In reading our way through the Bible, we have come to the Book of Daniel. It has always been a favorite of mine; the stories are so full of the details of Daniel’s life as an exile from the Holy Land while he lived in Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar. Scripture tells that Daniel and his three friends were elevated to positions of authority after God gave them learning and skill in literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding of visions and dreams. Indeed, after their year of preparation, the king questioned them in every matter of wisdom and understanding, and the king found them “ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.” Daniel 1:20.
In the next chapter we find the king asking that the wise men of the kingdom interpret a dream that he had. In fact, the “king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams.” Daniel 2:2. The king became incensed because none of the wise men could state the dream, let alone its interpretation, and it was a troubling dream indeed. At this point, the king ordered that all the wise men be destroyed! Daniel 2:12.
Since Daniel and his friends were considered to be wise men, although they were not consulted by the king about this dream or interpretation, the king’s captain came to take Daniel away. Daniel asked what the problem was and the captain explained the situation. Then Daniel went to the king and asked that the king would appoint him a time so that he could provide the king’s interpretation and the wise men would be spared.
Daniel went to his home and told his three friends about the problem, and the four of them entreated wisdom from the Lord. The mystery was revealed by God to Daniel in a vision in the night.
Ultimately, Daniel went in before the king who asked: “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” Notably, Daniel did not say that he could do this. Rather, Daniel said:
“No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.”Daniel 2:26-28
After Daniel detailed the dream and then gave the interpretation, the king had his response:
“Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.”Daniel 2:47
In response to God’s revelation to Daniel, the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts; and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.
For the purpose of this blog, however, the point of the story is not so much that Daniel interpreted the dream and then was promoted and all the foreign wise men were saved from certain death. Rather, it was what Daniel prayed after receiving the mystery from God, before going back before the king with the interpretation.
Unlike something that I would do, Daniel did not run to his friends and shout “I know the secret”. “We will be saved because of what I tell the king.” Or perhaps “I am so glad that God told me what the king wants to know. I bet this will bring on a nice promotion, and maybe even some perks!
No, after receiving the answer, this is what Daniel said:
Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding, for He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.Daniel 2:20-23
How often do we thank God for answers to prayer?
When we pray, do we expect God to answer? When He gives us an answer, are we surprised?
Do we recognize God is the source of wisdom or have we bought into the culture’s line that we can answer our questions by ourself, without any “outside” intervention?
Do we really believe that God will hear and answer our prayers?
Daniel did. He and his 3 friends prayed for wisdom so that he could answer the king’s demand and so that they would not be destroyed along with all the other wise men of the kingdom. There was no doubt in Daniel’s mind – God would answer his prayer and grant him the wisdom to know both the king’s dream and its interpretation.
Indeed, even the wise men said that no one except the gods could do what the king was asking. But their gods did not respond; how could they? They were stone, iron, bronze, wood. They were work of craftsmen who made the idols and then bowed down to them.
Daniel’s God, however, is not made of wood or stone. He is the Creator of all things. He is the Almighty God, the One who is omniscient, who knows all things; He is omnipresent, everywhere at the same time; He is omnipotent, all powerful. There is absolutely nothing that He cannot do if He desires to do it.
Beloved, God is the same today as He was in Daniel’s day and as He will be at the end of time. God does not change; He is Holy and He is eternal. And there is an additional benefit to praying to God in our day – our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is sitting at the right hand of God and He is interceding for us on our behalf. We have an advocate, and He is our Lord.
What does that mean to you? It means that you can pray to God with full faith and confidence that He will hear your prayer and will answer you according to His will for you. Our Lord and Savior is sitting with God and the Holy Spirit will guide you as you pray. You have the entire Trinity at your disposal when you pray!
Be like Daniel and ascribe to God the praise that should go to Him. Or give thanks and praise to Him beforeyou get the answer. What a blessing you will receive when you do that!
Father, forgive me when I have considered prayer to You as a burden, or something that I just didn’t want to do. Forgive me when I have prayed without any expectation that You would answer. Forgive me when I pray for things that are transitory or temporal. May I pray in recognition of my own frailty, sin and unworthiness as I approach Your presence, knowing that I can approach Your throne with confidence through faith in my Lord Jesus Christ.