Daniel 1-4 Dreams and Deliverance

Psalm 103:1-5 Six Reasons to Bless God
Ps 103:1 “Bless Yahweh, my soul! All that is within me, bless His holy name! 2 Bless Yahweh, my soul, and don’t forget all His benefits; 3 who forgives all your sins; who heals all your diseases; 4 who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with hesed/loyal love and tender mercies; 5 who satisfies your desire with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s...“

Observations: 103:1-5 This psalm is too good to rush through, and needs to be sipped and savored. So we'll visit the rest of it in the future. Focus on the benefits that God offers, for which we should bless/praise Him:
  • forgives our sins
  • heals our diseases/dysfunctionalities
  • redeems from destruction
  • crowns with hesed and mercy
  • satisfies desires with good things
  • renews our soul
Application: Make sure you know how to experience each of God's benefits, and then bless or praise Him for each one, so others can experience them.

Prayer: Holy God, I praise Your name for bestowing on me benefits beyond Amen.

Proverbs 23:24-35 Wine, Women, and Woeful Dirge
Pr 23:24 (4 Don’t weary yourself to be rich. In your wisdom, show restraint. 5 Why do you set your eyes on that which is not? For it certainly sprouts wings like an eagle and flies in the sky.) 24 “The father of the righteous has great joy. Whoever fathers a wise child delights in him. 25 Let your father and your mother be glad! Let her who bore you rejoice! 26 My son, give me your heart; and let your eyes keep in my ways. 27 For a prostitute is a deep pit; and a wayward wife is a narrow well. 28 Yes, she lies in wait like a robber, and increases the unfaithful among men.
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? 30 Those who stay long at the wine; those who go to seek out mixed wine. 31 Don’t look at the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly. 32 In the end, it bites like a snake, and poisons like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind will imagine confusing things. 34 Yes, you will be as he who lies down in the midst of the sea, or as he who lies on top of the rigging: 35 "They hit me, and I was not hurt! They beat me, and I don’t feel it! When will I wake up? I can do it again. I can find another."

Observations: 23:24-28 This section warns against two of the top three dangers to a man's life and spirituality (earlier, in Pr 23:4, the third “W”, wealth was mentioned). Parents who raise wise children have not only warned them on the dangers ahead, but sold them on avoiding them. The temporary gratification and diminishing returns of the lusts of the flesh pale in comparison to the enduring joy of pleasing God. If we clearly saw the consequences of our actions, we would always choose wisely. Satan has to dress up the hag of sin in deception to interest us in temptation. The wise keep their heart and eyes in the right direction.
23:29-35 Escapism can take many forms, from lusts of the flesh and stomach, to sports, hobbies, TV, gaming, or even work. The time tested favorite is altered states of reality, brought on by alcohol and other brain numbing chemicals. The indulgent is trying to escape the painful reality of an unfulfilled, and ultimately meaningless life. So the student of Proverbs is warned against overindulgence in wine and cocktails. Like most sin, it looks appealing and goes down smoothly, until it bites and poisons. The consequences of impaired senses judgment are like lying down in the sea, or on the top of the rigging of a ship. Injury and even death result. When the escapist comes back to their senses, things are always worse than when they started, because they've squandered the time to have done something to fix the situation, and added more things to escape. It's a vicious cycle, don't get on it.

Application: Finding pleasure in the ways of wisdom avoids the pain of the ways of folly.

Prayer: Lord, help me find my joy and pleasure and satisfaction in the things that are pleasing to You and beneficial to me; please give me a distaste for folly. Amen.


Daniel 1-4 These chapters of Daniel establish that God's wisdom and power is greater than that of the Babylonians, even though they have taken Israel into captivity. God displays His wisdom in giving Daniel revelation to interpret dreams, and demonstrates His power in rescuing His servants. God humbles the power and majesty of the king of the world to show that the Most High God in Heaven, rules in the affairs of men. Daniel chapter 2 introduces a vision that will be elaborated upon in subsequent chapters (see expanded chart under "Digging Deeper").




