The Unknown Dream

This morning we continue our study of the life of the gentleman named Daniel. Our text is found in Daniel 2.

Daniel was born in the 7th century BC. He died 6th century BC. He was taken into captivity in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. Babylon was the most powerful nation on earth and Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful king. Nebuchadnezzar means “Nabu defend my son” or “favorite of Nabu”. Nabu was the son of the Babylonian chief god Marduk. His father was Nebopolasser.

He led the revolt against the Assyrian empire, toppled it. Many suffered under the Assyrian rule because of what has been described as their “unrelenting cruelty”. War prisoners were transported to different parts of the empire, never to see their homelands again. They gruesomely cut out body parts of captives, used them as sacrifices to their gods, mutilated children. This serves as background and context to the ascendance and reign of Nebuchadnezzar.

Nebuchadnezzar was himself cruel, but apparently not almost as cruel as the Assyrians. He was in fact oppressive. Highly temperamental and capricious, by biblical account he was a wicked ruler. He reigned from ca. 605 BC to 562 BC. He was about twenty-nine when he ascended the throne. Incidentally, the famous Tower of Babel was located in Babylonia. Babylon is modern day Iraq.

As the tower reached up to heaven so did the greatness of Nebuchadnezzar reach the sky. In the second year of his ascension to the throne, Nebuchadnezzar had a particularly troubling dream. But here’s the rub. He couldn’t remember the dream. To a superstitious man like Nebuchadnezzar that has to be troubling.  He called in his assortment of spiritualists – different specialties: Magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, diviners, fortunetellers. Surely this coven would solve his problem. “I had a dream that I can’t get out of my mind. I can’t sleep until I know what it means” he told them. From this narrative it would seem that Nebuchadnezzar summoned them in the middle of the night. We don’t exactly know what dialect Nebuchadnezzar spoke, but the Bible says the fortunetellers replied in Aramaic. Aramaic was the language of divine worship. Nebuchadnezzar probably spoke in another dialect.

In answering in the language of divine worship, they brought gravitas to their speech though clueless. This use of language is employed by demonic spiritual systems to this day. Voodoo priests employ the use of incantations. They use obscurantism to lend gravitas to emptiness and misdirection.

The priests demanded Nebuchadnezzar tell them his dream, without which they couldn’t interpret. And so the king entered into a stalemate with his spiritual consultants and advisors. He couldn’t tell his dream. They insisted that unless he told they couldn’t interpret. They were interpreters not recoverers of lost memories they said. But a man like Nebuchadnezzar with the power of Nebuchadnezzar is not to be crossed. He was a man of extremities. He told the fortunetellers, “This is my decree: If you can’t tell me both the dream itself and its interpretation, I will have you ripped to pieces, limb from limb, and your homes torn down. But if you tell me both the dream and its interpretation, I will lavish you with gifts and honors.” Those who knew Nebuchadnezzar knew he was as good as his threat. And everyone knew Nebuchadnezzar.

He saw through the Aramaic obfuscation. Felt the fortunetellers were trying to buy time with the stalemate. And he said so: “I know what you’re up to – you’re just playing for time. You know you’re up a tree. You know that if you can’t tell me my dream, you’re doomed. I see right through you – you’re going to cook up some fancy stories and confuse the issue until I change my mind. Nothing doing! First tell me the dream, then I’ll know you’re on the up and up with the interpretation, not blowing smoke in my eyes.”

Now, here’s the reply of the fortunetellers to Nebuchadnezzar, and it’s our focus of discussion: Daniel 2:10-11 MSG: “The fortunetellers said, “Nobody anywhere can do what you ask. And no king, great or small, has ever demanded anything like this from any magician, enchanter, or fortuneteller. What you’re asking is impossible unless some god or goddess should reveal it – and they don’t hang around with people like us.”

Daniel would later interpret the dream but here’s the point of departure between Jehovah and other gods. The magicians said, “What you’re asking is impossible unless some god or goddess should reveal it – and they don’t hang around with people like us.” If these gods don’t hang out with their priests what chance does the laity have?! The gods of the heathen are so elevated and remote they don’t relate with their devotees. But not Jehovah. David testified in Psalm 23: “Though I walk through the deep, sunless valley of the shadow of death I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me.” God told Joshua: “Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9). And we find promises of divine companionship in Hebrews 13:5 (AMP): “For God Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support, I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down. Assuredly not!”  Their gods don’t hang around people like them but our God became a man like us and hung around people like us!

The dwelling of these gods “is not with human flesh”, but the dwelling of our God is with human flesh. He took on the rags of humanity, was born in a manger. We beheld and touched him. His Spirit dwells in us. He’s well acquainted with the feelings of our infirmities, our weaknesses, our issues, inadequacies, challenges. Hebrews 4:15 MSG: “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all – all but the sin.” He caps it all off by telling us, “Behold, I am with you all the days, perpetually, uniformly and on every occasion, to the very close and consummation of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:20).

God will never abandon you. Please pray this prayer: Father I come to you in the name of Jesus. I believe Jesus died for me. I believe you raised him from the dead. I accept Jesus today as my Master and my Saviour. Amen!

If you prayed that prayer God will recover your dream for you, interpret it and hang out with you!

© Leke Alder |