Daniel 2: 31-35 (NIV)
Daniel said to King Nebuchadnezzar:
31 “You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue – an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While 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. 35 Then 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.”
King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. None of Babylon’s wise men could reveal the King’s dream to him or explain its meaning. He determined therefore to put them all to death. Daniel and his friends pleaded for God’s mercy and God revealed the dream to Daniel in a vision (verses 17-18). This led Daniel into a beautiful song of praise to God (Daniel 2: 20-23).* This can guide us as to how we give thanks when we receive answers to prayer.
Daniel was then able to enter the King’s presence, describe the dream and then explain its meaning. He claimed no credit for this. He claimed no special wisdom. In humility he gave glory to God:
“No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries …
“As 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 …” (Daniel 2: 27-28, 30).
This can guide us towards giving all the glory to God, retaining no credit for ourselves.
Verses 31 to 35 above only describe the dream; Daniel then told the King its meaning. King Nebuchadnezzar was greatly impressed and yet, like Daniel, he gave the glory to God, “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” (verse 47).
The rock that, in the dream, smashed the statue on its feet of iron and clay, the rock not cut out by human hands, represents the eternal Kingdom of God, inaugurated by our Lord Jesus Christ. This eternal kingdom was later revealed in a vision to the Apostle John when heavenly voices proclaimed, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11: 15).
The Babylonian empire and the other empires referred to in the dream ultimately crumbled. So did all empires that followed through to the present time. This is the inevitable fate of all empires created by human endeavour, including any so-called “caliphates”. The only kingdom to endure is that which is already established and which continues to grow in the hearts of those who have committed their lives to Jesus Christ: the kingdom of God.
We are to pray frequently for God’s kingdom to come and for his will to be done. We can do this, certain in our faith and assured in our hope.
*“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever: wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king” (Daniel 2: 20-23).