Daniel 1 A Secret of Success
1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, and besieged it. 2 The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God; and he carried them into the land of Shinar to the house of his god: and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. 3 The king spoke to Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring in certain of the children of Israel, even of the seed royal and of the nobles; 4 youths in whom was no blemish, but well-favored (good looking), and skilful in all wisdom, and endowed with knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability to stand in the king’s palace; and that he should teach them the learning and the language of the Chaldeans. 5 The king appointed for them a daily portion of the king’s dainties, and of the wine which he drank, and that they should be nourished three years; that at its end they should stand before the king. 6 Now among these were, of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 The prince of the eunuchs gave names to them: to Daniel he gave the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s dainties, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God made Daniel to find kindness and compassion in the sight of the prince of the eunuchs. 10 The prince of the eunuchs said to Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse looking than the youths who are of your own age? so would you endanger my head with the king. 11 Then Daniel said to the steward whom the prince of the eunuchs had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 12 Test your servants, I beg you, ten days; and let them give us vegetables to eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let our faces be looked on before you, and the face of the youths who eat of the king’s dainties; and as you see, deal with your servants. 14 So he listened to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. 15 At the end of ten days their faces appeared fairer, and they were fatter in flesh, than all the youths who ate of the king’s dainties. 16 So the steward took away their dainties, and the wine that they should drink, and gave them pulse/vegtables.
17 Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 At the end of the days which the king had appointed for bringing them in, the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding, concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters who were in all his realm. 21 Daniel continued even to the first year of king Cyrus.

Observations: 1:1-16 Daniel was among the early captives Nebuchadnezzar carried off from Jerusalem to Babylon. Kings/emperors would train the best of the conquered peoples to serve in the empire, both to meet the needs of administration, and decrease the likelihood of rebellion by giving the best of their opponents a stake in the government. In the Babylonian ziggurat (called "The Foundation of Heaven and Earth") was a holy place where the god was served a ceremonial meal, which was then given to the king and his favored servants. The idea was that eating the god's food was supernaturally strengthening, sharing in the god's power (the calories were pretty tasty too). The NT talks about eating food sacrificed to idols as a participation in their worship (1 Corinthians 10:18-22). Daniel purposed that he wouldn't defile himself (the secret to his success – and you thought it was Babylonian sprouts), and humbly requested an alternative, vegetables. God gave Daniel favor in the sight of the chief eunuch, so he agreed to the test. Daniel came out looking even better.
1:17-21 In response to their loyalty to Him, God gave Daniel and friends wisdom and knowledge so that they were ten times better than the king's other wise men. Daniel served until king Cyrus issued a decree to have the Jews return to Jerusalem.

Application: If we purpose to not defile ourselves, we will be tested, but achieve success.

Prayer: God, I purpose to please You in all my ways, and to endure whatever consequences occur; thanks that You can give me favor and success in any circumstance. Amen.

