Daniel and his three friends graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Babylon. In fact, they were 10 times better than any other graduates at the university. And that was due to the infusion of wisdom by God Himself into Daniel and his three friends. When you are faithful to God as student, I believe that God will reward you with higher positions. He did that with Daniel.
All went well during Daniel's first year after graduation until Nebuchadnezzar had a bad dream. Bad dreams are hard to deal with. Have you ever had a bad dream? Sometimes I dream that sankes are wound around my legs. I hate sankes! They never get me, but I hate those dreams. I haven't had one of those in a long time. Nebuchanezzar had a bad dream and he remembered that the nightmare was terrible but was very, very important. Do you think that some nightmares could be sent by God? It could be possible. I believe this one was. It bothered him so much that he was willing to sacrifice his entire faculty of scholars in order to retrieve the dream. In Daniel 2:3 the king called all the wise men (except Daniel and his three friends) and demanded they tell the meaning of this horrible dream. He said, "Iv'e had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means." They said, "Tell us the dream and we'll come up with an interpretation."
Daniel 2:5--- "The king replied to the astrologers, This is what I have firmly decided (Has your mother ever talked to you like that? This is the way it's going to be.): If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I'll have you cut into pieces and your houses will be turned into piles of rubble." I've heard some parents talk to their children like that. "If you don't come over here right now, I'm going to jerk the - something- out of you." "Jerk the prunes out of you," my grandmother used to say.
What was their answer? in verse 10, "They answered him and said: "There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks!" Verse 11... "No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men." So in other words, what you're asking is impossible.
What was the king's reaction? The king so furious that he ordered the immediate execution of all the wise men of Babylon. And so in verse 14 ARIOCH, the head of Nebuchadnezzar's secret police, started to enforce this Death Decree by rounding up all the wise man of Babylon, which included Daniel and his three friends. That is why they came to Daniel.
Notice several character qualities about Daniel that are admirable: <1.)--- Daniel is filled with WISDOM, verse 14. When Arioch, the commander ofd the king's guard had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. He had wisdom. When your life is on the line, only wisdom from on High will save you. Daniel spoke with Heavenly wisdom. The next time you face a crisis, don't yell, don't stomp your feet, don't curse, or fly off the handle, but ask God for wisdom to give an appropriate answer. And then follow the wisdom that He gives you. 2.)--- Daniel speaks with TACT, verse 14. I think some of our speach is full of tacks, don't you? That's a different kind of tac(). His words come from hours spent in communication with God. This spiritual tact is not developed in an instant but grows from years of exposure to Jesus in God's word. It grows from exposure to the Word of God. That's how it comes: through a life of prayer. True Christians possess an uncanny sense of what is appropriate in times of crisis. And you can develope that sense. It grows over the years. Daniel, just a teen-ager, just 19 years old, was filled with heavenly wisdom and with divine tact. Any sense can be developed to a high state. Some people taste tea for a living, I am told. They can tell just by the taste the area of the country in which certain tea leaves were grown by a single swallow from a cup of tea. Daniel had grown into a mature Christian highly led by God. His sense of what would be right is highly developed. It comes from time spent with Jesus, time spent with God. 3.)---Daniel met the crisis Head On. Daniel 2:16--- At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time..." He went straight in to the king. I must say that he risked his life to do this. He was much like Esther. He went in before the king as a ninteen year-old whippersnapper. He wasn't even invited. When the other came, he was a junior wiseman, and yet he barges in to the king and says, "I need more time. I think I can come up with the answer to your dream." Daniel was not afraid. Daniel went to the source of the problem. I think that when we have a problem at work, we need to go to the source of the problem. And that's exactly where Daniel went. He was bold. He was willing to risk his life. Of course his life was already on the line, but this would mean immediate death if the king did not recognize him. When you face a crisis in your work, you need to go straight to your boss. When you face a crisis in the church or with a certain problem, you need to straight to that person and talk with that person about the problem. Instead of wringing your hands, wring your heart. 4.)