This blog thing is becoming quite the disclosure instrument for me. It seems to offer great remedy for a pent-up preacher and often uncomfortable transparency for an elected official. Guess people need to know who they voted for?
I look forward each morning to my quiet time and even more so when the house is empty (my wife is away and I miss her, but…). The added privacy provides time with the Lord. Some readers will get this others, while others will just think that I need a vacation.
The challenge I am having of late is that every time I pick up the word, I see something “old” for the first time. Maybe my memory is fading, but I cannot recall ever really reading Daniel, Chapter 4, as a personal letter from Nebuchadnezzar?
Apparently some time had passed between Daniel’s original “dream moment” with the king (Dan. 2), the king’s golden image now erected as tribute to himself as the king of kings (vs. 2:37). Afterwards, like Nehemiah’s moment of sorrow (Neh.2:1-2), the king sensed something was troubling Daniel. He was in fact very discerning, possibly more spiritual than the run of the mill politician, though blind to his pride, yet providentially necessary for the Kingdom of God (Dan. 5:21b). Daniel 4:19 gives us a clue about what the king was sensing, for the Man of God knew deep in his spirit that the message behind the dream was not yet completely delivered, or at least had not been internalized by this tyrant.
Here, Daniel finds himself in a high place (2:48) with a lavish lifestyle yet holding on to an unfinished message that will likely cost him everything (the pastors of America should listen up here); it had already threatened his three friends in the fiery furnace. Maybe that episode was to give Daniel the courage to share what the King needed to hear, possibly his own Ester moment (Ester 4:14)? Apparently it worked!
Now, in chapter four we receive a message not from a tyrant who threatens with furnaces heated seven times hotter, but a humbled king who lavished praise on his new-found “King of Kings.” For certain, Daniel’s elevation and positioning in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom was more about the King’s redemption than Daniel’s prosperity.
My point: we sometimes in our self-fullness miss the macro meaning of what is happening in scripture and in our world. God was not just trying to bless His favored Daniel and the Hebrew children, but rather use their lives and character to reach a “character” of significant influence in the world at that time. Who knows, Daniel’s integrity in this time could have been the means for the necessary faith that later protected him and his future from deadly peril of the lion’s den (Chapter 6:22,28), possibly otherwise realized had he waffled with Nebuchadnezzar?
Who would have dreamed that the man who became furious at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, would at the end of “seven times” [vs.4:16, possibly seven years] would be testifying: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” (Dan. 4:37 NIV).