Daniel 2 Four Kingdoms Fall, One Endures
2:1 In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams; and his spirit was troubled, and his sleep went from him. 2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the enchanters, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. 3 The king said to them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream. 4 Then spoke the Chaldeans to the king in the Syrian language, O king, live forever: tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation. 5 The king answered the Chaldeans, My decree is: if you don’t make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. 6 But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honor: therefore show me the dream and its interpretation. 7 They answered the second time and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation. 8 The king answered, I know of a certainty that you would gain time, because you see My decree is decided. 9 But if you don’t make known to me the dream, there is but one law for you; for you have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, until the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation. 10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man on the earth who can show the king’s matter, because no king, lord, or ruler, has asked such a thing of any magician, or enchanter, or Chaldean. 11 It is a rare thing that the king requires, and there is no other who can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. 12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree went forth, and the wise men were to be slain; and they sought Daniel and his companions to be slain.
14 Then Daniel returned answer with counsel and prudence to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, who was gone forth to kill the wise men of Babylon; 15 he asked Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so urgent from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. 16 Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would appoint him a time, and he would show the king the interpretation. 17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 18 that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his companions should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 Then was the secret revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever; for wisdom and might are his. 21 He changes the times and the seasons; he removes kings, and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those who have understanding; 22 he reveals the deep and secret things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. 23 I thank you, and praise you, you God of my fathers, who have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we desired of you; for you have made known to us the king’s matter.
24 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: Don’t destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show to the king the interpretation. 25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus to him, I have found a man of the children of the captivity of Judah, who will make known to the king the interpretation. 26 The king answered Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation? 27 Daniel answered before the king, and said, The secret which the king has demanded can neither wise men, enchanters, magicians, nor soothsayers, show to the king; 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has made known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head on your bed, are these: 29 as for you, O king, your thoughts came into your mind on your bed, what should happen hereafter; and he who reveals secrets has made known to you what shall happen. 30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but to the intent that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.
31 You, O king, saw, and behold, a great image. This image, which was mighty, and whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and its aspect was awesome. 32 As for this image, its head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass, 33 its legs of iron, its feet part of iron, and part of clay. 34 You saw until a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that no place was found for them: and the stone that struck the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. 36 This is the dream; and we will tell its interpretation before the king. 37 You, O king, are king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the strength, and the glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, the animals of the field and the birds of the sky has he given into your hand, and has made you to rule over them all: you are the head of gold. 39 After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you; and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. 40 The fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron, because iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things; and as iron that crushes all these, shall it break in pieces and crush. 41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, because you saw the iron mixed with miry clay. 42 As the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43 Whereas you saw the iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they shall not cling to one another, even as iron does not mingle with clay. 44 In the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 45 Because you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall happen hereafter: and the dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.
46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, and worshiped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an offering and sweet odors to him. 47 The king answered to Daniel, and said, Of a truth your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you have been able to reveal this secret. 48 Then the king made Daniel great, and gave him many great gifts, and made him to rule over the whole province of Babylon, and to be chief governor over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Daniel requested of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel was in the gate of the king.

Observations: 2:1-13 The book starts and ends in Hebrew; Aramaic the common language of Babylon begins in 2:4 and reverts back to Hebrew in 8:1. Nebuchadnezzar had a troubling dream, which the wise men insisted only the gods could know, and they don't dwell with men (silly wise men). So Nebuchadnezzar, fed up with the lies they usually fed him, ordered all the wise men to be killed. When Daniel's executioner showed up, Daniel asked what was going on, and requested time in order seek God with his friends for an answer to the king's problem. God responded to their prayer by giving Daniel the revelation in a dream. Daniel's praise in 2:20-23 is the theme of the book: God is sovereign over all kings and nations, and reveals His will to His servants so they can exalt God in the eyes of all.
2:14-Daniel interprets the dream about the latter days and future kingdoms, so God is seen as the Sovereign King of Kings. This dream and its interpretation is foundational for understand the visions in the rest of the book (some would say the rest of the Bible as well, particularly Revelation). See the chart above for how the interpretation ripples through future chapters. As Daniel elaborates, the image represents future kingdoms on earth, culminating with the establishment of God's eternal kingdom by the Rock that will destroy all other kingdoms. See expanded chart below under "Digging Deeper" for more detail.
Those who insist that this was a made up story after the fact, are no wiser than Nebuchadnezzar's charlatans, and not to be trusted (if they think that God makes up lies to encourage His people, they probably believe lying is a perfectly acceptable way of life). They could learn something from Daniel's example of seeking insight from the Creator who communicates, or just observe what's written (which any wise man/woman should do) and notice that the text (especially chapter 9) is still predictive about the death of the Messiah and our future. That God has and communicates a plan about the future is an integral part of trusting Him in the present. Daniel winds up being honored above all others because of his faithfulness in seeking and declaring God's revelation. He remembers his praying friends who are honored with him.

Application: God gives His servants revelation about His plan for the future of kingdoms on earth so we will trust Him rather than them, for our future security.

Prayer: Mighty God, You are the one who determines the course of nations and kings; to You belong wisdom, knowledge, understanding and the secrets of the universe; You are the one who reveals what is needed to His servants who seek Him; and You promote them. Thanks that whatever happens in the world, I know that I can trust You for all that concerns me. Amen.

