The wise men would not just tell Nebuchadnezzar what his dream meant, they would tell him what he had dreamed. He would not tell them the dream. It would remain a secret. They, in order to prove the trustworthiness of their abilities to interpret dreams, would tell him the dream he had and what it meant.
The sentence was a decree that if they failed these men would all be put to death. All of the wise men would die if there was not one in their midst who could answer this riddle and solve the problem of the King’s dream.
As might be expected, the worldly wisdom and pagan practices of the wise men failed. No one could answer and tell the King what he dreamed or what it meant. So, true to his word, he started killing them.
Daniel and his friends were unaware of the problem. They were just new graduates of the training program and were not consulted for an answer to this problem. They did not even know that the King had asked for help. And yet, as part of the group of wise men, they were about to pay with their very lives for the failure of these others in the court of the King. As they were being rounded up to be executed Daniel asked what the hurry was and asked for time to see if he and his friends could help the King.
They sought the Lord, and even facing the threat of death if they failed they rested. They went to sleep! As they were resting Daniel had a night vision; he had a dream. In that dream God revealed to him both Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its meaning. Daniel made this clear when he went to tell the King what he knew. He said that no man had solved the riddle, but that there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets.
Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar about his dream and about its meaning. In doing so he was preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God. God alone rules in heaven and earth and while the kingdoms of men rise and fall, God’s Kingdom shall never end. The result was that this proud, arrogant, but troubled King of men bowed himself before Daniel and his God. He declared that Daniel’s God was the God of gods and the Lord over kings. He then promoted Daniel to be the chief over all the wise men – over all of those whose lives he had just saved!
Daniel did not seek self promotion. I doubt he was seeking to save the lives of the wise men. In fact, he believed they were going to die and he was hoping that God would be merciful and save him and his friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
His motivation throughout all of this episode was a desire to seek mercy from God and to exalt Him alone. In seeking God’s glory Daniel came to see in his vision that God was telling Nebuchadnezzar about the future. Details of history were being foretold. And as Daniel showed that his God was God, even a pagan king came to confess that there was none greater than the God of Daniel.
So how do we respond to bad dreams? Do we walk by faith and trust that God will take care of us, no matter what this world and its rulers do or say? Do we really believe that God is sovereign in the affairs of men and that He sets up kings and kingdoms?
Even as believers in Jesus Christ, at times we do not have the strength or wisdom to declare what Nebuchadnezzar said! At times we do give in to fear and doubt. At times we forget that God is in control.
The answer then for bad dreams is faith in a never failing God! This week we will see His hand in history. We will see Him turn a king’s heart. We will see that He can be trusted. And we will be assured of this truth – God’s Kingdom is forever, the gates of hell will not prevail against us!
See you Sunday at 10:30 for our next message in the series “Living for God in Ungodly Times.” This week we will cover Daniel chapter 2 in a message titled, “Deciphering Dreams.”