2007-01-16 - Daniel
Verses 10-18: So here's the dream. I think he must have been listening to Farmer Fred on the radio. He was dreaming of a huge tree in the middle of a field. And the tree was providing shelter and food for all the birds and beasts of the land. Next, a messenger comes down from Heaven - ordering the destruction of the tree. Notice that the destruction is thorough, but not complete. The stump and roots are left and protected. And then the dream shifts.
Frequently scripture uses the parallel between the prideful and trees. Consider: "The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled), for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty, and all the oaks of Bashan," ... "He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax; Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One" (Isaiah 2:12-13, 10:34).
The messenger says that the mind of the stump, which is now described as the mind of a man, and we know the mind is Nebuchadnezzar's, will be changed from man to animal. He will eat among the animals; this will continue for some period of time. This means of course that at some point his mind will be restored. Showers notes that first, Nebuchadnezzar, " ... in several of his inscriptions ... had boasted about the peaceful shelter and abundance of food that he had provided for his subjects ... Indeed, in these boasts he used language descriptive of a tree when referring to his rule ..." 4
Second he had become "greatly captivated by the huge cedar trees of" 5 Lebanon.
So Nebuchadnezzar could understand how the tree stood for him. So the imagery was confirmed by the number of messengers from Heaven. And the purpose of this was to demonstrate the sovereignty of God over all. Here the sovereignty is specifically tied to God's authority over all governments. No one rules without God's permission. This is certainly something that needs to be remembered today. There is not one government in this world that does not exist through the will of God.
What is an implication of this for us? We do not need to be fearful - no matter how ugly this fallen world is. As we are facing potential war on many fronts, we can be concerned for the consequences, but we don't need to be afraid - because God is in control and the world won't come to an end until He says so.
So that's the dream. Now the question is, will Daniel interpret it? Notice how the king words it here. He doesn't doubt that Daniel can do so. The reason? Daniel represents the gods, not just God, but the gods. Nebuchadnezzar hasn't come very far, has he?
To be continued.
4 Showers, Dr. Renald E., The Most High God, The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., Bellmawr, NJ, 1988, p. 43.