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In Consequence of the King of Babylon forgetting the subject of a dream which had troubled him; Daniel, through the Lord, tells the monarch both his dream and the interpretation of it, and is advanced to honor.
It is well worth the Reader's remark, how often in Scripture we find the Lord taking occasion to bring about great things by the ministry of dreams. The dream of Joseph, of Pharaoh, of the chief butler and baker, of Ahasuerus, and the like. And what proofs do they all bring of the Lord's watchful care over his people.
No doubt, but that the Lord in his over-ruling providence, while impressing the mind of the King with the importance of the dream itself; yet made him so totally to forget the particulars of it by way of introducing Daniel. What a beautiful subject doth the conviction of this open to the Lord's people in all the circumstances of their lives? How sure, how very sure is it, that the very hairs of their head are all numbered, when not a single event in their history can take place, but by the Lord's appointment. Reader! if a gracious reader, do not forget to make this personal!
I hope that the Reader will find cause in these verses, as in the former, to watch the Lord's over-ruling providence in the things here related. For what but that Almighty power, which worketh for his own glory and his people's welfare, could have stayed the mind of the King to suspend his wrath, and stop the execution of his decree. For so absolute were those monarchs, that none dared oppose them. And yet here is a poor youth, a foreigner, yea, a captive, hath influence, when the wise men could not be heard. And who but the Lord God of Israel could have wrought this? Oh! how sure and how blessed is that certain truth. Proverbs 31:1 .
What a lovely view is here given of the modesty, humbleness, and grace of Daniel and his companions? He hath no recourse to human policy, or human wisdom, but he seeketh to the Lord his God. Like Hezekiah, he spread the concerns before the Lord. Isaiah 37:14 , etc. Reader! let you and I seek grace in all our exercises to do the same. Surely, it is blessed to have a throne of grace to fly unto. And oh! how blessed to know that we have another whom the Father heareth always. Precious Jesus! do I not know that all my concerns, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, are all safe in thine hands.
Behold, Reader! the prevalency of prayer. Oh! what hath not prayer with faith in Christ wrought? When God the Holy Ghost gives a spirit of prayer, and leads the soul in Jesus into the very retirings of the Lord, so that we wrestle, as Jacob did; and act faith, as Elijah did; what mercies may not be expected to follow. See also those Scriptures, Genesis 32:24-30 ; 1 Kings 18:36-38; 1 Kings 18:36-38 ; John 16:23-24; John 16:23-24 . I must not dismiss these verses before that I have called upon the Reader to remark with me the behavior of Daniel upon this occasion. As soon as the Lord revealed unto him the secret, he first poured out his whole soul in praise to the great Author of the mercy. He did not hasten to the King of Babylon before that he had first blessed the King of kings for his grace. There were numberless mercies Daniel found grace to be thankful for; and no doubt under the sense he had of the Lord's favor, his heart was melted before the Lord. See another beautiful instance of the like kind, 2 Samuel 7:0 throughout. Reader! is there nothing in all these instances, and which we read in the history of God's people, which is suited to you and to me, as they refer to our state and circumstances? Surely, Daniel's success in prayer, and the Lord's blessing in hearing, and answering prayer, will leave us without excuse, if we neglect to visit the throne, upon any and every occasion; especially with so many increased arguments, as we have in Jesus, our Great High Priest and Intercessor. Oh! thou Almighty Lord, that art in the midst of the throne! do thou cause this bright example of Daniel, to stir up thy redeemed to this most blessed and sure rewarding service, that we may be delighted in bringing all our concerns before thee, and by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make all our requests known unto God. Philippians 4:6-7 .
There is a great beauty in this introduction of Daniel before the King. And we cannot sufficiently admire Daniel's preface to what he had to say to the King on the subject of his dream. It required no small faith in the Lord, at his first address, to tell the King honestly and plainly, that none but the God of heaven, and a God that the King neither knew nor owned, could be equal to what the King had demanded of his wise men: thereby indirectly requesting the King never more to put any confidence in them. Reader! do not overlook the sweet lesson it teacheth believers of the present hour. Let not you and I ever more seek that from creatures, which belongeth only to the infinite Creator: neither in self-righteousness find confidence, which the righteousness of the Lord Jesus only can give.
There are several interesting things in this relation of Daniel, which ought not to be passed by. Observe the modesty of the Prophet, in totally disclaiming all pretensions to merit in himself, and referring all glory to the Lord. Observe also, how boldly Daniel points out to the King the causes wherefore the King was led into this dream, and had his thoughts so deeply exercised about the meaning of it. Daniel plainly tells the monarch, that the whole event was for the Church's good. Oh! precious Jesus! how hast thou watched over thy Church in all ages, and art watching over it still! The wakefulness of a Persian King laid the foundation for the safety of the whole empire where the Church then was. See Esther 6:1-13 . And the dream of this King of Babylon, became the cause of promoting Daniel in a foreign Court, whereby the Church was protected, and the council of the Lord made known to it when in captivity. Blessed Lord! cause thy people always to keep such views of thy constant watching over them in remembrance. As to the dream of an image, of such brightness, and so compounded of gold, and silver, and brass, and iron, and clay; the figure was so unequal, as might well excite the astonishment of the monarch's mind. And no less, when he beheld this great image destroyed, by a cause so apparently slender, and so apparently disproportioned, and also by means undiscovered, as a stone cut out without hands: yea, moreover, that this little stone should become a great mountain, and fill the earth! Here were wonders upon wonders!
