“This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now, Belteshazzar, tell me what it means, for none of the wise men in my kingdom can interpret it for me. But you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.” Daniel 4:18 (NIV).
How interesting it is that Nebuchadnezzar keeps going back to his captive, Belteshazzar/Daniel, because his best advisors and highest religious authorities just don’t measure up. How did Daniel feel?
In your life, have you ever batted cleanup? Have you ever been brought in to clean up someone else’s mess, or do something that someone else just couldn’t get done? Have you ever been given a large task that even the best of your peers couldn’t manage, and now you’re the one under scrutiny? Or, in school, were you ever the new kid, the unpopular kid, the awkward teenager who got good grades but got called on to give an answer when some of the other kids couldn’t?
I feel for Daniel. Once again, he’s in the spotlight because the Babylonian sorcerers failed. They were people with occult practices or bones, sticks, and potions that they thought could portend the future (but were, in reality, just witch doctor tricks). Nebuchadnezzar recognizes that Daniel has been given a gift that nobody else has. But, to be honest, Nebuchadnezzar also doesn’t fully believe in God. He has already recognized that God is supreme, but he hasn’t yet been willing to fully bend the knee to the Almighty. So, he reverts back to Daniel because, once before, Daniel was able to tell him what a troubling dream meant.
Daniel must have felt troubled by this. He relied on God, so his faith in God wasn’t shaken, nor was his belief that God would provide an answer in His way. Yet Daniel had operated in the Babylonian court for awhile now, and the stakes of this political intrigue were getting higher and higher. Daniel had already proven his faith by refusing to defile himself by eating unclean foods. Then, he interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about the multi-layered statue. After this, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego went through the fiery furnace, and would have been burned to a crisp were it not for God intervening. Daniel’s faith didn’t waver, but he probably felt nervous.
God had proven himself over and over to the pagan Babylonians, yet they kept coming back to Daniel – and God – for help. Once again it is happening, and this time the dream is one that dangerously, personally threatens Nebuchadnezzar. Just like our being on the dime at work, or being the awkward kid in school, or being unwittingly thrust into the spotlight in any situation, Daniel probably felt a little uneasy.
For further reading: Genesis 40:12, Genesis 41:8, Daniel 4:19
Lord Jesus, strengthen me when I feel uneasy, when I’m out of my element, when I’m on the spot.
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