Daniel 3 Foursome in the Fearsome Furnace
3:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits, and its breadth six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the satraps, the deputies, and the governors, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 3...all the rulers were gathered...and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then the herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, peoples, nations, and languages, 5 that whenever you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, you fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up; 6 and whoever doesn’t fall down and worship shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 7 Therefore at that time, when all the peoples heard the sound...fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and brought accusation against the Jews. 9 They answered Nebuchadnezzar the king, O king, live for ever. 10 You, O king, have made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image; 11 and whoever doesn’t fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not respected you. They don’t serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up. 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar asked them, Is it on purpose, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you don’t serve my god, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready whenever you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music to fall down and worship the image which I have made, well: but if you don’t worship, you shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that god that shall deliver you out of my hands? 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.
19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his appearance was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spoke, and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 He commanded certain mighty men who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their pants, their tunics, and their mantles, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 These three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste: he spoke and said to his counselors, Didn’t we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered the king, True, O king. 25 He answered, Look, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are unharmed; and the aspect of the fourth is like a son of the gods. 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace: he spoke and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God, come forth, and come here. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came forth out of the midst of the fire. 27 The satraps, the deputies, and the governors, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, that the fire had no power on their bodies, nor was the hair of their head singed, neither were their garments changed, nor had the smell of fire passed on them.
28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel, and delivered his servants who trusted in him, and have changed/frustrated the king’s word, and have yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree, that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything evil against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill; because there is no other god who is able to deliver after this sort. 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

Observations: 3:1-17 Perhaps Nebuchadnezzar was impressed with the vision indicating he was the golden head of the statue, so he makes a golden image (this doesn't sound good), and orders everyone to worship it when the music starts (just like some houses of “worship”).
Daniel's friends: Rack, Shack, and Benny refuse to bow down (Daniel was off consulting on a kid's video.) After establishing that there is no god who could possibly be able to deliver out of His hand (just like it was established in chapter 2 that there was no god who communicates with His servants), Rack, Shack, and Benny beg to differ. Their God, whom they serve, is not only able to deliver, but will deliver. But even if he doesn't and lets them be slain, they, like Job (Job 13:15) will trust Him, and remain loyal to Him; they would rather die than serve a false god.
3:18 Nebuchadnezzar burns with fury, makes the furnace hotter than his temper, and has his mighty guards bind the three and toss them into the midst of the furnace. In the process the guards become toasted marshmallows. The threesome get their bonds burned away, and have a stroll through the coals and a chat with someone who looks like a son of the gods. The king calls out the servants of the Most High God, who come out smelling like roses. The king blesses their God in whom they trusted and issues a decree that no one should speak evil of Him, under pain of pulverization.

Application: Trusting God to and beyond the point of death, is not only wise, but results in blessing.

Prayer: Holy God, there is no one like You, who can deliver from any difficulty; I trust You to take care of me as I loyally obey You; may You be glorified by my life or death. Amen.

