King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream.
It woke him up in the middle of the night for several nights in a row so that he could hardly sleep at all. “This dream must mean something,” he thought.
And so he did what kings did back in those long ago days. He sent for his magicians, sorcerers and wisemen.
King Nebuchadnezzar sat high on his throne, and the magicians, sorcerers and wisemen stood before him. They were probably already beginning to sweat.
King Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “I keep having this dream. Tell me what it means.”
“O Mighty King, may you live forever!,” said the magicians, sorcerers and wisemen. “Tell us your dream, and we will tell you what it means.”
But King Nebuchadnezzar was a clever king.
He said to the magicians, sorcerers and wisemen, “Tell me my dream first, and THEN tell me what it means.”
Now the magicians, sorcerers and wisemen were really sweating. “How can we do that?” they said. “Tell us your dream, and then surely we can tell you what it means.”
The King said, “If I tell you my dream, how will I know you are not just making it up when you tell me what it means? Tell me my dream and what it means and I will give you all a great reward. But if you cannot, I will have you torn to pieces.”
I told you you didn’t want to disappoint a mighty king - especially one who hasn’t been sleeping well.
The magicians, sorcerers and wisemen begged the king, “But, Your Majesty, please, tell us your dream first. No one can know another man’s dreams except God alone.” At least they were right about that!
“You cannot do it?” said King Nebuchadnezzar, “Very well then.” And he ordered that all the magicians, sorcerers and wisemen in his kingdom be torn to pieces.
Wouldn’t you know it, Daniel and his friends had been appointed to the king’s court just in time to be torn to pieces. When Arioch, the chief of the guards, came for them, Daniel asked him, “Why is the king being so harsh?” Arioch explained to Daniel what had happened.
Daniel said to him, “Don't tear anyone to pieces just yet. Give me a little time, and I will tell the king his dream and what it means.”
Daniel got together with his friends and they prayed, “Dear God in heaven, please help us. Tell us the king’s dream and what it means.”
And God did just that.
That night Daniel had a vision, and in it God told him the king’s dream and what it meant.
Daniel prayed to God,
“Praise God in heaven, He is wise and wonderful!
He has power over all things.
He sets the time of the seasons. He sends the rain in spring, the hot sun of summer, the cool air of fall, and the snow in winter.
He puts kings on their thrones. Their power comes from him, and he can take it away whenever he wants.
He knows all things. It is God who makes us wise.
Even the darkest secrets aren’t hidden from Him because He is light.
I praise you, the God of my family. You have made me strong and wise, and you have answered my prayer.”
The next day Daniel appeared before the mighty King Nebuchadnezzar. He said to the king, “I can’t tell you your dream or what it means....”
“WHAT!” screamed the king, “then what are you doing here?!”
“No magician, sorcerer or wiseman can tell you your dream or what it means,” Daniel continued, “ But there IS a God in heaven who can. And he has told me what to tell you.
“In your dream you saw a great statue. Its head was made of gold, its chest was made of silver, its waist of bronze, its legs of iron, and its feet were made of iron and clay mixed together. Then you saw a stone cut from a mountain by a hand that no one could see. The stone smashed the statue, and from the stone grew a great mountain.”
“That’s it!” cried the king.
“Now I will tell you what it means,” said Daniel. “The statue with its head of gold, chest of silver, waist of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay - these are all the kingdoms of the people on earth. Your kingdom is the head of gold. It is a great and glorious kingdom. But it won’t last forever. Another kingdom will come. It won’t be as great as yours. That is the statue’s chest of silver. After that will come the kingdom of bronze, after that, the kingdom of iron, and finally, the kingdom of iron and clay.
“But one day, God is going to put an end to all the kingdoms on earth. God will put his Holy Mountain in their place, and from there God will rule, and his kingdom will have no end.”
King Nebuchadnezzar fell to the ground.
He knew that this was a message from God. He said to Daniel, “Now I know that your God is the one, true God, the one who knows all mysteries, and the King who rules over all the kings of the earth.”
King Nebuchadnezzar rewarded Daniel with many wonderful gifts, and he made Daniel the head of all the royal advisers. Daniel asked that his friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah be rewarded also, and so King Nebuchadnezzar put them in charge of all the affairs of Babylon.
Even though they were surrounded by people who didn’t follow God, Daniel and his friends were faithful.
And God was with them.
It was a good thing, because of what was going to happen next!