The following devotional is the second in a short series focusing on Daniel 2: Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the great statue of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and clay.
"During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven." (Dan. 2:19)
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has just issued a decree that all of the Wiseman in the nation are to be put to death. Why? Because some of them couldn't tell him what he had dreamed. Daniel and his three friends are numbered among those sentenced to death, and Daniel, though he cannot physically see the outcome, goes to the king to beg for time, "so that he might interpret the dream for him." (Dan 2:16). Then Daniel takes the entire matter to the Lord, and during the night, the Bible records that "the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision." In other words, God was true to His word! Daniel "goes out on a limb" so to speak, asking the King for more time so that he can ask God to reveal the mystery to him, and God comes through! But our lesson for today lies in what happens next: "Then Daniel praised the God of heaven." (Dan. 2:19)
Daniel praises the God of Heaven. God has just saved Daniel's life, and he remembers to say "Thank you"! But his "thank you" was a bit different than I might have said it. I might have just said something like, "Lord, thank you for revealing this to me and saving my life!" And this Daniel does as well, but his "thank you" goes far deeper:
Vs. 20-23 -- "Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, Oh God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king."
Notice that through all of the first 3 verses of praise, Daniel is simply praising God for WHO He is. Daniel is in awe that God has such knowledge and control over the future. He acknowledges God's omnipotence, fully realizing, perhaps for the first time, how God has everything under the control of His mighty hand, including who sits on thrones and which kingdoms are in power. And Daniel comes to understand that not only does God know and control the future, He also shares this knowledge with mankind.
Daniel has, indeed, learned something about God in this experience. He has experienced God in a new way, and in his mind, the fact that God has just revealed a piece of Himself must have been even more praiseworthy than what God has just done. Why do I say this? Because Daniel proceeds to spend 3 of the 4 verses of praise just praising God for being what he has just experienced Him to be! Only then does he praise God for what He has done: Vs: 23 -- "I thank and praise you, OH God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king."
What lessons can we learn from this story? That praise is vital? Certainly. But even more importantly, I believe we can learn that when God is at work, He is revealing pieces of Himself to each of us and we are learning to experience Him in ways we have never known possible. We need to recognize this, and like Daniel, we must consider the fact that God has just revealed a piece of Himself as worthy of even more praise than the miraculous thing He has done!
The next time you see the hand of God on a situation in your life, take the time to contemplate just what this experience has taught you about God. Praise Him first and foremost for allowing you to experience Him, because chances are, this was why it all transpired the way it did in the first place!