---Daniel utilized PRAYER. He asked other solid mature Christians to join him in prayer. They had a praye band there. Daniel's whole life was centered on prayer. Daniel 6:10- "He prayed before his God as was his custom since early days". He was a teen-ager of prayer. And I believe, today, that we need young people of prayer. You kids aught to be praying. You kids aught to know God. You can develop a life, a spiritual life. You parents that have children, you want to know how to raise that teen-ager, you need to spend time on your knees. Perhaps our greatest need today is for people who have developed a deep life of prayer. We don't need more theatrics or show in the church. We don't need more noise in the church. What we need are Christians who are more like Jesus in the church. People who are like Jesus. Christlikeness. Christians of integrity. These things come from a life of prayer and Bible study. 5.)---Daniel had a THANKFUL Heart. Daniel 2:19---During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven." That's what he did. His first reaction was not to tell his friends, "Oh, I've got it! I've got the meaning of the vision! I know what the dream was, and I know what the interpretation is!" His first reaction was not to run and tell the king. That was very important, wasn't it? His first thought is to thank God and praise Him for His answer. I'll tell you I appreciate Daniel. His first thought is to thank God for the wisdom that he got. To praise Him for the answer. The next four verses contain a beautiful statement of Worship from Daniel's heart to the heart of God.
Notice this prayer does not contain one sentance asking for anything. Have you ever prayed a whole prayer and not asking for anything? I enjoy doing that. I've done that many times. Develop that. So often our prayers are, "Dear Lord, here's wwhat you can do for me. I need this, this and this. Please bless this, this and this. Give me strength for this, this and this." Well, that's okay. I'm not depreciating that, but folks, let's praise the Lord more. We have so much to be thankful for. We could be complaining and down in the mouth about everything, but let's praise God for the things He does for us every day. I'll tell you the Lord has sure been good to me. The study of these verses could be the subject of much learning.
Notice also what Daniel praises God for.
"In the annals of human history, the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires, appear as if dependent on the will and prowess of man; the shaping of events seems, to a great degree, to be determined by his power, ambition, or caprice.
"But in the word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, above, behind, and through all the play and counterplay of human interest and power and passions, the agencies of the All-merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will." Prophets & Kings, p. 500.
I don't worry about the elections coming up soon, whether Bill Clinto or Bob Dole is going to get elected. I don't worry about the events of this world. Christians don't worry about Babylon or America or the presidential elections, because they know God is in charge and His will will ultimately be done.
Daniel then goes to the King with the God given dream. You know as he goes in to this king he could say, "Now you know, I've got the dream that you couldn't remember. I've got this. I'm pretty important. I'm young, but I want you to know that I did it. Anything you want, just call on me because I'm your man." Do you hear any of this in Daniel's statement? Not at all. But notice the great boldness Daniel uses. He goes in there and he says, "Nebuchadnezzar: You are the head of gold, but not for long! Another kingdom is coming." Daniel doesn't beat around the bush. This dream.. you hat to tell somebody the truth sometimes. "Yes, you're the head of gold, but your day is going to be short lived."
And as Daniel expresses the dream the king is impressed. God is real! God knows my dreams that I couldn't even remember. God has to be real. And God knows Daniel. If the great God of the Universe trusts Daniel then so can I. And after Daniel finishes explaining the dream the King promoted Daniel to a high position making him the ruler over the entire province of Babylon (verse 48,49). And notice in verse 49 at Daniel's request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the provence of Babylon while Daniel, himself, remained at the royal court. He remembered his friends. That's another good trait about Daniel. He didn't just take all this glory to himself, he remembered his three friends. The ones who had helped him pray. When you get a windfall, remember your friends. You see how Daniel was so unselfish. He doesn't take it all for himself. He is very Christ-like. I believe that's the kind of people God wants us to be.
Now we go to Nebuchadnezzar's great IMAGE in Daniel 2:31-35: You looked, O king, and there before stood a large statue--and neormous, dazzling statue, awsome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure 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. While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bornze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff oon a thresshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became ahuge mountain and filled the whole earth.
