June 23 - Mike Cheek, A Questionable Life, Part 4
Not long after Nebuchadnezzar had become king and raided Jerusalem, bringing back captives to serve him, he had a dream. He woke from this disturbing dream and called for his magicians, sorcerers and astrologers and demanded they tell him what his dream was and what it meant.
Daniel 2:10-16 The astrologers answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans.”
This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.
When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. He asked the king’s officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.
Using the additional time granted to them by the king, Daniel and his friends pleaded to God for mercy in this situation. That night the king’s dream was revealed to Daniel and he praised God for this revelation. “I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king (Daniel 2:23) Daniel returned to the king the next day to give Nebuchadnezzar what he wanted.
Daniel 2:25-28 Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, “I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.”
The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?”
Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come.
Then Daniel proceeded to tell the king his dream and interpret it. The dream and its interpretation are fascinating, but in this series on A Questionable Life, let’s focus on the way Daniel handled the situation. Mike Cheek asked us five questions on Sunday to get us thinking about how we navigate difficult situations like the one Daniel found himself in:
What do you do when you can’t sleep? Rather than using that time to worry, fret, stare off into space, or plan tomorrow’s dinner, a better use of that time would be to pray. What if God may have nudged you awake because he had something to reveal to you? Take full advantage of this time to speak with the Lord, read the bible, and worship. This is your God time!
What do you do when people “kill” you? When people hurt you, oppress you, make you feel small, or demand the impossible of you, (like insisting you tell them what they dreamed!) remember Daniel. He responded to the king with “wisdom and tact,” and he turned to God in prayer.
What do you do when people praise you? Daniel could have easily claimed the power to interpret dreams as his own, but instead he said that no man can do that, only God can. If you’re praised, skip the false humility (“Oh that? That was nothing.”). Say “thank you,” but assign the credit to God who gave you strength and ability.
What do you do when you’re in a crisis? As Christians, people are looking to see how we respond in situations. Use this difficult situation to show others how Jesus would respond to crisis. And don’t save prayer as a last resort, but turn to God right away. Mike reminded us of the saying, “Crisis doesn’t make the man; it reveals the man.”
What makes you do what you do? Who runs your life? Are your actions dictated by a need for praise? By addictions? By habits? Daniel acted and reacted according to God. Let’s pray for the wisdom and discernment to do the same.
Don’t forget, you don’t have to be like those around you! Stand strong in your faith and live a life that makes people ask, “Why are you so different?” By living a questionable life, we are building bridges to Christ.