Summary: In the face of uncertainty, Daniel remembers three truths that allow his faith to stand strong which leads to God receiving great praise.
One thing is certain…nothing ever stays the same. I was on facebook this past week and I was noticing the updates posted by a friend with whom I went to college. She now lives in Maine and she posted the comment…the sun is out. A few minutes later she posted another comment that said…the sun is not out. This went on for a few posts, and I got bored of following the conversation.
It is true that living in New England we have our fair share of weather inconsistencies. Like the 90 degree weather we were having last week compared to the mild 60’s of today.
But it is not just in the weather were we are experiencing uncertainty. There is uncertainty in the job market…uncertainty in the housing market…uncertainty in the stock market. In fact our world is full of uncertainty. And in uncertain times people seem to slip into a mode of fear.
Why are people so afraid of uncertainty? Well, there is the fear of the unknown. And I must confess that the unknown can be a bit frightening, but it can also be delightful. There is also the fear of change in time of uncertainty. The fear of failure… and the list could go on.
But I want to make a bold statement, which will serve as kind of the premise of our study today. Faith can thrive in times of uncertain0ty. Consider for a second the biblical definition of faith given in Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Things hoped for…things not seen, certainly sound a little uncertain. It is in these times of uncertainty that faith become obvious or should I say that faith become provable. Faith says in spite of not seeing things…in spite of only having hope, there is substance in our faith that keeps us moving and keeps us standing strong.
Let’s go back to our story today in Daniel 2. Let’s do a little review of our main characters. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were taken captive to serve in the Babylonian King’s court. These three men received three years of training in the Babylonian culture which was an attempt to re-indoctrinate them to the Babylonian lifestyle. But in spite of the Babylonian effort to cause the men to forsake their God they men stood strong. They chose to believe the sovereignty of God. They chose to stand strong on what they believed. They chose to follow God and walk in faith. But it did not take long for their faith to be tested.
Their first test came while in training, or should I say three year long re-programming effort. These men were challenged to fit in with the behavior and specifically the eating rituals of all Babylonians. But the dietary plan was against the dietary laws of the Jews. So they stepped out on faith and ask for a different food plan. It worked and God blessed these three brave men who stood up for what He had designed for them. In fact it worked so well that at the end of the three years listen to what was said about Daniel and his friends…
Dan 1:20 - And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
Yet in spite of their impressive knowledge and stamina, it did not take long for there to be another trial. Chapter 2 of Daniel starts out by saying that King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream. The dream was so upsetting, that the King immediately called for his wise men to give him the reason for the dream.
The Catch was that by the time the king assembled the wise men, he had forgotten the dream, or so he said. He asked the wise men to tell him the dream and to tell him the interpretation of the dream. This was an impossible task, and the wise men make an appeal on those grounds. Listen to their appeal:
Dan 2:10 - The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.
You can almost hear the desperation in their voice. Things they are a chanin’…from the certainty of the kings wise men, to the brink of extermination.
Listen to the King’s response:
Dan 2:12-13 - For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.