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Daniel 2:1-49: The Reason for Blessing Print E-mail
Daniel
Sunday, 09 September 2012

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Have you ever wondered to yourself: ‘Why is God so good to me?’ Do you ever just stop and ask the Lord: ‘Why have you blessed me so much?’ Of course, one reason that God has blessed us is because He loves us. He has loved us even before the foundation of the world. He has loved us so much that He sent us His Son to die for our sins and conquer the grave. He blesses us because He loves us, because He delights in being good to us. Yet, this is not the only reason that God blesses us. He also blesses us for His glory. He blesses us so that we will know of His steadfast love and abundant grace. And He blesses us so that such abundance will overflow to others so that they too can know the greatness of God. Thus, as we concluded our sermon last week, God blesses us for our good, the good of others, and His great glory.

I believe that these lessons are clear in Daniel 2.  Last week we saw Daniel and his friends brought to Babylon to spend the Exile in service to the king.  God blessed them and gave them favor with the king.  We noted that there was more to the story than just their blessing, their good.  God had a plan and a purpose for them and their time in Exile.  We begin to see more of this plan in chapter 2.  We could call this chapter another ‘show-down’ text in the Old Testament, where God, through His people, faces off with other gods, through their people.  When Elijah dealt with the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, the question was which God would answer by fire.  The issue in Daniel 2 is which God can reveal mysteries, or which God is truly wise.  So then, how does the story play out in Daniel 2 and what does this teach us about the reason for God’s blessings?

The Story:

The chapter begins with Nebuchadnezzar having dreams.  He wants the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to interpret his dreams.  It should be noted that these men were trained for such a task.  They would listen to the dream and compare it with the reference materials that they had to offer an interpretation for the king.  That is what they did.  But there was a problem.  Not only did the king want the interpretation of the dream, he wanted them to tell him the dream first.  In other words, he was not going to reveal the dream to them.  They were not trained for this.  But the king makes it clear that he will not tell them the dream (v. 5 and v. 8-9).  The king demands this because he wants to be sure that they are truly able to give him the correct interpretation.  How do they respond?  Look at verses 10-11.  They answer as honestly as they can: ‘No man can do this, only the gods can do this and they do not dwell with men.’  They have no hope of telling the king his dream.

Since these ‘wise men’ cannot do what they are told to do, the king orders that all the ‘wise men’ in his kingdom be killed, which would include Daniel and his three friends.  Yet, when they came to them, Daniel makes a request.  Look at verses 14-16.  Daniel goes to the king and asks for time to interpret the dream.  The king had already refused the Chaldeans time, but he does not refuse Daniel.  We are not told why the king does this, but it is possibly because the king had already seen the wisdom of Daniel and desperately wanted the interpretation (see 1:19-20).

What does Daniel do with the time he is given?  He prays and he asks for his friends to pray as well.  Daniel knows that only God can provide what he needs.  And God does provide.  Look at verses 17-19.  They cry out for mercy and wisdom and God grants it.  How does Daniel respond to God’s provision?  Look at verses 20-23.  This is the heart of this chapter.  Daniel confesses that God alone is wise.  He alone controls all things and reveals mysteries.  As we have been discussing in our Sunday school classes, God, in His mercy, reveals such truth to us.  For Daniel, He reveals the king’s dream and its interpretation.  The Chaldeans were hopeless, but not Daniel and his friends.  They looked to the Lord and He provided.

So then, Daniel is brought before the king and the king questions him about the dream.  The stage is set, the tension is great, can Daniel reveal the dream and its interpretation to the king?  Look at his response in verse 27.  What?  Can you imagine the tension at this point?  Yet, Daniel continues.  Look at verses 28-30.  Daniel wants it to be abundantly clear to the king that only God can do what the king has requested.  Only God can reveal such mysteries.  Daniel takes no glory for himself, but gives all glory to God.  What a powerful moment?!  What a glorious statement by Daniel: there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries!! 

I absolutely love these moments in the Bible.  Can you imagine?  I see Elijah on Mt. Carmel answering the prophets of Baal: ‘There is a God in heaven who answers by fire!’  I see Isaiah assuring Hezekiah: ‘There is a God in heaven who will protect His people from the Assyrians.’  I hear Jesus on the cross crying, ‘It is finished,’ and the angel declaring at the empty tomb: ‘There is a God in heaven who has conquered over sin, Satan, and Death.’  And it all points to that final Day when the God of heaven will split open the sky with the shout: ‘No more death, no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears.  There is a God in heaven who has put an end to them all.’  This is the God we serve.  He is the God who reveals mysteries.  And Daniel proves it.  He goes on to tell the king his dream and the interpretation. 

