This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death. Daniel 2:12-13 (NIV).
It’s ironic, isn’t it? Nebuchadnezzar had had enough of the expert buffoons who were supposed to know what they were doing in matters of the soul. He was done with them; he became so furious that he ordered that they be killed. Not only them, but also the Judaites whom he had captured; that included Daniel.
Isn’t it ironic (in a little Alanis riff there) that Nebuchadnezzar’s death warrant was the vehicle through which God would soon work miracles? Starting tomorrow, we’ll begin to see how the king’s command to kill his trusted (but hapless) servants would bring out the faith in a captive Jew so that the power of the Most High could be displayed.
So let me ask: have you ever been fired? I have; three times, in fact. They tell you “this isn’t working out” or “we’re making a change.” Once, though, I had a manager (a VP, in fact) tell me “nobody wants to work with you,” which was possibly the most unkind thing he could have said to me in the moment. Then, as now, it feels like death. More appropriately, it feels like a death sentence, especially when you don’t deserve it. I really hadn’t deserved it, but it happened all the same.
Daniel and even “the experts” of divinity there in Babylon probably didn’t feel they deserved death, either. The magicians had been frauds who had fooled the king more than once; perhaps they were deserving of death after all. Yet Daniel and his fellow captives had done nothing wrong other than be in the wrong place in the wrong time. Alanis might have said it: it’s like rain on your wedding day.
Or, (again) as we’ll find out soon, they were actually in the right place at the right time. They were there because God had arranged events so that they were free to choose Him. In doing so, they would display His glory to powerful unbelievers. Nebuchadnezzar had spoken on a whim, but he didn’t know God would use his short temper to perform miracles.
I didn’t deserve to get fired, but it has all worked out ok. Indeed, many of the blessings I know now might not have turned out as they did were it not for those unkind cuts. God was at work here, too. So it was with Daniel as well.
Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think? Yeah, I really do think.
For further reading: Daniel 2:14
Lord, all praise to You for how You arrange this world. Thank You for what once seemed like a death sentence.