Thursday, April 19, 2012

promoted by God: reversal of fortune

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 2:48

It is amazing what God will use to accomplish His work. God used a night of troubled sleep for Nebuchadnezzar to bring Daniel into prominence in the empire of Babylon. It all started with a bad's night sleep and a troubling, half-remembered dream. Nebuchadnezzar summoned his court and demanded that someone tell him the troubling dream and what it all meant. His advisors begged him for any details of the dream, but whether he could tell them anything or not, Nebuchadnezzar refused any details. They had to reveal to him both the dream and its meaning. The fact that he could not remember it was insignificant. If they advisors cannot do this, the cranky king will kill every last one of them!

Daniel is confident that God will reveal this to him. He boldly asks the king for a time to reveal the dream, then asks his friends to pray to God for him. And in that night, God answers their prayer. The next day Daniel is able to explain to the king of Babylon what troubled him so greatly.

And the broad themes of prophecy in the book of Daniel are unfolded. In the first of four visions in the book, God lays out a map of future world history (see the chart from the ESV Study Bible below for a clear way of seeing how these visions interconnect).

This convinces Nebuchadnezzar that God has indeed given unusual insight and answers to Daniel. It is so important to the king that he appoints Daniel to the position of prime minister over the empire. Almost exactly like Joseph in Egypt, Daniel is thrust into the top echelon of leadership overnight. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are made regional governors. Suddenly the captive Jews are placed in positions of high leadership within the empire. God not only saved them, but also exalted them.

God loves to show Himself through stunning reversals of fortune. In this case in one day Daniel and his friends went from being under threat of execution by the empire to leaders at its very highest levels. They were promoted by God for His purposes. And the rest of the book of Daniel will continue to show God's power with His people as they lived by His demands among the pagans.

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