Daniel 4 From Glory to Grass to Glory
4:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, to all the peoples, nations, and languages, who dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. 2 It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked toward me. 3 How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace. 5 I saw a dream which made me afraid; and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 6 Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. 7 Then came in the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers; and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known to me its interpretation. 8 But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and I told the dream before him, saying, 9 Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no secret troubles you, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation. 10 Thus were the visions of my head on my bed: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth; and its height was great. 11 The tree grew, and was strong, and its height reached to the sky, and its sight to the end of all the earth. 12 The leaves of it were beautiful, and its fruit much, and in it was food for all: the animals of the field had shadow under it, and the birds of the sky lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it. 13 I saw in the visions of my head on my bed, and behold, a watcher/sentinel, a holy one, came down from the sky. 14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Cut down the tree, and cut off its branches, shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit: let the animals get away from under it, and the fowls from its branches. 15 Nevertheless leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of the sky: and let his portion be with the animals in the grass of the earth: 16 let his heart be changed from man’s, and let an animal’s heart be given to him; and let seven times pass over him. 17 The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones; to the intent that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will, and sets up over it the lowest of men. 18 This dream I, king Nebuchadnezzar, have seen; and you, Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.
19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was stricken mute for a while, and his thoughts troubled him. The king answered, Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream, or the interpretation, trouble you. Belteshazzar answered, my lord, may the dream be to those who hate you, and its interpretation to your adversaries. 20 The tree that you saw, which grew...22 it is you, O king, that are grown and become strong; for your greatness is grown, and reaches to the sky, and your dominion to the end of the earth. 23 Whereas the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from the sky, and saying, Cut down the tree, and destroy it...24 this is the interpretation, O king, and it is the decree of the Most High, which has come on my lord the king: 25 that you shall be driven from men, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field, and you shall be made to eat grass as oxen, and shall be wet with the dew of the sky, and seven times shall pass over you; until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will. 26 Whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree; your kingdom shall be sure to you, after that you shall have known that the heavens do rule. 27 Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and break away from your sins by righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.
28 All this came on the king Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking in the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king spoke and said, Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for the royal dwelling place, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty? 31 While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from the sky, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you: 32 and you shall be driven from men; and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field; you shall be made to eat grass as oxen; and seven times shall pass over you; until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will. 33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled on Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and ate grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of the sky, until his hair was grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.
34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him who lives forever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he does according to his will in the host of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or ask him, What are you doing? 36 At the same time my understanding returned to me; and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and brightness returned to me; and my counselors and my lords sought to me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven; for all his works are faithful, and his ways justice; and those who walk in pride he is able to abase.

Observations: 4:1-27 Nebuchadnezzar whom God had exalted to be head over all nations (Jer 28:14), has another troubling dream, this time about a tree being cut down by a heavenly “observer.” He tells everyone about it after it occurs. Daniel interprets it as God humbling him for his pride for seven periods of time (probably years as in 7:25, but it could be months if his hair and nails grew fast). He would lose his status and mind, until he recognized that it was the Most High God who rules in the affairs of men, and gives rulership of nations to whomever suits His purposes. Daniel urges him to break away from his sins by deeds of righteousness, but unfortunately Nebuchadnezzar's heart didn't change.
4:28-37 A year later, the king was taking a stroll through his splendid gardens, admiring his achievements as the work of his hands, done for his own glory. God overhears, and sends Nebuchadnezzar off to be a dumb ox for seven years. After he lifts his eyes to heaven, God gives him back his understanding and the first thing he does is bless God. He then elaborates on the glories of God, and God restores his kingdom and glory to him. Nebuchadnezzar issues a proclamation in praise of the God who is greater than all upon earth.

Application: Unless you like eating grass, don't be a dumb ox and fail to recognize God's hand in being gracious to You; give Him the glory, and You'll enjoy His blessings.

Prayer: God, You are great and give power and glory to all; may I never think my success come from my own efforts, but may I recognize that it is You who have blessed me, and may I bless You and exalt You in the eyes of others for Your goodness to me. Thanks. Amen.

Digging Deeper:



God in a nutshell: God rules over the kingdoms of men, giving them to people according to His purposes. He protects and prospers His servants who are loyal to Him, and humbles those who don't acknowledge Him. He allows His servants to experience difficulty for the sake of His glory. He brings blessing out of adversity, and turns blessing into pain for the prideful. He communicates what we need to know, when we need to know it, if we are listening.

Us in a nutshell: If we trust God, He will take care of us, and use us for His purposes and glory. We must be willing to be loyal to Him to the point of death, and beyond. We can always seek God for wisdom and His perspective on the events of our life and world.

