Summary: Daniel, the power of prayer, and the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
Last week, I preached on the first chapter of Daniel, talked about “The Daniel Diet.” And it was a message about moral purity, especially for our teenagers to make the right choice. While Daniel’s friends were required to eat the king’s rich food and drink the wine, Daniel said, “No, I’m going to stay pure.”
It’s kind of interesting that in a message on moral purity the message most people heard was about how to lose ten pounds if you go on the Daniel Diet. I think half of Tyler is on the Daniel Diet this week. They have been asking me questions about it. There’s so many questions about it, “What am I supposed to eat?” so actually I have printed up a page that kind of gives some instructions about it. If you’re interested, you can get it out of my office from Arlene, or on our website.
But it is, as I say again, not a message about how to lose weight but a message about being courageous enough to be different. I want to say again how much I appreciate these teenagers up here on the front. Praise the Lord. I appreciate all of you who kind of have been displaced, because we really are challenging our teenagers to move forward, not only physically but move forward spiritually in our church.
Today we’re going to talk about dreams. Do you ever wake up in the morning after having dreamt all night and then you couldn’t remember what you dreamed about? Dreams are strange things. Experts tell us everybody dreams, some people just can’t remember their dreams. Out of eight hours sleep at night, on the average you’ll dream an hour-and-a-half to two hours of those eight hours.
This actually happened. On the morning of April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln met with his cabinet at the White House in Washington, and the Civil War was raging toward an end. Abraham Lincoln said to his cabinet members, “I’ve been having a strange dream the last few nights.” He said, “In this dream, I picture a ship, and it is sailing towards some indefinite shore.” He said, “I keep having that dream. I don’t know what it means.” That very night he and Mrs. Lincoln were attending a show at Ford’s theater and John Wilkes Booth shot him in the back of the head, inflicting a mortal wound. The very next day, the ship that was the life of Abraham Lincoln reached the shore of eternity. That was a dream that had personal, national, and eternal significance.
Today we’re going to be looking at a dream a king had 2,600 years ago that also had personal, national, and eternal significance.
Daniel 2:1. “In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep.”
Let’s talk a little bit about Nebuchadnezzar. We’re going to be meeting him in the weeks to come also, but Nebuchadnezzar, who was this great Babylonian king, was one of the greatest world leaders of the time. In fact, he was the first world leader to conquer the entire civilized world, including what we would call today Italy, all the way around to Egypt. He built a beautiful city called the ancient city of Babylon, which is today 40 miles from Baghdad in Iraq. He was one of the greatest world leaders of all time.
It’s kind of interesting, you may be interested in this, Saddam Hussein in Iraq last declared himself to be the reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar. Before the Gulf War a few years ago, Saddam Hussein claimed he would rebuild ancient Babylon and restore Babylon to a world power as it was back then, and that’s probably one of the reasons he got in a fight with everybody else because he wanted to do that.
Dr. Sigmund Freud wrote the book The Interpretation of Dreams in which he says dreams are really repressed feelings of our fears, our worries, and our anxieties. Have you ever had a dream where you’re frustrated, you’re trying to do something and you just can’t do it? Maybe some people have dreams they’re back in school again and can’t find the classroom or they’re back in school and going to take a test and they haven’t studied for it or some of them are try to go run for help and their legs are caught in thick mud or just frustrating dreams. Well, king Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. Sometimes God uses dreams. But you’ve got to be very careful, because dreams aren’t the best messengers from God. In fact, the Bible warns us about that in Jeremiah 23:25, let me read it to you. Jeremiah 23:25, warning you about being careful about trying to always say dreams are from God. God says, “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?” Be careful, sometimes dreams are nothing more than the delusion of your own mind.