Tipping Point

Nebuchadnezzar had had it. Too bad for the wise guys.

Daniel 2 (2)

We suspect that Nebuchadnezzar had become impatient with his “wise men” and suspected them of conspiring to deceive or flatter him. The dream God sent to him caused him such anxiety, that it brought matters to a tipping point. Nebuchadnezzar put all his cards on the table, and he let his “wise men” know that he was finished with them and their conniving ways. King Ahab of Israel maintained a similar gaggle of “wise men.” But there was among them one who was willing to tell the truth. Daniel must have known the story of Micaiah, as surely as he knew how God used Joseph to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams.

Read 1 Kings 22.6-18.

Read Daniel 2.7-13.
7They answered again and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation.” 8The king answered and said, “I know for certain that you would gain time, because you see that my decision is firm: 9if you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the time has changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.” 10The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, “There is not a man on earth who can tell the king’s matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean. 11It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” 12For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 13So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them.

Think it Through
1.  What does it say about Nebuchadnezzar’s level of anxiety, that he was willing to destroy all his “wise men” if they failed to give him both the dream and its interpretation? The “wise men” (Chaldeans) insisted that the king was going beyond Babylonian tradition in making such a demand (v. 10). They maintained that only “the gods” could do what the king demanded, and, well, they weren’t available. Is there a measure of truth in their reply to Nebuchadnezzar in verse 11? Explain.

2.  Nebuchadnezzar doesn’t care about tradition, precedent, or standard operating procedures. He’s done with these fools, and his dream has given him just what he needs to clean house and start over again. Nebuchadnezzar is the quintessential autonomous king, making up the rules to suit himself. Do we see any of this tendency in our own civil government? Explain. Furious at being rebuffed, Nebuchadnezzar begins the blood-letting. And Daniel and his friends are on the list as well. But what do we know about Daniel that neither Nebuchadnezzar nor his “wise men” do (Dan. 1.17; 2.11)? Jesus is Immanuel, God-with-Us. What can you expect of Him today?

“While the demand in these words was high-handed and insane, the accusation was very true: You want to learn what the dream was, he is saying, so as to hatch in common some false interpretation and trick me as usual, using the lapse in time as an advantage and waiting for the moment of fulfillment.” Theodoret of Cyr (393-466 AD)

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,”which is translated, “God with us.”  Matthew 1.22, 23

You are with me today, Lord, as You are every day. Let me not fear what men might say or do, but looking to You…

Do not keep silent, O God!
Do not hold Your peace,
And do not be still, O God!
For behold, Your enemies make a tumult;
And those who hate You have lifted up their head.
They have taken crafty counsel against Your people,
And consulted together against Your sheltered ones.
They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation,
That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”

Psalm 83.1-4

Psalm 83.1-8 (St. Chrysostom:We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought)
O God, do not be quiet now; do not be silent, nor be still!
See how Your foes erupt in a row and those who hate You chafe at Your will.
Shrewdly they plan, conspiring as one, against Your daughters and Your sons.

“Come, let us wipe them out,” they say. “Let Israel’s name no more be heard!”
Bold they conspire to do us away, and covenant against You, O Lord.
Peoples and nations cast in their lot for this ambitious, wicked plot.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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