Daring to Make a Stand – A Bible Study of Daniel chapters 1-6 – Part 4

Seeking a Genuine Sign

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“2 In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers[d] to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, “I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.[e]

Then the astrologers answered the king,[f] “May the king live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”

The king replied to the astrologers, “This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.”

Once more they replied, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”

Then the king answered, “I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me the dream, there is only one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me.”

10 The astrologers answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. 11 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.”

12 This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.”  Daniel 2:1-12 NIV

In Daniel 1, we saw Daniel and his friends with a bold resolve to be faithful to God despite persecution.  As a result, God gave them knowledge and skill, wisdom and understanding.  It would be great if the story ended there… God’s people being faithful and God blessing them… but it does not.  Now that they are seen as “wise men” they are categorized along with the other wise men.   

The story of Daniel and his friends continues.

There are times we’d like our testimony to be of facing a challenging time, overcoming in God’s name, then the story ends.  The story of Daniel and his friends is just beginning.   

King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream… a troubling dream.  He calls his wise men together to interpret his dream.  As the new king, Nebuchadnezzar broke with custom.  He seen his father take the word of the interpreters and wondered if they were genuine.  Typically, the king would reveal the dream and the wise men would interpret it.  Anyone could hear a dream and try to interpret it.

Nebuchadnezzar took it a step further.  He didn’t want empty religion.  He wanted a revelation.  He said that the wise men were to not only interpret the dream, but they needed to tell him the dream first… or they would be put to death!  In verses 10-11, the wise men plead with the king.  They claimed to have access to the gods, but they couldn’t tell him the dream.

Word spread that the wise men would be put to death.  The king had seen and heard false religion before.  The king was clear that he didn’t want some fake manufactured religion.  He wanted to be sure that it those who influenced his thinking were really from God.

Before Daniel and his friends enter the story, it’s important to know that the world around us isn’t looking for fake, manufactured religion either.  They don’t want be influenced by a false religion either.

Is the Gospel real to you?  Have you fully submitted your life to Jesus Christ?  Don’t let the Gospel be a fake religion to you.  The world will not be impressed with people who are half-hearted and hypocritical in their beliefs.  Daniel shows us that the world will be influenced by people who are fully surrendered to God.     

Lord I believe.  Help me in my unbelief.  I surrender my heart and life to You today.  In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, empower me to live with the courage of Daniel and his friends.  Amen. 

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