We will consider the actual content of the dream and Daniel’s interpretation next week, I simply want to point out this morning that God does reveal the dream to Daniel.  How do we know?  Look at how the king responds in verses 46-49.  Guess who won the show-down?  Did you hear what Nebuchadnezzar said?  Who can reveal mysteries?  God can.  Now we do not need to see this as a ‘conversion’ of the king.  We will see that he is simply giving credit where credit is due in this situation.  He has no problem giving Yahweh praise at this point, but he is not ready to serve Him only.  God does use him at this point to bless Daniel and his three friends.  They are given important positions within the kingdom, which sets the stage for what is to come.

The lessons concerning God’s reason for blessing:

What can we learn about God’s purpose in blessing his people from this passage?  First, we see that Daniel uses God’s blessing for the good of others and the glory of God.  God blesses Daniel by giving him the ability to interpret dreams and Daniel uses that to save his own life and the lives of his three friends and the lives of all of the ‘wise men’ in Babylon.  Also, Daniel uses God’s blessing in the service of the king.  Thus, Daniel uses God’s blessing for the good of others.  Likewise, Daniel uses God’s blessing for the glory of God.  Who is shown to be the revealer of mysteries?  God.  Who is shown to be all wise and all knowing?  God.  Who is shown to be the only true God?  Yahweh, the God of Israel.  Daniel is very intentional to give all the glory to God when he stands before the king.  He keeps none for himself.

Second, God blesses Daniel for His glory and for the good of others.  Again, God has a plan in setting apart these men in Babylon.  God is sovereignly using the Exile to show that He rules over all and that He is the only revealer of mysteries.  The Chaldeans have no hope for their gods to reveal mysteries (v. 10-11), but Daniel knows that God is all wise (v. 20-23) and the king gets a glimpse of this as well (v. 47).  God blesses Daniel for His glory.  He also blesses Daniel for the good of others.  As we have noted, Daniel and all the other ‘wise men’ are saved, the king’s dream is interpreted, and Daniel and his friends are given important positions in the kingdom.  Thus, God also blesses for the God of His people.

In light of these truths, let me close by asking you a couple of very important questions.  First, how has God blessed you?  Perhaps God has blessed you financially (truth is, He has blessed us all in this way).  Perhaps God has blessed with extra time.  Perhaps God has blessed with a good job.  Perhaps God has blessed you with a loving spouse and a good family.  Perhaps God has blessed you with talents and gifts (maybe you have wisdom and knowledge like Daniel).  Perhaps God has blessed in some other way. 

Or if you want to say that God has not blessed you in any of these ways, then what about your salvation?  God sent Christ to come and die for your sins at the cross and He raised Him from the dead on the third day.  If you have turned from your sins and trusted in Jesus, then God has blessed you tremendously by adopting you into His family.  And if you belong to Christ, then you have been given the Spirit and spiritual gifts.  Thus, you have been greatly blessed by the Lord.

So then, second, how can you use these blessings for the good of others and the glory of God?  If you are hear and you have never trusted in Christ, then you must begin there.  God has blessed you by sending Christ to save you.  So turn from your sins, trust in Christ, and be saved.  This will bring you great good and Him great glory!  If you are hear and you are a believer in Christ, then I want to encourage you to think hard about how you can use God’s blessings for the good of others and for the glory of God.  I think we have to battle against two errors in this pursuit. 

First, we must not simply use God’s blessings for our own good and our own glory.  If God has blessed you financially, then don’t just assume that He wants you to have more stuff.  Perhaps He does want to help you pay your bills or something else.  But maybe He wants you to use your blessing to be a blessing to others.  I do not want to be legalistic in this, but I do want us to be intentional with God’s blessings and provisions.  Let’s help each other to use them for the good of others and the glory of God. 

The second error that we sometimes make is to refuse to use our gifts because of our struggle with pride.  We don’t want recognition because it will tempt us with arrogance.  I understand this struggle.  Yet, we cannot let this battle keep us from using God’s blessings to bless others and bring Him glory.  Rather, may be aware of our temptation to pride and may we, like Daniel, do all that we can, even in the using of our blessings, to put that sin to death by giving all glory to God.

God has blessed us in so many ways, the greatest being the gift of His Son.  May we live lives that bless others and bring glory to Him by continually pointing to the hope we have in Christ.  Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 September 2012 )

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