Daniel 2 & Psalm 106

Daniel 2

    In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.” Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.” They answered a second time and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show its interpretation.” The king answered and said, “I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see that the word from me is firm—if you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation.” The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king's demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

    Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them. Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king's guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. He declared to Arioch, the king's captain, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel. And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king.

    Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said:

    “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
        to whom belong wisdom and might.
    He changes times and seasons;
        he removes kings and sets up kings;
    he gives wisdom to the wise
        and knowledge to those who have understanding;
    he reveals deep and hidden things;
        he knows what is in the darkness,
        and the light dwells with him.
    To you, O God of my fathers,
        I give thanks and praise,
    for you have given me wisdom and might,
        and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
        for you have made known to us the king's matter.”
    
    
        Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the interpretation.”

    Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and said thus to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who will make known to the king the interpretation.” The king declared to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be. But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.

    “You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

    “This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold. Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”

    Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him. The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king's court.

(Daniel 2 ESV)


Psalm 106

    Praise the LORD!
    Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
        for his steadfast love endures forever!
    Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD,
        or declare all his praise?
    Blessed are they who observe justice,
        who do righteousness at all times!
    
    
    Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people;
        help me when you save them,
    that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones,
        that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,
        that I may glory with your inheritance.
    
    
    Both we and our fathers have sinned;
        we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.
    Our fathers, when they were in Egypt,
        did not consider your wondrous works;
    they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,
        but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
    Yet he saved them for his name's sake,
        that he might make known his mighty power.
    He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry,
        and he led them through the deep as through a desert.
    So he saved them from the hand of the foe
        and redeemed them from the power of the enemy.
    And the waters covered their adversaries;
        not one of them was left.
    Then they believed his words;
        they sang his praise.
    
    
    But they soon forgot his works;
        they did not wait for his counsel.
    But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,
        and put God to the test in the desert;
    he gave them what they asked,
        but sent a wasting disease among them.
    
    
    When men in the camp were jealous of Moses
        and Aaron, the holy one of the LORD,
    the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,
        and covered the company of Abiram.
    Fire also broke out in their company;
        the flame burned up the wicked.
    
    
    They made a calf in Horeb
        and worshiped a metal image.
    They exchanged the glory of God
        for the image of an ox that eats grass.
    They forgot God, their Savior,
        who had done great things in Egypt,
    wondrous works in the land of Ham,
        and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
    Therefore he said he would destroy them—
        had not Moses, his chosen one,
    stood in the breach before him,
        to turn away his wrath from destroying them.
    
    
    Then they despised the pleasant land,
        having no faith in his promise.
    They murmured in their tents,
        and did not obey the voice of the LORD.
    Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them
        that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
    and would make their offspring fall among the nations,
        scattering them among the lands.
    
    
    Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor,
        and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
    they provoked the LORD to anger with their deeds,
        and a plague broke out among them.
    Then Phinehas stood up and intervened,
        and the plague was stayed.
    And that was counted to him as righteousness
        from generation to generation forever.
    
    
    They angered him at the waters of Meribah,
        and it went ill with Moses on their account,
    for they made his spirit bitter,
        and he spoke rashly with his lips.
    
    
    They did not destroy the peoples,
        as the LORD commanded them,
    but they mixed with the nations
        and learned to do as they did.
    They served their idols,
        which became a snare to them.
    They sacrificed their sons
        and their daughters to the demons;
    they poured out innocent blood,
        the blood of their sons and daughters,
    whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
        and the land was polluted with blood.
    Thus they became unclean by their acts,
        and played the whore in their deeds.
    
    
    Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people,
        and he abhorred his heritage;
    he gave them into the hand of the nations,
        so that those who hated them ruled over them.
    Their enemies oppressed them,
        and they were brought into subjection under their power.
    Many times he delivered them,
        but they were rebellious in their purposes
        and were brought low through their iniquity.
    
    
    Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress,
        when he heard their cry.
    For their sake he remembered his covenant,
        and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
    He caused them to be pitied
        by all those who held them captive.
    
    
    Save us, O LORD our God,
        and gather us from among the nations,
    that we may give thanks to your holy name
        and glory in your praise.
    
    
    Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
        from everlasting to everlasting!
    And let all the people say, “Amen!”
        Praise the LORD!

(Psalm 106 ESV)

Faithful Despite Our Unfaithfulness

 

Psalm 106 recounts historical events in Israel’s past that illustrate the faithfulness and steadfast love of God despite the unfaithfulness of His own people. This Psalm provides a startling portrait of how quickly men forget the power, provision and protection that God demonstrates so persistently for His people.  

In observing the events described within the Psalm, we see the way in which the Israelites didn't consider the wondrous works of God while in Egypt and rebelled in disbelief when coming to the shore of the Red Sea. After parting the sea and delivering them from the armies of Egypt, they soon forgot God's wondrous works again and rebelled in various ways throughout their time in the wilderness. Upon coming to the Promised Land, they disobeyed God’s commands and “mixed” themselves with the pagan people around them which led to their idolatry and their inevitable captivity once again at the hands of another nation like Egypt. 

Time after time, God delivered His people and time after time God’s people sought their own destruction. Such is the seriousness of man’s depravity and sin. May we resist the temptation to speak harshly of Israel’s foolish ways lest we forget that we also act so foolishly. God has given us our every need, and yet we are consistently discontent. God has given us His Word to live by, and yet we daily seek to live how we please. And God has given us His Son, and yet we seek salvation in ourselves and our own goodness rather than by grace through faith in Him. 

Nevertheless, God looks upon our depravity and distress and remembers His own covenant promise to preserve a people for Himself. Blessed be the Lord, the God of His people, who remains faithful in His love despite our unfaithfulness in loving Him back.