Where to Go for More:
Truthbase.net

Daniel 1-4 (complete text)
Daniel 1
1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Jerusalem, and besieged it. 2 The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God; and he carried them into the land of Shinar to the house of his god: and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. 3 The king spoke to Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring in certain of the children of Israel, even of the seed royal and of the nobles; 4 youths in whom was no blemish, but well-flavoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and endowed with knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability to stand in the king’s palace; and that he should teach them the learning and the language of the Chaldeans. 5 The king appointed for them a daily portion of the king’s dainties, and of the wine which he drank, and that they should be nourished three years; that at its end they should stand before the king. 6 Now among these were, of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 The prince of the eunuchs gave names to them: to Daniel he gave the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s dainties, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God made Daniel to find kindness and compassion in the sight of the prince of the eunuchs. 10 The prince of the eunuchs said to Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse looking than the youths who are of your own age? so would you endanger my head with the king. 11 Then Daniel said to the steward whom the prince of the eunuchs had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 12 Test your servants, I beg you, ten days; and let them give us vegetables to eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let our faces be looked on before you, and the face of the youths who eat of the king’s dainties; and as you see, deal with your servants. 14 So he listened to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. 15 At the end of ten days their faces appeared fairer, and they were fatter in flesh, than all the youths who ate of the king’s dainties. 16 So the steward took away their dainties, and the wine that they should drink, and gave them pulse.
17 Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 At the end of the days which the king had appointed for bringing them in, the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding, concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters who were in all his realm. 21 Daniel continued even to the first year of king Cyrus.

Daniel 2
2:1 In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams; and his spirit was troubled, and his sleep went from him. 2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the enchanters, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. 3 The king said to them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream. 4 Then spoke the Chaldeans to the king in the Syrian language, O king, live forever: tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation. 5 The king answered the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if you don’t make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. 6 But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore show me the dream and its interpretation. 7 They answered the second time and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation. 8 The king answered, I know of a certainty that you would gain time, because you see the thing is gone from me. 9 But if you don’t make known to me the dream, there is but one law for you; for you have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, until the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation. 10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man on the earth who can show the king’s matter, because no king, lord, or ruler, has asked such a thing of any magician, or enchanter, or Chaldean. 11 It is a rare thing that the king requires, and there is no other who can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. 12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree went forth, and the wise men were to be slain; and they sought Daniel and his companions to be slain.
14 Then Daniel returned answer with counsel and prudence to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, who was gone forth to kill the wise men of Babylon; 15 he answered Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so urgent from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. 16 Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would appoint him a time, and he would show the king the interpretation. 17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 18 that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his companions should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 Then was the secret revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever; for wisdom and might are his. 21 He changes the times and the seasons; he removes kings, and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those who have understanding; 22 he reveals the deep and secret things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. 23 I thank you, and praise you, you God of my fathers, who have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we desired of you; for you have made known to us the king’s matter.
24 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: Don’t destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show to the king the interpretation. 25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus to him, I have found a man of the children of the captivity of Judah, who will make known to the king the interpretation. 26 The king answered Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation? 27 Daniel answered before the king, and said, The secret which the king has demanded can neither wise men, enchanters, magicians, nor soothsayers, show to the king; 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has made known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head on your bed, are these: 29 as for you, O king, your thoughts came into your mind on your bed, what should happen hereafter; and he who reveals secrets has made known to you what shall happen. 30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but to the intent that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.
31 You, O king, saw, and behold, a great image. This image, which was mighty, and whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and its aspect was awesome. 32 As for this image, its head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass, 33 its legs of iron, its feet part of iron, and part of clay. 34 You saw until a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that no place was found for them: and the stone that struck the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. 36 This is the dream; and we will tell its interpretation before the king. 37 You, O king, are king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the strength, and the glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, the animals of the field and the birds of the sky has he given into your hand, and has made you to rule over them all: you are the head of gold. 39 After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you; and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. 40 The fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron, because iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things; and as iron that crushes all these, shall it break in pieces and crush. 41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, because you saw the iron mixed with miry clay. 42 As the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43 Whereas you saw the iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they shall not cling to one another, even as iron does not mingle with clay. 44 In the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 45 Because you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall happen hereafter: and the dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.
46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an offering and sweet odours to him. 47 The king answered to Daniel, and said, Of a truth your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you have been able to reveal this secret. 48 Then the king made Daniel great, and gave him many great gifts, and made him to rule over the whole province of Babylon, and to be chief governor over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Daniel requested of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel was in the gate of the king.