And so Daniel explained the dream to Nebuchadnezzar in verse 38: in your hands he has place mandkind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron--for iron breaks and smashes everything-- and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron so this will be a divided divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
2:41--- Feet were partly of BAKED Clay and partly of Iron. "It will have some of the strength of iron in it even as you saw Iron mixed with clay".42--"As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle." Basically saying the same thing over, so you get the point. 43-- "And just as you saw the Iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay." Now I hope we'll be wide awake here, because Daniel is saying something to people living here in 1996. He's saying something to people living in the last days. I believe we're living in the last days.
The great Industrial Revolution, the iron age, began with the invention of the Steam Engine. About that time we entered the last days. Today most nations have passed out of the Iron age and we're now in the clay age.
Clay is composed of two things: ALUMINUM and one other main substance. Daniel never heard of aluminum. The process of making commercial Quantities of Aluminum was invented in 1886 in a striking case of simultaneous discovery by two amateur chemists both 22 years old! Charles Hall in America, and Paul Heroult in Franceinvented it the same time.
The first company was founded in July of 1888! I wonder when Jesus should have come. He should have come back in the 1800s, shouldn't He? I think Daniel was really on track. Aluminum is the most common metal in the earth's crust and yet comparatively unknown before this time. Surely God led scientists to "Find" this new "Silver from Clay" as it was called way back then. In the last days, it was found. Daniel is trying to tell us something here.
The other substance found in clay is SILICON. This has only been used to great advantage in the last 30 years. In fact today our age is known as the SILICON AGE! The transistor exists because of this substance found in clay. Everyone knows what a Silicon Chip is. Computers could not exist without Silicon. In the Pentium Chip alone I am told that there are Five and a Half Million Transistors. Of course I have never counted them myself!We are living in the Silicon Age. This is a very striking fulfillment of the great Image God showed to Nebuchadnezzar over 2500 years ago. The Bible is very up to date.
Any modern automobile today is a mixture of Iron and clay. Engine Blocks of Iron or Aluminum and the whole thing run by a Silicon Brain! How much more vivid could Daniel be? The Bible we have is very up to date. We have to be in the last moments of time because we are in the toes of time.Daniel 2:45 (Last half)... "The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is Trustworthy." Just how true and trust worthy Daniel himself did not fully comprehend.
Notice the very next thing that will happen..... Daniel 2:44 "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever." In what time will Jesus come? In the time of those toes. In the time of the aluminum age. In the time ot the clay age, the silicon age. That's when Jesus is coming. And that is today.
THE STONE KINGDOM IS COMING NEXT! We usually concentrate on the gold and the silver and the bronze and the iron and clay, but I want to concentrate on the great stone kingdom.
Daniel 2:45--"This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands, a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces."
Right after the time of the Silicon Age, comes the fifth and last kingdom and it is the coming of the Stone Age! Have you ever wanted to live in the stone age? The Stone Age is coming! It's in the future. This sounds like evolution in reverse process, doesn't it? If you've ever wanted to live in the Stone Age, you'll soon have the opportunity. A Great Stone comes flying through the skies and smashes the great image to dust.
Daniel 2:34----"A Rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them." Then verse 35--"Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth."
You know, that ROCK is alive! It's not a dead stone knocked of of mars by some asteroid and landed here and we're examining with a microscope. This stone is alive. I Corinthians 10:4 says that Stone is none other than Jesus Christ. It's none other than Jesus Himself coming the second time to claim His people and set up His kingdom of grace. The winds of the millennium will sweep away all human life and after the 1000 years there will not be even a trace of sin anywhere. The universe will be clean. Jesus the Rock becomes a huge mountain filling the entire earth.
That'll be wonderful! Jesus everywhere. Jesus filling the earth. I wish He were here today. Today the earth is filled with violence and sorrow. But Daniel is telling us that very soon the Stone Age will arrive and Jesus will fill the earth. Jesus lived in Daniel's heart. Let Jesus fill your heart today!
Scripture reading: Psalm 46:1-7
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last updated 2/3/98 by Bob Beckett.