only God can do. The astrologers claim no one can know except the gods, Daniel and his friends approach God almighty on his throne who may make it known to them.
But there is no presumption on the part of Daniel and his friends, they don't barge into God's presence demanding answers. Verse 18 is important in showing us Daniel's demeanour as he approached God. “he urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery”. Daniel knows that God can reveal, but he does not presume that God will or that he has a right to expect an answer. There is a humility that marks Daniel's approach to God, a fear of God that stands in awe of God though is not in terror of him. The result is an answer as God makes the dream and the interpretation known to Daniel (19).
What is fascinating is what does not happen next. Daniel doesn't run straight to Nebuchadnezzar with the answer. Instead he turns instead to praise God for his wisdom and power, his governance of history, and the revelation and gifting he has given. This is a great prayer for us to use in our own prayer when we want to praise God, it's a great model of being swift to praise God who graciously and mercifully answers prayer.
Yet still as Daniel approaches an agitated and angry Nebuchadnezzar it is as a condemned man on death row, bringing a message from the living God to a pagan ruler, a message that may well not be to his liking. This is a tension text, one of the reasons for taking time over this chapter is so that we feel something of the tension rather than rushing to the resolution. There is uncertainty and danger even as Daniel has the answer as verse 26 makes clear.
In his answer we see again Daniel's humility as well as his courage as he owns his God before the king. He tells Nebuchadnezzar where the real power is (28) “…there is a God in heaven…He has made known” (29) “He who reveals mysteries”. And Daniel emphasises, again, that he doesn't know this because he is wise but because God has graciously revealed it(30), because God is dealing with Nebuchadnezzar.