As we move into Daniel and the Exile Era, the setting in the opening chapters of Daniel is in the Babylonian court shortly after Nebuchadnezzar had a troublesome dream that led to insomnia (Daniel 2:1). Ancient Babylonians strongly believed in supernatural forces and looked for omens in the stars, dreams, and even the shapes of animal livers. Nebuchadnezzar could not understand its message, so he called his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and other wise men to help him understand his vision (v. 2). Anyone could invent a meaning they could attach to the dream, but to give the dream itself without help from the dreamer was a sign of clear inspiration of understanding. That is why Nebuchadnezzar demanded to hear both the dream and its meaning (vv. 3–11).
When no Babylonian wise man could help him, Nebuchadnezzar threatened to kill all of his wise men, including Daniel and his friends. But Daniel prayed, and God revealed the dream to him. Before Daniel ran to the king with the interpretation, he set his heart in the right place by proclaiming the sovereignty of God in his most famous words:
Daniel 2:20-23 … “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.
To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king's matter.”
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was concerning the empires that would succeed Nebuchadnezzar. Most likely, we are to understand the kingdoms represented by the various part of the statue as follows: head of gold—Babylon; chest and arms of silver—Media- Persia; middle and thighs of bronze—Greece; legs of iron and feet of iron mixed with clay—Rome (vv. 25–43). But the end of the dream is the most remarkable part—a rock not cut by human hands would destroy all these kingdoms and become a mountain so large as to fill the whole earth (vv. 44–45). God’s kingdom, not established by human initiative, would rise victorious during the Roman era. Here we have a clear prediction of Jesus Christ.
In verses 46-49, King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.
Later in chapter 4, King Nebuchadnezzar’s sin would be on high display, as his pride and self-exultation would reveal itself in a statement he makes in verse 30. One day, he looked over his kingdom and said, “Is this not the great Babylon I have built as my royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30)
This is in total contrast to everything the Bible teaches, which is that everything you and I have—everything--is from the hand of God, and is to be used, not for our glory, but for His glory.
Isaiah 48:11 “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.”
Praise God that He is not thwarted from our profaning His name. He is vigilant and does not give His glory to anything or anyone else. Praise God for the cross--for a Savior who saves us from our madness to make our lives all about us. Praise God that He redeems His people to glorify His name, as He is worthy.
The Word of Truth Catechism question 15 is “Why did God make us?”
Answer: God made us to glorify Him, so that His glory would be known and praised.
Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
The point is, in God’s sovereign plan and purpose ALL THINGS are from Him, through Him, and to Him. Ultimately, it is so He will be glorified in all things. This means He is glorified by those He has chosen to be redeemed and by those He has chosen to be condemned.
Everything that exists, including our lives, exists ultimately for the glory of God.
The word of God is packed full of this reality that God will do what He does for His glory--for His name!
-Exodus 14:4 and 18 say that Pharaoh's heart was hardened for the glory of God.
-Ezekiel 20:5-9 says that God did not destroy Israel in the desert for the sake of His name.
-1 Samuel 12:19-23 says the beginning of the Israelites’ monarchy was about the glory of God. -2 Samuel 7:23 says Israel became great and powerful among the nations for the glory of God.
-1 Kings 8:41-45 says Solomon dedicates the temple for the glory of God.
-Malachi 2:2 says God decides to destroy Israel because they would not lay it in their heart to give glory to His name.
-John 4:34, 7:18, and 17:4 say that Jesus' life and ministry was about the glory of God.
-John 12:27-28 says the cross of Jesus is about the glory of God.
-1 Corinthians 10:31, 1 Peter 4:11, and Matthew 5:16 say that the Christian life is about the reflection of the glory of God off of our lives into the universe.
-Psalm 23:3 says, “… He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.”
-2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 says the second coming is about the consummation of the glory of God.
The story of the Bible is NOT about you or me--it’s about God!
Nebuchadnezzar’s life and fame are not about his glory; it’s about God’s glory, whether Nebuchadnezzar knows it or not.
May we live our lives knowing well for whom we ultimately live. May God be glorified in ALL we do. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).