In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, “I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means. Daniel 2:1-3 (NIV).
If you’re in an ancient pagan city, the best thing you can do when you have a bad dream is call in people who don’t know what they’re doing to help you learn what it means. I mean it; I’m not being sarcastic. If something troubles you, the best thing you can do is summon people who don’t have a clue about such things (but have set themselves up as THE experts in these matters). You don’t know any better or have given up trying.
It’s sort of like watching the Oscars. Or maybe the nightly news. But Nebuchadnezzar didn’t have either of those things (which was a blessing for him). All he had were the people who called themselves experts at divining God’s will by watching stars, mixing potions, and making up stories to explain things they didn’t have explanations for (sort of like the news and the Academy). It was the best they knew how to do. In fact, it was all any ancient kingdom knew how to do.
Except Israel and Judah. They had once been a single kingdom – Israel – but divisions and greed split the kingdom after Solomon. They had always known (and sometimes trusted) God. But they chose more earthly paths…you know: the ones where magicians, enchanters, and the like tried to make sense out of human senselessness. Consequently, Israel disappeared altogether, then Judah found itself enslaved in Babylon.
And now the king had a troubling dream, so he did the only thing he knew how to do: he called in ‘the experts.’ As we’ll soon see, it did him no good.
Sort of like it does us no good when we do the same thing. We know better but we choose the stupidity of our sins instead. We hypocrites of 2021 believe in God but turn from Him anyway. Nebuchadnezzar rejected a relationship with God, too. He knew of Judah’s God, but he thought of himself as a god instead. He chose other ways, other things, other people like himself and his foolish advisors to tell him the best way to go. He learned it wouldn’t get him far. Sort of like us. Sort of like the news. Sort of like the Oscars.
For further reading: Genesis 20:3, Exodus 7:11, Esther 6:1, Job 33:15-18, Isaiah 19:3, Jeremiah 27:9, Daniel 2:4
Lord God, forgive me when I forsake You, when I have turned aside and tried to do things without You. I chose stupidly. Forgive me.
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