Lesson Nineteen


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Memory Verse: Amos 3:7
Further Study: Daniel 2; Prophets and Kings, 491-502; The Bible Story, vol. 6, pp. 15-32

My mother had a dear and old friend who was a Baptist minister. He believed that dreams had meaning. It didn’t matter if you were being chased, saw a snake, or were riding in an elevator, for him everything meant something.

If you want to do dream interpretation one doesn’t need to go any further than Google, which will explain everything. And if you do, you’d be no different than the “Wisemen” of Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Someone would tell them a dream and they would go to their resources and come back with an interpretation. My guess is that had Nebuchadnezzar remembered his dream, we would have missed out on one of the most significant prophecies ever given. 

Certainly, the dream of the statue with the head of gold was important, but to concentrate only on the dream would be to miss a larger point—a point made first by the Babylonian Wisemen in verse 11. They told the king that no one could tell someone their dream and the meaning. It doesn’t work that way. First, the dream is told, then the meaning is determined. Only someone greater than human can do that. And they were right.

Only someone greater than human can do that. And they were right. 

When Daniel heard of the order to execute all the Wisemen, he remained calm. He asked for more time, found his three friends, and they prayed. I can only imagine that prayer meeting. One by one they prayed urgently for God to reveal the dream. I can also imagine the prayers ending due to the lateness of the hour, going to bed with no solution, and wondering what the morning would bring. The prayer was answered when Daniel was given the same dream and interpretation. What no man could do—the pagan wisemen or the righteous Daniel—was done by God.

What no man could do was done by God. 

Daniel woke up, and before telling anyone (including the reader) the answer to their prayer, he knelt in gratitude to God. It’s in his prayer that we find what is most important. “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his” (Dan. 2:20). The message then and now is that God is powerful and in control.

No matter what problems we face; no matter what difficult questions are presented; no matter what challenging situations we are in; God is in control. Daniel, a captive in Babylon, as he told the dream to the king would have recognized a message for both himself and the king. Babylon will come to an end. Judah’s captivity will end. And for us, there is a message as well. We find ourselves living deep in the toes of that image, where a rock made without human hands will soon hurdle toward this planet to bring an end to sin and God will reign forever and ever.

The future is in God’s hands. 

This should be our focus. The future is in God’s hands. It may be today or tomorrow or years to come, but one day, by God’s grace, we know when Jesus comes we will have answers and be renewed. 

Digging Deeper 

Bible characters Daniel and Joseph are in close parallel to one another. Look at this list of common experiences:

  • Both are taken from their homeland as teenagers
  • Both serve foreign kings who have dreams
  • Both have their names changed
  • Both know wisemen who serve a king but can’t interpret a dream
  • Both have someone bring them to the king—the cupbearer tells Pharoah of Joseph and Arioch brings Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar
  • God helps both to interpret a dream
  • Both credit God for the dream interpretation
  • Both rise in status in a foreign court after interpreting a dream
  • Both are models of godly behavior in a foreign culture

Another item of interest is whether King Nebuchadnezzar actually forgot his dream or simply chose not to reveal it. It depends on how Bible scholars understand a word in verse 5. The debate is the word, azda, which can be interpreted as meaning “firm,” if one believes it to be a Persian word. But if one translates it to English from Hebrew, it means “to go away.”

If one reads the verse in the King James Version of the Bible, it reads, “The thing is gone from me . . ..” But the New King James Version and New International Version read, “My decision is firm . . ..” See the difference? The first states the king doesn’t remember, while the second suggests that he has decided to test his Wisemen. Adventists, along with Ellen G. White, accept the first version—that he forgot the dream. While it may not be significant, it did lead to Daniel’s involvement, thus God’s interpretation of the dream.


Making it Real

It might take some planning, but can you build something that is similar to the statute in Daniel 2? It doesn’t have to look like a man, but the stack/tower should be made of different materials. There will need to be something to represent gold, silver, brass, iron, and the iron mixed with clay. The most important point to remember when selecting items is that the tower you build must be made of stronger items at the top than at the bottom.

It’s interesting that typically when we build something we put the strongest materials at the bottom, but God builds this statue from the top down. Its weakest point is at the bottom. Why is it weaker at the bottom? Which part of your tower represents where we live today? 

If you have children, let them search for materials. Talk as you stack together what each represents. Don’t forget you will also need something for the rock. It actually could be a rock, but you might want to be outside when you build. As the rock is aimed at the bottom what happens? What do you learn about God from the rock that destroys what you (man) have built? 

Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being the grandmother of two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus.


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