By Dr. Terry Kirby
Senior Pastor, Alpha Baptist Church, Morristown
Focal Passage: Daniel 2:13-21, 26-28a
I don’t know if you are like me when it comes to shopping but I can only endure it under certain conditions. I only like to shop when I have a predetermined list and a set number of minutes. These trips can take a turn for the worse when I hear the cries of a child echoing through isles the result of a parent saying, “No!” Depending upon the severity of the cries, the response can be called a temper tantrum. Adults are tragically guilty of these same temper tantrums.
The events recorded in Daniel chapter 2 shows the temper tantrum of King Nebuchadnezzar and the mature actions of Daniel, a teenager in exile from Judah. The king had had a nightmare that deeply troubled him. He wanted his wise men to tell him the dream and its interpretation. To put it in different terms, the king was asking them to draw a picture that he was thinking of and also tell him what it meant. The wise men declared that it would be impossible for anyone to fulfill his demands. Nebuchadnezzar apparently had grown tired of the wise men’s lack of help when he really needed it. They seemed to cost him more than they were worth. In response, the king ordered that all the wise men were to be killed. This order would include the lives of Daniel and his three friends: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Nebuchadnezzar’s temper tantrum would cost many lives. What would Daniel do?
In verses 13-16, the events of the story unfold. Daniel asked the king’s commander of the guard, Arioch, who was in charge of the killing of all the wise men, for an audience with the king. Daniel showed great maturity and courage in the face of his executioner and requested a conversation with the one who gave the order for his death. Even more courageous, Daniel asked for more time so he could give the king what he wanted, the interpretation of the dream. The king was more interested in the dream that the punishment so he agreed.
Daniel was on the clock. He had to produce an answer for the king or it was all over. What did Daniel do? In verses 17-21, the text states that Daniel told his three friends what about the decree of death and that he had promised an answer for the king. The passage states that the four faithful friends prayed and the God of heaven provided the answer to the king’s request. God chose to reveal the answer to Daniel at night in a vision. A closer look at these verses reveal a method we should copy in our prayers. The method is: Daniel prayed, God answered the prayer and Daniel praised God.
The most important part of this section is the praise offered to God. Too many believers prayer like they are having a temper tantrum. They demand an answer from God or they will hold their breath until they get what they want. Daniel prayed, God answered and Daniel praised the God of all wisdom and power. Daniel described God as the One who changes the times and seasons. He is the One who removes kings and establishes kings. God is the giver of wisdom and knowledge.
The final part of the text is found in verses 26-28. These verses contain Daniel’s reply to the king that only his God could reveal the mystery of the king’s dream and its interpretation. Daniel revealed the answer for the king and ended the king’s temper tantrum. Daniel received his reward from the king and God received the praise.