Summary: To have the wisdom to live in a chaotic and confusing world, we must grow in our relationship with Christ.
Title: Wise Up
Text: Daniel 2:1-49
Truth: To have the wisdom to live in a chaotic and confusing world, we must grow in our
relationship with Christ.
Aim: To pursue and submit to Christ’s will in order to live wisely.
During the week, when I have lunch at home, I often watch a prerecorded episode of The Rifleman or Rawhide. Occasionally I have tried to watch an episode in the evening, and my wife says, “Don’t you even think about watching that with me in the room.” Consequently, I do not watch it because she will not leave the room. I have asked. She mocks my taste in TV entertainment, and I admit that the programs are sophomoric compared to programming today. The themes are simple: good vs. evil or right vs. wrong. But I told Carol that the more I watch these old shows the more I really do enjoy them. Behind the simplistic story, and the amateur acting, are themes that reinforce good, wholesome beliefs and behaviors. The relationship that Lucas McCain has with his son Mark in The Rifleman must have been ahead of its time. They model an open, honest, caring relationship that is remarkable, and worthy of any parent, or child, to emulate.
I tend to think back to those days as simpler than today. Today, drugs are more rampant, pornography is no longer hidden, more mothers in the millennial generation are unmarried than married, and almost every sexual deviance is not just tolerated, but affirmed. With the advance of every new technology, we are told it will make our life easier, but sometimes it makes our life lonelier. It appears that this world is getting more chaotic and confusing. What is needed is the wisdom of God to make it successfully through life. Where do we find this wisdom?
I propose that Daniel 2 is telling us that to have the wisdom to live in a chaotic and confusing world, we must grow in our relationship with Christ. The major theme of Daniel is that, despite appearances, God is sovereign. This is found in every chapter. The dream, and its interpretation, is the backdrop to the inability of Babylon’s wise men to understand, and act rightly, in contrast to the insight and wise actions of Daniel and his friends. Where did Daniel obtain the wisdom to navigate this chaotic and confusing world? He acquired it from having a relationship with God.
Richard Bewes’s outline of the chapter helps us understand the story. I will use it as I read through the passage, and make some comments. Then, we will draw two lessons from this story that will help us find the wisdom we need.
I. THE DREAM THAT MADE NO SENSE (DAN. 2:1-13)
(1) In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams that troubled him, and sleep deserted him. (2) So the king gave orders to summon the diviner-priests, mediums, sorcerers, and Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. When they came and stood before the king, (3) he said to them, "I have had a dream and am anxious to understand it."
(4) The Chaldeans spoke to the king (Aramaic begins here): "May the king live forever. Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation."
These men sought to understand actions of the gods through black magic. They looked at the livers of animals, or how a flock of birds flew, the stars, or an odd birth to determine the mind of the gods. They were not like the prophets that received revelation from the true God.
(5) The king replied to the Chaldeans, "My word is final: If you don't tell me the dream and its interpretation, you will be torn limb from limb, and your houses will be made a garbage dump.
He is not exaggerating; what a horrible way to die! On top of that, your family does not just have its home bulldozed and later rebuilt on the same property. No, your property becomes a public latrine. It is total loss.
(6) But if you make the dream and its interpretation known to me, you'll receive gifts, a reward, and great honor from me. So make the dream and its interpretation known to me." (7) They answered a second time, "May the king tell the dream to his servants, and we will give the interpretation." (8) The king replied, "I know for certain you are trying to gain some time, because you see that my word is final. (9) If you don't tell me the dream, there is one decree for you. You have conspired to tell me something false or fraudulent until the situation changes. So tell me the dream and I will know you can give me its interpretation."
He does not trust these men, and we do not know why. He is essentially saying, “If you talk to the gods to get an answer to my dream, then you ought to be able to learn from them the dream they gave me in the first place.”