Thoughts to Ponder: Chapter 7

Chapter 7:  Acknowledging and Honoring the Power of God  Daniel 2:24-45

Q1 – Arioch had been appointed by Nebuchadnezzar as the executioner of the wise men. Had he not fulfilled his job as ordered, his own life would have been on the line. Why do you think he responded so favorably to Daniel?

A1 – Daniel responded to Arioch, who had come to execute him, with wisdom and tact. This was probably not the response that Arioch expected and may have actually caught him off guard. (“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”   Proverbs 15:1 NLT)

It’s possible that God caused Arioch to act favorably toward Daniel. Remember how God had previously caused Ashpenaz, the court official in charge of their training, to show favor and compassion to Daniel (Daniel 1:9).

God had also bestowed knowledge and understanding to Daniel and his friends, and he gave Daniel the ability to understand visions and dreams (Daniel 1:17) Because of this, these men were already known to the king and probably to the whole court. You remember how the king had interviewed them, evidently rigorously, at the end of the training program and found them to be far superior in their wisdom and understanding to any other in his whole kingdom (Daniel 1:18-20). So their reputation could well have worked in their favor when Arioch approached them.

Q2 – How do you think Daniel felt standing before the King, whose temper was so volatile that he had ordered death for all the wise men? How would you feel standing before someone who had ordered your death?

A2 – Daniel must have been a well known and highly regarded person by the king and his court because it’s highly doubtful that just anybody could have marched in and spoken directly with the king (Daniel 2:16). We know from Daniel 1:19-20 that the king had met him and grilled him at the end of the training program, and that he and his friends then entered the king’s service. But we don’t know how closely Daniel worked with the king or how frequently Daniel came in contact with him. However, Daniel’s reputation must have worked in his favor for the king to grant his request for more time and not have him executed on the spot.

Daniel was probably quite fearful as he went before the king. It took great confidence for him to go in and make his appeal directly. But knowing that God had his back, no matter what happened, must have motivated him to take this bold move. After all, what did he have to lose? He and his friends were already condemned men.

Even though he spoke calmly and rationally with the king, Daniel understood the gravity of the situation. He went back to his friends and urged them to plead with God for their lives. Just like a duck who glides smoothly across the pond, yet under the surface its feet are paddling away, so Daniel went home and together with his friends prayed fervently to God for His mercy. You can almost sense the desperation in their hearts as they begged God for their lives.

Q3 – God could have spoken clearly and directly to Nebuchadnezzar. Why do you think He chose to use a dream that needed to be interpreted by someone else? How many other people’s lives were impacted because of the way God chose to communicate?

A3 – God humbled Nebuchadnezzar and made him on purpose have to seek Him in order to find out the meaning of this troubling dream. Remember how powerful Nebuchadnezzar was at this point in history, a great conqueror of nations. Yet with just a dream, God masterfully got his attention and essentially undermined his power. Think how frustrated this king, who commanded armies and controlled vast resources, must have been.

You can imagine how this dream also caused an uproar throughout Babylon. When the king called in all the wise men, he threatened them with death in a most gruesome way: “If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble” (Daniel 2:5 NIV). Certainly, their families would have suffered greatly as well. Then, when the king ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon, the king’s guard went out and about to fulfill this decree. This likely caused quite a stir among the townspeople.

So by using a dream, God impacted many lives. If God had spoken directly to the king, others might never have known about the communication. This way, God got the attention of all the wise men, their families, the king’s guard, Daniel and his friends, and countless others who may have been caught up in all the excitement and chaos. Then, when Daniel stepped forward with the interpretation, the focus of the king and all the others turned directly toward God.