************ Sermon on Daniel 2:24-49 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on June 4, 2006
"Tell the World About the Kingdom"
Remember the great uproar in Babylon? The king had a troubling dream. Advisors were called out of warm and comfortable beds and ordered to appear before the king. King Nebuchadnezzar gave these advisors an impossible task: to tell him his dream and its meaning. When the advisors admitted their inability to do what the king wanted, Nebuchadnezzar ordered Arioch, his chief executioner, to sharpen his sword and take off their heads.
I want you to take note of what Daniel did. As one of the king's advisors he too came under the death penalty. But Daniel did not panic. He did not go into hiding nor did he flee into the countryside. Listen to what Scripture says:
(Dan 2:17-18) 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.Did you catch what Daniel and his friends did? Daniel and his friends had a prayer meeting and, with confidence and in humility, they asked the Lord to reveal to them what the king demanded to know.
After this Daniel went to bed. "During the night," says Scripture, "the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision" (Dan 2:19; cf Dan 2:23). Daniel's response was a song of praise to God (Dan 2:20-23).
You know, Daniel was no different than you or me. We too are capable of great things through prayer. If only we, like Daniel, dare to offer believing prayer, then we too can receive divine "wisdom and power" (Dan 2:23).
I Daniel's Task: To Speak
A When God answered Daniel's prayer, He favored him above all the other advisors of the king, but at the same time He gave him a task, a calling, to perform. We should not be surprised by this because in the Bible privilege and duty always go together.
What is Daniel's duty, his task, now that the Lord has revealed to him both the king's dream and its meaning? Daniel did not treat the Lord's revelation as a secret too valuable to be shared with anyone else. Nor did he treat the Lord's revelation as something so ordinary, so common, that it wasn't worth passing on. On the contrary, Daniel knew that his calling was to be a bearer of the light of revelation. Daniel knew that it was his duty to make known what the Lord had shown him.
Therefore the first thing Daniel did after getting up in the morning and giving thanks to God was to rush to Arioch with an urgent message: "Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him" (Dan 2:24b).
It took a holy boldness and an immense amount of courage to go to the king with this message. Wouldn't it be only human for Daniel to wonder if his dream was actually a vision from the Lord or simply the product of his own anxieties and subconscious? Wouldn't it be natural for Daniel to have second thoughts? Daniel was staking his life on what he was about to say. For if he was wrong the king would probably have him executed on the spot.
B Why did Daniel rush to the palace to speak to the king? Why does he put his life more at risk than it already is? Is Daniel puffed up with pride? Does he want to prove how much wiser and smarter he is than all the other wise men of Babylon? After all, Daniel does succeed where all the other wise men fail. Daniel's pride cannot be the reason why Daniel rushed to the palace. The story in front of us presents a picture of a humble Daniel. When Arioch takes Daniel to see the king, he directs the king's attention upon Daniel the man: "I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means" (Dan 2:25). But Daniel quickly deflects attention away from himself and to God:
(Dan 2:27,28a) "No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, (28) but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries ..." (Cf Dan 2:21-23)Furthermore, Daniel denies having any special wisdom or knowledge:
(Dan 2:30) As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
Why, then, does Daniel act as he does? Daniel knows human lives are at stake, including his own. He acts to save and protect human life. Therefore, before he asked to be brought before the king, he said to Arioch, "Do not execute the wise men of Babylon" (Dan 2:24). And, before the king, Daniel tries to protect the other wise men when he says, "No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about" (Dan 2:27).
C We too, my brothers and sisters, have been given the light of God's revelation. Within the Word of God great mysteries have been revealed to us, mysteries about which most people are ignorant. We know about things past, things present, and things future: we know about the origin of the universe and of man, we know about the age-long battle between light and darkness, we know about the end times, we know about sin and salvation. While many people put a question mark on the gravestone we put an exclamation mark. We know all these things, and, by faith, we know them with absolute certainty.
As with Daniel, so with us: favor means duty, privilege means responsibility. Knowing God and His Christ obligates us.
So I have to ask you, congregation, what do you do with the light of the revelation that has been given to you? Like Daniel we cannot treat the Lord's revelation as something so ordinary, so common, that it isn't worth passing on. Like Daniel we can't be proud, feeling superior to those who don't know, who don't understand, as we do. Like Daniel, we cannot treat the Lord's revelation as a secret too valuable to be shared with anyone else.
Topic: EvangelismHow many of God's people aren't like Luigi Tarisio? In our very love for the church we fail to give the glad tidings to the world; in our zeal for the truth we forget to proclaim it. We need to learn that the Good News is meant for sharing, that it needs to be told. Daniel certainly didn't hide his holy secret in his own room; he trumpeted that secret before the king and his subjects. "Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him" (Dan 2:24b).
Perhaps you have heard of Luigi Tarisio. His passion in life was collecting violins. Death found him with hardly a comfort or convenience in his home; however, he did have 246 exquisite violins, one of them a priceless Stradivarius. But in his very devotion to the violin, do you know what he had done? He had robbed the world of their music, never once allowing them to be played. As previous owners had done the exact same thing, the Stradivarius had gone through 147 speechless years.
So like Daniel, it is our calling to be a bearer of the light of revelation. Like Daniel, it is our duty to make known everywhere what the Lord has shown us. We can not, we may not, we must not, block off God's light.
