Summary: Daniel was given the gift of interpretation of visions and dreams. God opens the future before Daniel and offers great encouraging lessons for us today.
When was the last time you had a scary or troubling dream? Do you remember what was scary about it? When we study Daniel we find that it has several dreams and their interpretations. First we have the dream of Nebuchadnezzar with the huge image with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, torso of brass, legs of iron and feet and toes of iron and clay. Then we see a stone being cut out of the side of a mountain. But this stone is cut out without hands. The next thing you know this stone that was cut out without hands is hurtling through the air or rolling down a mountain or something, because it smashes into the huge image right at its feet. The image crumbles down, down, down and breaks in pieces until all the pieces are like chaff or dust that the wind blows away! Then the stone becomes a mountain that grows and grows until it fills the entire earth!
I am not making this up. It is right there in Daniel chapter 2.
Now doesn’t that sound just like a dream? Daniel goes on to tell the dream and give the interpretation of the dream to king Nebuchadnezzar. He tells him that God has given him a kingdom so that he rules over the earth as king of kings, and he, Nebuchadnezzar, is the head of gold. Then he tells the king that after him will come another kingdom, the silver one, and another, the brass, and another, the iron that breaks in pieces and bruises. Then finally, as the feet and toes were mixed with iron and clay, another kingdom will arise that is divided.
Ok. Now for you history buffs out there, these represent the kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and finally Rome. These all rose and fell just as Daniel said. Now listen to what Daniel says about what happens next. Verse 44 is perhaps one of the most significant verses in this book. Listen to what it says about what will happen in the final days of the dream:
“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to another people, but it shall break in pieces and shall consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”
When Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar what he had dreamed and its interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar was impressed with the wisdom and knowledge of God.
The book of Daniel continues through two of the most enduring stories in the Bible. We read in chapter 3 of Sadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s courageous refusal to worship the image Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Because they refused, they were cast into a fiery furnace as punishment, but God delivered them unharmed. Nebuchadnezzar was impressed with the power of God. In chapter 4 Nebuchadnezzar has another dream and this time Daniel tells him how God will humble him and break his pride. He will become like an animal in his mind and actions until he humbles himself and recognizes that God sets up rulers as he chooses. Nebuchadnezzar ends up praising the God of Israel as the one eternal most high God over all.
In fact, the first four chapters of Daniel have as part of a central theme, bringing Nebuchadnezzar to faith in God. It is all because of God’s witness to him through the faithfulness of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and the dreams God gave him.