Monday, March 21, 2011

"Truly, your God is the greatest . . . a revealer of mysteries"

Dan. 2:37-48 NLT 
37 Your Majesty, you are the greatest of kings. The God of heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. 38 He has made you the ruler over all the inhabited world and has put even the wild animals and birds under your control. You are the head of gold. 
   39 But after your kingdom comes to an end, another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise to take your place. After that kingdom has fallen, yet a third kingdom, represented by bronze, will rise to rule the world. 40 Following that kingdom, there will be a fourth one, as strong as iron. That kingdom will smash and crush all previous empires, just as iron smashes and crushes everything it strikes. 41 The feet and toes you saw were a combination of iron and baked clay, showing that this kingdom will be divided. Like iron mixed with clay, it will have some of the strength of iron. 42 But while some parts of it will be as strong as iron, other parts will be as weak as clay. 43 This mixture of iron and clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage. But they will not hold together, just as iron and clay do not mix. 
   44 “During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever.  45 That is the meaning of the rock cut from the mountain, though not by human hands, that crushed to pieces the statue of iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. The great God was showing the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and its meaning is certain.” 
   46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar threw himself down before Daniel and worshiped him, and he commanded his people to offer sacrifices and burn sweet incense before him. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret.” 
   48 Then the king appointed Daniel to a high position and gave him many valuable gifts. He made Daniel ruler over the whole province of Babylon, as well as chief over all his wise men.

The king had asked an impossible task. Young Daniel, just barely out of the academy had volunteered to face the task on behalf of all those whom the king had raised up for his service called 'wise men.'  The task was not only to interpret the dream but to first tell the court what the dream was, without the king saying a word. Any human would fail but God would not fail Daniel and he knew it. In vv 24-35 Daniel tells the court about the king's dream of a huge gold statue, but with a gold head, silver chest, bronze belly and thighs,  iron legs, and feet of marbled clay and iron. An immense rock supernaturally cut from a mountain flew down and crushed the frightening figure.

Next Daniel explained how the dream informed the king of the coming two millennia of history with successive kingdoms with decreasing status and unity in the world. Daniel explained what God had taught him, that the rock was the future Kingdom of God that would ultimately crush all the political kingdoms and nations of the world order and this will be a supernaturally established kingdom that cannot end. It was a prophesy of the coming Messiah and the eternal Kingdom of God that will be established for Christ to rule forever.

The revelation released the king from the fear caused by his dream and lead him into a discovery of God. It was but an initial discovery for God would have to intervene in Nebuchadnezzar's life again in the near future to humble him. For now, the king gave praise and recognition to God as 'the greatest of gods.'  We see the king had yet some more to learn. In gratitude the King placed Daniel, about a 20 year-old- college graduate to be a sub-ruler over the home province and other gifts beside. We later learn that Daniel becomes the chief advisor to the king, over all the so-called 'wise men.' Some of those men were servants of lesser powers but Daniel was made superior to them and they had to submit to his authority or die.

When we let God use us, and we act in God's time, with God's words, according to God's will, we can know that we will be placed and allowed to be a blessing. If we always remember that any authority or responsibility we might receive along the way has nothing to do with our own abilities and everything to do with God's plan and will, then we can be blessed and become a blessing.

Your servant in Christ

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