In Daniel 2, King Nebubakenezer challenges his wizards to interpret his dreams, but he insists that they tell him what the dream was about first. Instead, the wizards insist that the king tell them what the dream was about.
“What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans (verse 11, NIV),” they reply. Verse 12 tells us, “This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon.”
The king doesn’t want what others feel he wants to hear, he wants truth. To me the king is saying he is tired of earthly wisdom and just getting mere opinions. The king is hungry for a word from the Lord and is seeking someone to give him truth. It makes me wonder if sometimes I misread people’s desire to hear about Christ and miss an opportunity to share the gospel.
Daniel’s response to the king’s desire for a true interpretation of his dream is instructive for us. There are three things I note in this passage:
Listening Before Responding
Verse 2:14 tells us that when Daniel learned about the decree to execute the wise men of Babylon, he spoke to the king’s commander “with wisdom and tact.” Daniel sought to understand the situation first. I believe He recognized the king’s desire for truth when the matter was explained to him. Daniel then scheduled a time to meet with the king.
It is the same response we should consider — seeking to understand the situation of the people God places in our life and scheduling time to meet with them for further dialogue instead of a quick response. This also allows time to seek God’s counsel.
Praying for Guidance
Daniel does not go it alone. He immediately seeks others to pray for the situation: Verse 17-18 tell us that “Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.”
They lift up the situation in prayer, asking God to reveal the dream and its meaning. Daniel seeks God’s word and the wisdom to fill the desire for truth that God placed in the king’s heart. We too should seek others to pray with us about opportunities God gives us. We should seek God’s wisdom, his words to provide what others seek and not our own response.
Daniel makes clear that God is the source of the dream and its meaning in verse 27-28: “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.” He wants the king to understand he is only the messenger, that he is not wiser than anyone (verse 30).
Likewise, we should communicate that it is the word of God that gives us wisdom, not our own ability. We want to point others to God as the source of truth. Because Daniel credited God with his words, the king gives God credit: “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery (47).”
© 2019 CGThelen