What started out as a great advantage for the prophet Daniel and his friends had suddenly turned into a great peril.
Far from their home in Judah, unlike most of their fellow exiles in Babylon, they were being raised in King Nebuchadnezzar’s luxurious palace. They were treated with favoritism and being given every avenue of training to help shape and form their young minds into future leaders of quality.
The problem was that a dream from the Lord troubled the king greatly and took all sleep from him. He now demanded that his cadre of spiritual advisors get in touch with their gods to immediately let him know the meaning of the dream. And in order to prove the veracity of their consultations, he demanded that they not only tell him the meaning but the undisclosed dream itself.
10 The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is no person on earth who could declare the matter to the king, because no great king or ruler has ever asked anything like this of any soothsayer priest, sorcerer, or Chaldean. 11 Moreover, the thing which the king demands is difficult, and there is no one else who could declare it to the king except gods, whose dwelling place is not with mortal flesh.”
12 Because of this, the king became angry and extremely furious, and he gave orders to kill all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree was issued that the wise men be killed; and they looked for Daniel and his friends, to kill them. Daniel 2:10-14 (NASB)
Though Daniel and his friends had not yet officially entered the king’s service nor had any idea what was going on, these young men suddenly found themselves under a sentence of death, one that was to be carried out immediately.
14 Then Daniel replied with discretion and discernment to Arioch, the captain of the king’s bodyguard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon; 15 he said to Arioch, the king’s officer, “For what reason is the decree from the king so harsh?” Then Arioch informed Daniel of the matter. 16 So Daniel went in and requested of the king that he would give him a grace period, so that he might declare the interpretation to the king. Daniel 2:14-16 (NASB)
Daniel apparently had a high enough standing among the trainees that he could personally approach the king to ask for more time to get the needed interpretation. His favorable impression and credibility convinced the king to allow a little more time before the fatal punishment order was carried out.
Having succeeded in getting a little more time, Daniel knew what to do next: turn to the Lord in prayer and supplication and enlist his equally endangered friends to do the same. It is safe to assume that their prayer time was desperate, heartfelt, and sincere. The Lord would hear their plea.
17 Then Daniel went to his house and informed his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, about the matter, 18 so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his friends would not be killed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Daniel 2:17-18 (NASB)
The Lord answered Daniel and his friends in their time of great need. He has promised all of us that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven; 20 Daniel said,
“May the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
21 It is He who changes the times and the periods;
He removes kings and appoints kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men,
And knowledge to people of understanding.
22 It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him.
23 To You, God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise,
For You have given me wisdom and power;
Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s matter.” Daniel 2:19-23 (NASB)
The Lord is powerful enough to change the times and seasons for kings of the great world empires, but He also cares enough for us to help guide us through our most difficult seasons. As we seek to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God, He will do His part and never let us down.
The troubles we are facing today will be removed by His loving hand, in His timing. New problems will always be coming along, but He will heal us from those and resolve them as they come. One day we will look up to suddenly realize that those problems are no longer weighing us down. He is good and will lift them away even as we do not realize He is doing it.
No matter what has come against us, Daniel’s trials remind us to always call upon the name of the Lord and to never lose hope. God knows what lies in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.
Lord, we lift our troubles to You today. Our times and seasons are in Your hand. Thank you for all the many trials and tribulations You have safely brought us through, and we thank You that You will always continue to do so. We praise You for your goodness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come,
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home. John Newton, 1772