Summary: In this sermon from Daniel 2:1-18 we see how Daniel responded when the bottom dropped out of his life, when he faced a crisis.
All of us watched with horror and sadness the incredible destruction this past August of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina. Much of the region was flooded by storm surge and broken levees. Homes and businesses washed away and collapsed into a heap of ruins. About a thousand people were killed, and for the survivors the bottom just seemed to have fallen out of their lives.
Have you ever had one of those days? A day when the bottom falls out? If the bottom falls out from under your house, the remedy is plain enough. You simply move to Pennsylvania where the soil is strong!
But what do you do when the bottom falls out of your marriage? Or your career? Or your kids? Or your health? What do you do when you get back that lab report that doesn’t look good? When relationships break down? Or never form? When you find out that your daughter is pregnant? Or your son is on drugs? Or that your spouse has been seeing someone else? When your plans and dreams never materialize? What do you do then?
Daniel was a man who knew first-hand what it was like to have the bottom fall out of his world. Life wasn’t always rosy for Daniel. Although Daniel had been born of royal Israelite lineage, king Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Daniel’s homeland and taken him captive as a prisoner of war when he was a young boy.
But lately, the events of Daniel’s life had been on the upswing. Daniel received an appointment to train for the king’s service. At the end of the training he had become superior to all of his peers. With God’s help he had risen above his adverse circumstances. His future, which at one time was very dim, was now very bright again!
That is where we left Daniel last time. But as we come now to Daniel 2 we find a dramatic shift. Suddenly, the bottom fell out again. Let’s read about that in Daniel 2:1-18 in a sermon I have titled, “When the Bottom Falls Out!”:
"1 In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. 2 So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, 3 he said to them, “I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.”
"4 Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”
"5 The king replied to the astrologers, “This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. 6 But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.”
"7 Once more they replied, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”
"8 Then the king answered, “I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: 9 If you do not tell me the dream, there is just one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me.”
"10 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. 11 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.”
"12 This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.
"14 When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. 15 He asked the king’s officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16 At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.
"17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon." (Daniel 2:1-18)