An Unlikely Vessel

God doesn't speak through unbelievers. Right?

Daniel 2 (4)

Daniel is clear that God spoke to Nebuchadnezzar and revealed a secret which he, Daniel, would interpret for the king. We can understand Daniel being involved with divine revelation. But Nebuchadnezzar, the enemy of God and destroyer of His temple? Well, God had spoken to the Pharaoh in Egypt. It’s not unlike Him to speak even through unwilling or unwitting vessels.

Review Genesis 41.1-25.

Read Daniel 2.24-30.

Think it through
1.  We note that Daniel had no animus against the king’s advisors; instead, he sought to spare their lives (v. 24). Why might it have been a good idea for them to be around when Daniel interpreted the king’s dream? But did this also hold potential trouble for Daniel and his friends (cf. Dan. 3.8-12; 6.1-4)? Why? The first part of Daniel’s reply to the king’s question (vv. 26, 27) seems designed to humiliate the Chaldeans. But he was only commenting on what everyone knew was true. Why do you suppose Daniel felt it was necessary to mention this?

2.  The rest of Daniel’s answer (vv. 28-30) was very wisely and carefully crafted. First (v. 27), what did Daniel say about God, and how would that have positioned God vis à vis the wise men of Nebuchadnezzar’s council? Next (vv. 28, 29), how did Daniel position Nebuchadnezzar in relation to God? Let’s think about this: Do you think it’s possible to see something of God, or God’s grace, in every person? Can you give some examples? Do you think it can be useful to point this out to them? Finally, look at verse 30, especially the last part. How do you suppose this might have affected Nebuchadnezzar’s view of God? Does God love even His enemies? Does He do good even for those who don’t know or who deny Him? Is it a good idea for us to point this out?

“He who knows the secrets of all and searches the thoughts of the hearts revealed to him by means of the image the things that were to be. But he hid from the king the vision, in order that the counsels of God might not be interpreted by the wise men of Babylon but that by the blessed Daniel, as a prophet of God, things kept secret from all might be made manifest.” Hippolytus (fl. 222-245 AD)

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5.44, 45

“Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” Acts 14.17

Lord, I should look more carefully to see the ways you bless and love even those who do not know you, so that I…

Pray Psalm 83.16-18.

Psalm 83.16-18 (St. Chrysostom: We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought)
Fill with dishonor every face that they may seek Your Name, O Lord.
Bring them to shame, dismay, and disgrace, and let them perish under Your Word,
That they may learn Your infinite worth, O God Most High of all the earth!

T. M Moore

For a better understanding of the book of Daniel, and all the books of the Bible, order a copy of the workbook, God’s Covenant, from our online store. The studies in this workbook will show you how the parts of the Bible connect with one another to tell the story of God’s redemption and glory (click here).

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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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