King Nebuchadnezzar walks into the room, his royal robes dragging on the floor. Dark circles are under his eyes.
“Send me the magicians and astrologers!”” he thunders.
The palace bustles as his command is carried out. Footsteps echo in the courtyard. Deep yells bounce into the air. The women whisper, “The king is planning an attack and needs counsel!” In a few minutes, a dozen of Babylon’s chief wizards, magicians, and astrologers cower in front of the throne of the most powerful king on earth.
“Yes, your majesty?” says one of them. “You called?”
King Nechadnezzar’s dark eyes narrow. “I have had a dream. I want you to tell me what I dreamt about. Tell me the meaning, too.”
“But-but-but that’s impossible!” sputters one of the astrologers. “We can probably tell you the dream’s meaning, but no man can tell you exactly what you dreamt about!”
“Nonsense!” roars the king. “You are my magicians! You should know! Don’t the spirits of the gods live in you? Don’t the stars tell you? Doesn’t the moon speak to you?”
“O King, there is not a man on earth who can do what you are asking!”
“If you will not tell me my dream, then what is your use? Off with your heads! All of you!”
The magicians are stunned. They frantically scramble and make a mad dash toward the palace doors.
Nebuchadnezzar calls out to Arioch, commander of his royal guard. “Execute all of them. Cut them to pieces– all the magicians, wizards, and astrologers in the land! Turn their houses into rubble! What use are they to me if they cannot tell me a simple dream?”
Arioch sighs. It is not pleasant to kill people whose only guilt is the ignorance of a dream, but he must obey. He goes around the royal quarters and palace halls, the gardens, the sorcerers’ houses and every resting lounge—areas where magicians, astrologers, and wizards could be. He marches to the south side of the king’s special houses where the wise captives of Judah live. He knocks on the door. One of the Jews, Daniel, answers.
Among all the captives of Judah whom Nebuchadnezzar’s men trained in the literature and wisdom of Babylon, Daniel had impressed him a lot. Young and handsome, intelligent and reasonable, Daniel dared to ask the royal kitchen for vegetables to eat instead of the bounty of the king’s table. That took a lot of courage. The king’s men thought Daniel and his friends would be famished and hungry; unfit for their studies and mental tests due to their diet. They were wrong. The young captives from Judah impressed the King and everyone else with the way they answered the King’s sharp questions: “How does the wind blow…explain the science of clouds… discuss the way plants grow… what did the sun mean by that?” There was something peculiar about these young men. They were greater than their peers in intelligence, strength, and dignity. Should they, too, be killed?”
Daniel’s voice knocks Arioch out of his thoughts. “Arioch,” says Daniel. “Good day! Oh, what is wrong?”
Arioch lowers his head. His face must have shown the conflict of his heart. “The King has ordered the execution of all the wise men, magicians, and, astrologers of Babylon because no one can tell him his dream and what his dream means.”
“Is that so?” Daniel says. “No mystery is too difficult for God! Take me to the King. My God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, can show me the dream and what it means. I shall ask the King for time so I can seek my God for the answer.”
Whenever I imagine the drama of Daniel 2, I cannot help but marvel at the faith of Daniel. Daniel had no guarantee that God was going to show him Nebuchadnezzar’s dream; no guarantee that he and his friends would be saved. Among the magicians operating in Babylon, he and his friends were like the new kids on the block. Did it make sense to go to God and ask Him for something impossible? Who can know another man’s dream?
Here we see a key in life. There will be times when the only way out of a difficult situation is God. When these times happen, we will always have a choice: will we allow faith to rise up in us or not? Should we challenge the physical and allow for heaven to be more real than what is logical?
These questions are scary, but they challenge our hearts. Do we trust God enough? Is God truly alive? Does God care? Does every detail of our lives matter to Him? What if God says no? What if God says yes? What if I die waiting for Him to answer? Can we trust our Heavenly Father’s heart? Can we boldly go to Him and ask Him about things even if they don’t make sense to us?
Luke 12:6-7, says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
God knows everything that is happening to us. He cares. He is the same yesterday—yes, even during Daniel’s time–, today– during our time, and forever. We must remember that we have a God who is all-powerful and all-wise. He is not a genie who answers everything the way we want Him to, but He is God. And He is Love. We certainly cannot predict His ways (oh, He loves to concoct the most intense of dramas!) but we can go to Him and ask Him to intervene in our circumstances.
At the end of the chapter, God reveals Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its meaning to Daniel. We find Nebuchadnezzar saying this 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” (Daniel 2:47). God used the Daniel 2 drama to bring revelation of who He was and who He is—God of all gods and revealer of mysteries– to the most powerful king on earth.
Whatever our circumstances are, our response to God is what matters most. Do we trust Him? Can we be in faith? The God who can bring revelation to us–and to the people around us–cares immensely about our lives
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.