Daniel 3
3:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits, and its breadth six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the satraps, the deputies, and the governors, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 3 Then the satraps, the deputies, and the governors, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then the herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, peoples, nations, and languages, 5 that whenever you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, you fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up; 6 and whoever doesn’t fall down and worship shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 7 Therefore at that time, when all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, all the peoples, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and brought accusation against the Jews. 9 They answered Nebuchadnezzar the king, O king, live for ever. 10 You, O king, have made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image; 11 and whoever doesn’t fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not respected you. They don’t serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up. 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar answered them, Is it on purpose, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you don’t serve my god, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready whenever you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music to fall down and worship the image which I have made, well: but if you don’t worship, you shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that god that shall deliver you out of my hands? 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.
19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his appearance was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spoke, and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 He commanded certain mighty men who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their pants, their tunics, and their mantles, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 These three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste: he spoke and said to his counsellors, Didn’t we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered the king, True, O king. 25 He answered, Look, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are unharmed; and the aspect of the fourth is like a son of the gods. 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace: he spoke and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God, come forth, and come here. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came forth out of the midst of the fire. 27 The satraps, the deputies, and the governors, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, that the fire had no power on their bodies, nor was the hair of their head singed, neither were their pants changed, nor had the smell of fire passed on them.
28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel, and delivered his servants who trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and have yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree, that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything evil against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill; because there is no other god who is able to deliver after this sort. 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

Daniel 4
4:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, to all the peoples, nations, and languages, who dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. 2 It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked toward me. 3 How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace. 5 I saw a dream which made me afraid; and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 6 Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. 7 Then came in the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers; and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known to me its interpretation. 8 But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and I told the dream before him, saying, 9 Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no secret troubles you, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation. 10 Thus were the visions of my head on my bed: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth; and its height was great. 11 The tree grew, and was strong, and its height reached to the sky, and its sight to the end of all the earth. 12 The leaves of it were beautiful, and its fruit much, and in it was food for all: the animals of the field had shadow under it, and the birds of the sky lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it. 13 I saw in the visions of my head on my bed, and behold, a watcher and a holy one came down from the sky. 14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Cut down the tree, and cut off its branches, shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit: let the animals get away from under it, and the fowls from its branches. 15 Nevertheless leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of the sky: and let his portion be with the animals in the grass of the earth: 16 let his heart be changed from man’s, and let an animal’s heart be given to him; and let seven times pass over him. 17 The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones; to the intent that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will, and sets up over it the lowest of men. 18 This dream I, king Nebuchadnezzar, have seen; and you, Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.
19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was stricken mute for a while, and his thoughts troubled him. The king answered, Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream, or the interpretation, trouble you. Belteshazzar answered, my lord, the dream be to those who hate you, and its interpretation to your adversaries. 20 The tree that you saw, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached to the sky, and its sight to all the earth; 21 whose leaves were beautiful, and its fruit much, and in it was food for all; under which the animals of the field lived, and on whose branches the birds of the sky had their habitation: 22 it is you, O king, that are grown and become strong; for your greatness is grown, and reaches to the sky, and your dominion to the end of the earth. 23 Whereas the king saw a watcher and a holy one coming down from the sky, and saying, Cut down the tree, and destroy it; nevertheless leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field, and let it be wet with the dew of the sky: and let his portion be with the animals of the field, until seven times pass over him; 24 this is the interpretation, O king, and it is the decree of the Most High, which has come on my lord the king: 25 that you shall be driven from men, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field, and you shall be made to eat grass as oxen, and shall be wet with the dew of the sky, and seven times shall pass over you; until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will. 26 Whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree; your kingdom shall be sure to you, after that you shall have known that the heavens do rule. 27 Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and break off your sins by righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if there may be a lengthening of your tranquillity.
28 All this came on the king Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking in the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king spoke and said, Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for the royal dwelling place, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty? 31 While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from the sky, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you: 32 and you shall be driven from men; and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field; you shall be made to eat grass as oxen; and seven times shall pass over you; until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will. 33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled on Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and ate grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of the sky, until his hair was grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.
34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honoured him who lives forever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he does according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or ask him, What are you doing? 36 At the same time my understanding returned to me; and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and brightness returned to me; and my counsellors and my lords sought to me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honour the King of heaven; for all his works are truth, and his ways justice; and those who walk in pride he is able to abase.