In Daniel chapter 2, the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar summons the wise men of Babylon and asks them to tell him the dream he had and then interpret it. The magicians point out that there has never been a king, no matter how great and mighty, who has asked such a thing. They say in essence, “This is an unreasonable request. We can’t do it. Nobody can.” The king then orders the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. Killing those who displease him is standard operating procedure for Nebuchadnezzar.
The decree was issued that the wise men were to be executed, and they searched for Daniel and his friends, to execute them.
Then Daniel responded with tact and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon.
Notice how Daniel speaks to Arioch. He speaks with tact and discretion. Tact and discretion are good things to learn and use.
He asked Arioch, the king’s officer, “Why is the decree from the king so harsh?” Then Arioch explained the situation to Daniel. So Daniel went and asked the king to give him some time, so that he could give the king the interpretation.
Daniel believes in miracles. Remember, Daniel has seen the destruction of his country and has seen his family torn apart. He has been taken to a foreign country, given a foreign name, and is forced to wear foreign clothes. He has a lot of reason to turn his back on God. Instead, he puts his life on the line for a second time. The first time he put his life on the line because he didn’t want to risk doing something that might be offensive to God. Now, he puts his life on the line by going to see the king to ask for more time. Courage is one of the characteristics of those who prosper and live well in Babylon. Not only have they learned, “If in doubt, don’t,” but when their lives are on the line, they have courage.
Then Daniel went to his house and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah about the matter, urging them to ask the God of the heavens for mercy concerning this mystery, so Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of Babylon’s wise men.
As far as Daniel and his friends know, everyone else is being killed. The executions are still a work in progress at this point. Daniel and his friends don’t want to die. They plead with God.
The mystery was then revealed to Daniel in a vision at night, and Daniel praised the God of the heavens and declared:
May the name of God
be praised forever and ever,
for wisdom and power belong to him.
He changes the times and seasons;
he removes kings and establishes kings.
Daniel has seen his own king deposed, and while the pagan Nebuchadnezzar rules Babylon, Daniel says, “I know God’s in charge.” Daniel doesn’t wonder why God has let this one slip by. He doesn’t ask, “Where’s God?” He recognizes that God is at work even when things aren’t going the way he wants them to go:
“He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those
who have understanding.
He reveals the deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and light dwells with him.
I offer thanks and praise to you,
God of my fathers,
because you have given me
wisdom and power.
And now you have let me know
what we asked of you,
for you have let us know
the king’s mystery.”
Daniel requests to be brought before the king. Nebuchadnezzar asks, “Are you able to tell me the dream I had and its interpretation?”
Daniel replies, “You better believe it. You’re not dealing with an ordinary wise man. You are dealing with the wisest of the wise and I know the answer.”
No, this is not what Daniel says. Daniel explicitly gives God all the glory: