FEELING ANXIOUS ABOUT THE FUTURE
Week of September 9, 2007
Bible Verses: Daniel 2:1-3,27-29,36-44.
Biblical Truth: God’s people do not need to be anxious or troubled about the future for He is sovereign and is in control of the kingdoms of this world.
Anxious About the Future: Daniel 2:1-3, 27-29.
 Now in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him.  Then the king gave orders to call in the magicians, the conjurers, the sorcerers and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king.  The king said to them, “I had a dream and my spirit is anxious to understand the dream.”  Daniel answered before the king and said, “As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men, conjurers, magicians nor diviners are able to declare it to the king.  However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed.  As for you, O king, while on your bed your thoughts turned to what would take place in the future; and He who reveals mysteries has made known to you what will take place.” [NASU]
 Dreams were regarded in the ancient world as having significance and as portents of events yet to come. This dream, because of its content and vividness, greatly upset the spirit of the king. Perhaps, because it was no ordinary dream, but one which the Spirit of God caused the king to see, its vividness was particularly intense. So that the king’s spirit was constantly smitten with terror and was unable to sleep.
 Because of the agitation of his spirit,
Nebuchadnezzar awoke from sleep. Perhaps the troubled spirit remained with him
while awake, so he immediately summoned those whom he believed could tell the
dream and its interpretation. Throughout the Old Testament the profession of
magicians, conjurers and sorcerers is condemned. Chaldeans is used here in a restricted and not in an ethnic sense.
The listing of the classes of wise men in Daniel is not intended to be given in
a technical or exact sense, since the lists vary in order of statement. The
fourfold mention here is evidently designed to include all the classes. All
four classes were intended to work together, supplementing one another, in
order to state to the king what his dream had been and what was its meaning.
Nebuchadnezzar, in his ignorance, sought to do what was impossible. He sought
for the explanation of a supernatural revelation by means of an appeal to those
who had no real knowledge of the supernatural. Those who, like the magicians of
 The king remembered the dream, at least in
its essentials. This seems to be established by his desire to test the wise men
 to see whether their words were true. How could the king know whether the
statement of the dream was true unless he remembered the dream? It is not
surprising that the king should not give complete trust to his servants. In his
heart he must have known, as must the magicians themselves, that the religion
 We may reconstruct the events from 4-26 as follows: In verse 16 Daniel, in the properly formal way required by court etiquette, seeks audience with the king and requests time in order that he may ask mercy from God. Daniel then prays and receives an answer to his prayer. He now again seeks access to the king. But in the carrying out of proper court procedure the second time  Daniel finds that Arioch takes matters into his own hand and hastily brings Daniel in before the king. Apparently Arioch desires credit for himself. “I have found,” he says, as though it were through his own effort that Daniel had been found. It should also be noted that Arioch focuses the king’s attention upon the man Daniel, rather than upon God. Daniel speedily deflects attention from himself, and points the eyes of the king to God. Perhaps in the words of verse 27, Daniel is indicating the unreasonableness of the king’s request and also showing sympathy for the Chaldeans, since the king has asked of them what they could not do. Man cannot perform that which is the prerogative of God alone. An excellent opportunity is presented to vindicate the superior claims of the God of Israel, which Daniel nobly uses to the best advantage.
 Although man
cannot reveal such secrets, God can do so. He dwells in heaven, in opposition
to the visible idols of
 The thoughts mentioned here are to be distinguished from those mentioned in verse 30. They are not the dream itself. More likely the words refer to the king’s thoughts before sleep came upon him. Probably as the king lay upon his bed, he was moved by thoughts concerning the future of his kingdom.
 Daniel gives the entire glory to God, to whom it rightly belongs. The secret is not revealed to Daniel because of any wisdom that he possesses beyond others, but solely that the interpretation may be made known. In other words, unless there is specific supernatural revelation, the interpretation cannot be made known.
Look at Daniel’s prayer in verses 20-23. The prayer has
three parts. First, there is praise to God for two of his most important
attributes: wisdom and power. This means that the prayer begins with adoration,
as all good prayers do. How appropriate is the ascription of wisdom to God in
these circumstances! The
Empires Come and Empires Go: Daniel 2:36-43.
 “This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the king.  You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory;  and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.  After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.  Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces.  In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay.  As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle.  And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery. [NASU]
Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed about a large statue or image.
The head of the statue was of gold. The chest and arms were of silver. The
middle portions of the statue were of bronze. The legs were of iron, and the
feet were of iron mixed with baked clay. While the king was watching, a rock
that was not cut out by human hands struck the statue on its feet, and the
whole thing toppled over and broke in pieces, the pieces then being swept away
by the wind like chaff at threshing time. The rock that stuck the statue grew
into a huge mountain that filled the whole earth. The gold head stood for
Nebuchadnezzar and emphasized the importance of the empire of
God’s Kingdom is Forever: Daniel 2:44.
 “In the day of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. [NASU]
Verses 44-45 is the climax of the king’s dream: the rock
that struck the feet of the statue, destroyed it, and then grew to be a
mountain that filled the whole earth. Daniel interpreted this part of the
dream, saying: the God of heaven will
set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed . Understanding this is
both easy and hard. The easy part is the identification of the rock with Jesus
Christ. The mention of the rock unveils a rich lode of biblical imagery. The
difficult part has to do with the place in human history where that great
kingdom is to be located. Is it in the present, here and now? Does it refer to
the church and its expansion throughout the world? The church’s destruction of
the world’s kingdoms? That is one explanation. Or does it refer to the
Questions for Discussion:
1. Note how God has designed history so that Daniel would be present at the time that He gave this dream to the king. Why would God give such a dream to a heathen king like Nebuchadnezzar? What does this tell you about how the Sovereign Lord uses human means to bring about His will?
2. What are the three parts of Daniel’s prayer in verses 20-23? Where is the focus of his prayer? Why do you think Daniel prayed for these three things at this particular time? What can we learn from Daniel’s prayer for our own prayers?
Daniel, James Montgomery Boice, Baker Books.
The Prophecy of Daniel , Edward J. Young, Eerdmans.