Summary: This is the 2nd sermon in the series "Faith Under Fire".
Series: Faith Under Fire (Daniel)[#2]
ON OR UNDER?
Daniel and his friends had been moved from all they knew and loved. They were faced with test of isolation, indoctrination, compromise, and confusion; but through all of this they were victorious. How was this possible? Because they relied on God through all of the test. So now that they had passed those test, they lived the rest of their life happily ever after, right? Of course not! The more victorious we are, the harder Satan fights.
A little time went by and then a new and bigger problem arose. Nebuchadnezzar had some dreams that really troubled him so he called in the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. Notice what verse 10-11 says: "The astrologers answered the king, "There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men." They were half right. They were correct in saying only God could do this; but they did not understand that Jehovah God is with His children all of the time.
Because of this information, the king became so angry that he decided to have all of the wise men killed; which included Daniel and his friends. The commander of the guard went to get Daniel to take him to his execution.
When Trouble Comes
Look with me at a modern day example of when trouble comes.
[Video: "When The Going Gets Tough"]
Daniel shows us how to handle a problem in a godly manner.
1. Daniel did not panic when he heard that he was going to be executed. Instead of "jumping to conclusions", running, fighting the guard, etc...; he simply asked why and then listened.
2. Daniel then went to the king and asked for some time to interpret this dream.
3. He then went to his friends, explained the situation, and urged them to pray about this situation.
4. After God answered their prayers, Daniel stopped and thanked God for the answer; and then put the answered prayer into action.
When The Time Comes
Daniel shows us how to handle our assignment in a godly manner.
1. The first thing out of Daniel’s mouth to the king was that there was no man that could do what he was asking; but that there was a God who could.
2. After Daniel told the king who could take care of his problem, he then told him why God could do that.
3. Daniel lifted the God of love before this pagan king and then allowed God to work.
4. Daniel then began to tell the king the dream just as God had told him to.
When The Truth Is Told
Daniel then tells the king that God has also given him the interpretation of the dream.
Daniel shows us how to share God’s message the right way.
1. Daniel explained to the king things that could have really made him mad, which could have ended up in his death; but he did not "water down" God’s message.
2. The interpretation shows us many truths, some that have occured and some that have not occured yet.
The key to understanding the four parts of the statue is in the last phrase of verse 38 and the following few verses. Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar, "You are the head of gold." That explains the top of the statue. But what about the other three metals?
After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron-for iron breaks and smashes everything-and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others (Daniel 2:39-40).
This means the statue is a symbolic representation of four successive world kingdoms. Only the first one is identified: Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire. We learn from Daniel 8 that the next two are the Medo-Persian empire and the Greek empire (ruled by Alexander the Great). The fourth kingdom-the mightiest of them all-is never identified in Daniel. It is simply described as possessing the strength of iron and having the ability to crush its enemies. Historically, the legs of iron must refer to the Roman empire.
The historical outline looks like this:
Head Gold Babylon (612-539 BC)
Chest Silver Medo-Persia (539-331 BC)
Belly/Thighs Bronze Greece (331-63 BC)
Legs Iron Rome (63 BC-476 AD)
Verses 41-43 explain the feet and toes made partly of iron and partly of clay. I believe this refers to the breakup of the Roman Empire into the countries that now make up Europe and the Mediterranean basin-some strong and some weak.