A Promotion from God – Daniel 2

Under threat of death by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Daniel and his friends prayed fervently to be given the king’s dream and its interpretation by God.  The Lord answered their prayers, providing both the dream and its meaning, and these were quickly shared with the king to his satisfaction.

The mysterious dream was in fact a blueprint for the coming major world governments – four great empires representing all the pomp and power that humans can deliver.  These were followed by a divine kingdom that will replace them all forever. 

Fittingly, Nebuchadnezzar’s dream began with the form of a majestic human statue.  The most prominent position and metallic quality, gold, was found at the head, representing Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon.  Subsequent kingdoms, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and its present-day derivatives, were represented by successively inferior and lower positions and made of less valuable materials. 

The final human kingdom, represented by a conglomeration of iron and clay at the feet of the statue, will be crushed and blown away as chaff along with everything that came before it by the return of Jesus Christ and the installation of the kingdom of heaven.  This marks the end of human government and control.  From here forward, God’s loving and merciful nature will replace all the tears, suffering, hardship, destruction, and death the human empires have produced.

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and paid humble respect to Daniel, and gave orders to present to him an offering and incense. 47 The king responded to Daniel and said, “Your God truly is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of secrets, since you have been able to reveal this secret.” 48 Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon, and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel 2:46-48 (NASB)

God used the dream and its interpretation not only as a prophecy into God’s plan for the future, but also to bring forward and promote Daniel to a place of prominence in the king’s court.  This was not the first time the Lord used dreams to do this in the Bible.  Joseph, a son of the patriarch Jacob and great-grandson of Abraham, was promoted to one of the most powerful positions in ancient Egypt through his ability to interpret Pharaoh’s divine dream of warning.  Placed in this role, Joseph’s actions were able to save both the people of Egypt and Abraham’s line from the ravages of an imminent brutal famine.

The prophet Daniel had been forcibly taken into exile when King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah.  Likewise, Joseph had been sold into slavery by his own jealous brothers and was carried off into Pharaoh’s Egypt.  Joseph then ended up spending multiple years in a dungeon because of an injustice by the wife of his new master, Potiphar.

But God had important work for Joseph to do, and in the Lord’s timing he, like Daniel, received a divine promotion. 

14 Then Pharaoh sent word and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh. 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”  Genesis 41:14-15 (NASB)

God is infinite and interacts with each of us in a unique and intimate way, but He has some favorite methods He uses to work through people.  It would also seem that the more important the task, the more humility and reliance upon Him is required in its preparation.

25 And Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same; God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do.  29 Behold, seven years of great abundance are coming in all the land of Egypt; 30 and after them seven years of famine will come, and all the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine will ravage the land. 31 So the abundance will be unknown in the land because of that subsequent famine; for it will be very severe.  Genesis 41:25-31 (NASB)

Joseph then offered divine wisdom to Pharoah on what might be done to get ready to weather the coming storm.  This wisdom rang true with Pharaoh and brought great favor for Joseph.

38 Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom there is a divine spirit?” 39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be in charge of my house, and all my people shall be obedient to you; only regarding the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “See, I have placed you over all the land of Egypt.”  Genesis 41:25,29-31,38-41 (NASB)

There are some promotions we seek in life that we never get.  These are likely not a part of God’s bigger plan for us.  He has His own work for us to do, and we will find ourselves right where we need to be to get it done, whether we like it at the time or not.

Looking back, we often see that it was a good thing we did not obtain what we were seeking, and that it is a very good thing to be exactly where the Lord wants us.  From time to time, a promotion may come along with God’s blessing, often when we least expect to get it.


God used the dreams of great empire leaders to turn their attention to Him through the intercession of His faithful servants.  Both Daniel and Joseph were victims of great personal hardship, then were used by the Lord in remarkable ways to positively impact the lives of many and to preserve the genealogy of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Lord, whenever we are in the midst of hardship, help us to stay faithful to You.  It is so easy to turn away when we sense we have been treated unfairly.  Help us to stay focused on You, ready and willing to achieve Your will and purposes through us.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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