I can't help but think here of what Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount:
(Mat 5:14-15) "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.We cannot misunderstand our Lord here and think that we have light in and of ourselves. Rather, what we have to do is reflect the light of Christ just as the moon reflects the light of the sun. And, heaven help us if we don't reflect the light of Christ, for we will then be judged as lazy and worthless servants. If we can fathom all mysteries but do not love our neighbor enough to tell him about the Savior, we are but a useless and noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. Just as the Father sent Christ into the world, He now sends us.
Along this line, can I remind you that we need help with VBS – both here as well as in Big Springs?
And like Daniel, we are to trumpet forth the good news in order to save and protect human life – eternal human life. One of the worst things that could ever happen to the church is that she no longer cares that people die and go to the eternal death of hell; that she no longer shows lost people the straight and narrow path. So let me ask you, do you care that your unbelieving neighbor is going to end up in hell? Have you ever acted to save and protect a human soul from hell's gates?
Topic: EvangelismThis illustrates what the church ought to be like – individual believers who, having been saved, bring others for help and salvation.
The story is told of a small dog which had been struck by a car and was lying by the side of the road. A veterinarian driving by noticed that the dog was still alive, stopped his car, picked up the dog, and took it home with him. There he discovered that the dog had been stunned, had suffered a few minor cuts and scrapes, but was otherwise all right. He revived the dog, cleaned up the wounds and was carrying the animal from the house to the garage when suddenly it jumped from his arms and scampered off. He thought no more of the incident until the next evening when he heard a scratching at the door. When he opened it, there was the little dog he had treated with another hurt dog.
II Daniel's Message: The Kingdom
A When he was brought before the king, Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar what he had dreamed of: an enormous, dazzling statue, a statue representing every nation and power on earth; a stone cut without hands, a stone that crushed the statue, a stone that "became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth" (Dan 2:35), a stone that represents the Kingdom of Heaven.
What is Daniel's message here? King Nebuchadnezzar was a great and powerful king. As Daniel said,
(Dan 2:37-38) You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; (38) in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.However, powerful though they may seem, there is a King and there is a Kingdom that is far more powerful than King Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom may seem so stable and so secure but they are not a permanent part of the landscape; they will not last forever. In fact, no earthly power or kingdom will last forever. There will come a day when every kingdom and nation of men will fall and all that will be left is the Kingdom of God and His Christ. The kingdoms of this world, the powers of this world, the mighty of this world, will someday be overwhelmed by our God and His Christ!
Nebuchadnezzar had hopes, he had dreams, he had plans for the future. In his mind's eye he could see his descendants ruling after him, he could see the might and glory of Babylon continuing for a thousand generations. But Daniel says to him, "Leave room for Christ. You had better include Christ in your hopes, your dreams, your plans."
You see, the stone did not come along simply to destroy everything in its path; it came to make room, to prepare a place for Christ. And, when the stone grows and grows and grows until it becomes a mountain that fills the entire earth, it leaves room only for Christ.
"Leave room for Christ! Someday there will be no room for anything but Christ!" That is the message that Daniel gave to the king.
B But there is also more to the message. The full message is "Leave room for Christ because Christ is in control." We hear this message so plainly in Daniel:
(Dan 2:20-21) "Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. (21) He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.God sets up kings and deposes them. God gives dominion and power and might and glory. God is in control.
(Dan 2:37-38) You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; (38) in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
C This is also the message we have to give to our world. People are so busy with their lives, with their hopes and dreams and plans. We need to say to them, "Leave room for Christ! Someday there will be no room for anything but Christ!" We must tell our unbelieving neighbors that unless they are part of the Kingdom of Christ they are part of the kingdoms of this world that someday will be crushed. We must tell our neighbors that there is no room for anything but the Kingdom of Christ. So they, with us, have to give Christ their lives, their hearts, their all.
We must also remind people that they must leave room for Christ because Christ is in control. Do you remember what happened on November 9, 1989? That day stands as a testimony to the rule of God. That's the day the Berlin Wall fell. No one saw it coming; no political leader, no social scientist, no church leader saw what was happening. It shocked the world. No one can explain how it came about. Then nation after nation of Eastern Europe eliminated Communism as master. Is it answered prayer? Yes! Is it God's work? Yes! God is in control. The rock of the kingdom is filling the whole earth.
D Finally, we must remember that the Kingdom of Christ demands an all or nothing response. We can't give Him just part of our life; we can't reserve just a little corner for Him; we must give Him everything because the stone grows and grows and grows until there is room for nothing else. It demands our total commitment.
Daniel gave the Lord and His kingdom total commitment. Did he disappear from the scene when his life was threatened? Did he decide to keep his head down? No, he put his life on the line and witnessed to the King of kings and Lord of lords in the midst of heathen Babylon
Likewise, we must surrender all of our life to the control of King Jesus. We can't think, for a moment, that we will serve the Lord and His kingdom only if it is convenient, or if it is safe.
Like Daniel, we are to boldly proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of Christ so that lives may be saved. We must remind each other, we must tell the world, "Make room for Christ. Someday there will be no room for anything but Christ! Make room for Christ because Christ is in control."
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
Back to Index of Sermons Page