Think, Reader! what astonishment must have overwhelmed the mind of Babylon's monarch, when beholding a poor captive youth of Israel's race, not only bringing to his recollection all the circumstances which had passed before him in the visions of the night, and which no human being could have had any knowledge of but himself; but, also, undauntedly, and without fear, explaining the dream, though it foreboded the certain destruction of this monarch's own kingdom. Oh! blessed, blessed Lord, what invincible boldness doth grace induce towards man, while humbleness towards God is in the hearts of thy people! Now, Reader, attend to Daniel's interpretation of this dream, and then ponder over the important subject, as we know it hath literally and truly come to pass. The four kingdoms would not have merited notice, but as they ministered to the Lord's Church. These were to succeed each other, and exactly did so, as Daniel prophesied. The head of gold, in this image, represented the Chaldean monarchy. The silver breast and arms, pointed to the Persian kingdom, which sprung out of the Chaldean, when the former was destroyed by Cyrus. See Chap. 5. To this succeeded the Grecian monarchy, marked in the King's dream by the belly and thighs of brass. And the fourth, which was denoted by the legs and feet of iron, re presented the Roman, and which remained until that stone cut out without hands, meaning the Lord Jesus Christ, the humblest, and lowliest of the sons of men, came to establish his glorious kingdom, and fill the earth. Thus, Reader, behold both the prediction and the event; and in the spiritual kingdom of our Lord, observe how the God of heaven hath set up an empire never to be destroyed. Oh! precious, precious Lord Jesus, thy kingdom is indeed an everlasting kingdom; and thy dominion that which must remain forever.
Reader! behold, the wonderful effects wrought upon the mind of Nebuchadnezzar! To see a prince thus forgetting all distinction and dignity, and falling prostrate before a poor captive; nothing can more fully demonstrate the powerful operations which must have been induced by the Lord in his mind. But, I beg the Reader at the same time, not to overlook the important lesson it teacheth. Though the King was thus convinced, none but God could have revealed those things to Daniel; and though the Lord worked upon the King's mind to such a degree, as to make him fall to the ground before Daniel under this conviction; yet all this was no work of saving grace upon Nebuchadnezzar's heart. Men may tremble under the word, may confess, like the magician's in the court of Pharaoh, at the sight of the miracles wrought by Moses in the name of the Lord, that the finger of God was in them (Exodus 8:19 .) yet all the while, nature remains unchanged, unregenerated. Nebuchadnezzar asked no further after the God of Daniel; neither did the magicians, or Pharaoh, desire to worship the God of Daniel. Reader! I pray you to mark the striking difference. It is to be exceedingly feared, that in this our day, many a stony ground hearer may melt, or rejoice under the word, and for a while, fully acknowledge the truths they hear, whose hearts remain unchanged, and are still unregenerated by grace. Matthew 13:20-21 . What an awful consideration!
READER! let you and I contemplate the God of Daniel in his providences, as well as in his grace. Oh! what an arrangement of events and things were here, in order to raise the Lord's poor captives from their low estate, to an high. Surely, that scripture was eminently fulfilled; He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill: that he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people. But let us not rest here, but remember also, that the events recorded in this Chapter were for the comfort of the Church then in captivity: or as Daniel told the King, it was for their sakes that the secret was disclosed to Daniel, that is, the sake of his Church, his chosen. Not to inform an idolatrous King and his court, unless to damp and mortify their pride, that Babylon must fall, and all monarchies unto Christ, be as the potsherds of the earth; but that the Church of the living God might know that Jehovah was still as ever, watching over their interests, and would in due time, hasten on and establish forever the kingdom of his dear Son. Here, Reader! let you and I make our improvements of this blessed Chapter, and at the same time recollect, that this, and this only, is at the bottom, of all Jehovah's dispensations, to bring forward Jesus and his great salvation; that, as the scripture gloriously explains it, Jehovah might, in the dispensation of the fulness of time, gather together in one all, things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are in earth, even in Him. Hallelujah, Amen.
But chiefly, Reader! let our improvement of this Chapter be to contemplate Him, whom under the similitude of a little stone cut out without hands, was both to destroy all the images of idolatry, and to become a mountain, and fill the earth! Oh, precious, precious Lord Jesus, in thee I behold all this most blessedly fulfilled! and on thee would I hang the whole of my soul's meditation, as the Bee hangs upon the sweetest flower. Surely, Lord, without human hands, or human power, or human policy, or human strength, thou camest forth unknown, unperceived, unsought of men, at the call of God thy Father, for the salvation of thy people, and the destruction of thine enemies. Little indeed, and despised, a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; but, oh! how infinitely precious in the sight of Jehovah, and in the love and admiration of thy people. And how hast thou, Lord, since the day of thy servant Daniel, fulfilled, and more than fulfilled, all that was then promised. Oh! do thou Almighty mountain! fill heaven and earth; yea, all the hearts of thy people with thy glory. Hasten, Lord, the glorious hour, when all the kingdoms of the earth shall become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and thou shalt reign forever.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Daniel 2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20