The Smart King
I’ve been reading in the book of Daniel, but I’ll spare you my thoughts on what Daniel says about the end times. The past few weeks have shown me that figuring out exactly what prophecy means isn’t the point. I think most Christians understand that, but it’s the few that don’t understand it that get all the press (I guess they make better headlines, but check out this post by Seth Barnes for a more up-lifting outlook).
There are some wonderful stories in Daniel aside from the verses of prophecy. One that intrigued me was the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2 (in order to avoid spelling that name again, I’m going to call him the “Smart King”). The Smart King has been having strange dreams and wants the “magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers,” to tell him what they mean. But the catch is that he won’t tell them anything about the dreams. They have to first tell him what he dreamed and then tell him what the dream means.
My guess is that this Smart King has been fed a lot of bull in the past from astrologers and the like. This time he wanted to make sure that whoever interpreted his dream was telling him the truth (that’s what makes him a smart king). Of course, no one could tell the Smart King what he dreamed so he just kills them all (he must have been really tired of the bull).
I used to work near a mall where several fortune tellers worked. I wonder what they would have said if I sat down one day and said I would only pay them to interpret my dreams if they could first tell me what I dreamed about? If they tried to make up something to get my money, I would be hard pressed to say whether or not it was truly something I had dreamed! The King in Daniel though is certain about the dream he has been having and we see throughout the Bible that great rulers have important dreams about their empires.
Now, you might think that the sorcerers and astrologers couldn’t tell the Smart King his dream because they didn’t have any power. But make no mistake, over and over again in the Old Testament, we see stories of sorcerers and astrologers having some sort of mystical power – it’s just never greater than the power of GOD and I believe this is still true today.
The end of the story is that Daniel is able to tell the King what he dreamed and what it meant because GOD reveals it to him. This story shows that GOD’s adversary only has limited powers. Just as I found in Job, it appears that GOD’s adversary needs permission before he can get in your head (kind of makes me think of vampires being stuck outside your house unless you invite them in). If you don’t reveal your dreams, the adversary doesn’t know what they are, only GOD knows.