Daniel 2:19-23 – “Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven; 20 Daniel said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. 21 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. 22 “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. 23 “To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for You have given me wisdom and power; even now You have made known to me what we requested of You, for You have made known to us the king’s matter.” NASU
We are not living under an authoritarian monarch in 2016 America but imagine being a citizen or a captive or slave in such a nation. Daniel and the Jews had been taken captive by Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar was a terror and like most Despots, if he wanted an answer, failure to provide the desired answer or solution could and likely would result in death. God began to trouble Nebuchadnezzar with dreams and in his perplexity, he demanded of his magicians, conjurers, sorcerers and the Chaldeans to interpret the dreams. The Chaldeans made a reasonable request asking the king to tell them the dream and they would interpret. God, moved on Nebuchadnezzar, and the king insisted that the interpreters give him both the dream and the interpretation. That would require the supernatural beyond their magic arts and was the only way Nebuchadnezzar would accept the answer. Those practitioners of the black arts could not and that resulted in a decree from the king to slay them.
Daniel became aware of the situation and called his three Hebrew friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah and organized a prayer meeting. In the night, God opened Daniel’s spiritual eyes and gave him a dream or a vision explaining the dream and the meaning. I love the prayer of Daniel. He did not go to prayer simply pleading for the lives of those affected but focused on honoring God. He began praying, “Let the name of God be blessed…” He also acknowledged that God was the true source of wisdom and power. He acknowledged that God had the power to reveal the hidden things knowing what is in the darkness and in the light. He expressed his thankfulness for God having given him wisdom and understanding as well as favor. Then he rejoiced in the reality that God had granted him the petition of he and his three friends so that lives could be spared and God’s purposes could be carried out.
I wonder how we would react to such a decree were it to happen in our nation today? Would we have the courage and boldness to stand before a Despot and tell him what Daniel told him? Remember, if you are wrong or if what you say is not acceptable to the tyrant your days on earth not only numbered but over. Would we have the courage and faith to stand on what we had seen and heard in our dream or vision?
In the aftermath of Daniel’s interpretation rather than turning his heart to God, King Nebuchadnezzar became more filled with himself and erected a giant image of gold and demanded worship from everyone. Failure to bow when the trumpet sounded meant immediate execution. Everyone, even many of the Jews in captivity sought self-preservation and bowed. Three refused. Those three were contemporaries of Daniel were none other than Hananiah, Misael, and Azariah. Of course, the Bible identifies them, in this situation, by their new Babylonian name. That was, in my view, for the purpose of identifying the mindset of the Babylonians and the king. He recognized no god other than himself and to identify them by their Hebrew names would have been to recognize the God of the Jews. They refused and, through their refusal, took their message from God to the king, he was furious and caused the furnace to become so hot that those who cast them in were immediately consumed by the heat. Then, the king, to his amazement looked into the furnace and did not see three, he saw four men walking in the fire unhurt.
Daniel’s demonstration of the supernatural, and acknowledgment that his ability to interpret the king’s dream was from God did not sufficiently impact the king. But, now, this miracle coupled with Daniel’s supernatural revelation gripped his heart and he acknowledged God! That resulted because four men were willing to pray, exercise faith, and stand staunchly for their faith and in their commitment.
It is my prayer that God would raise up Daniel’s, Hananiah’s, Mishael’s, and Azariah’s in our present time and that we become men and women so committed to God and His word that we are willing to die rather than compromise our commitment.
God, bless you richly as you embark on this leg of life’s journey today!