Read Daniel 2:24-49
24Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, "Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him."
25Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, "I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means."
26The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), "Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?"
27Daniel replied, "No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these:
29"As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. 30As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
31"You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue — an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
36"This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. 37You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
39"After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron — for iron breaks and smashes everything — and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
44"In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands — a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
"The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy."
46Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. 47The king said to Daniel, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery."
48Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. 49Moreover, at Daniel's request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court. (NIV)
As we read this section of Daniel, we see that the dream is apocalyptic in nature. It speaks to the end times when God would set up his kingdom that will never fail. And as we look through this passage we see some points made elsewhere in Scripture.
The first thing Daniel does is confirm what the wise men have told the king. Only God above can both tell the king what he dreamed and its interpretation. And this is not a man-made god, but the actual God of heaven.
We also see a common message in Scripture that only God grants king their sovereignty. It is God who allows rulers to rule. This is something Jeremiah pointed out in his prophecy. It is something that Isaiah pointed too. And it was a common message of the Christians to the Roman Emperors through all the years. This is a hard concept for many that it is God who allows the rulers of nations to rule. We like to think we had a hand in it, but God is in control and often time allows bad rulers to reign for God’s ultimate purpose.
The dream Daniel interprets is a dream for the whole of the known world. Starting with King Nebuchadnezzar, there would be another king to follow who would rule it all, then another and another. Each king would be weaker than the last until finally, a king would rule over a divided kingdom or a composted kingdom that is both strong and fragile. This final kingdom would fail because of this division. Many of the those who wrote at the founding of our country and some who have come since have said the United States will not fail by another country, but by division within.
But we must remember that Daniel is a book about the end times as much about the time it was written. Writings about the end times were to encourage people that we don’t have to worry about present circumstances so much as in the end, we come out alright. This is at the heart of the dream. That God will establish his kingdom which will reign forever and will not be ruled by another people. But we also see that it is not going to come about without some violence. We see this in the image of the rock hewed out of the mountain. This rock will break all the kingdoms. We this struggle more played out in the writings of the Book of Revelation.
So we can see that Daniel prayed to be used by God and was ready when the time came. We need to be ready to be used by God for his purposes and not afraid to step in when moved by God to move. And we need to remember that even though we walk through dark valleys at times, our journey’s end is a good place. How does the promise of heaven help you on your walk in this life? Does knowing God have a place for you in eternity ease the pains of this world? These are questions we should ponder from time to time.
Blessings and Peace