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The Forgotten Dream and the Unforgettable Daniel B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
July 2, 2021 4:00 am

The Forgotten Dream and the Unforgettable Daniel B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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I really believe that there are certain principles that make you useful to God. When you have these things, you are useful to God in a crisis. Now, a lot of people are useful to God when there's no crisis, but when the crisis hits, it separates the people with real commitment from those who are marginal. You've got to have some deep character qualities. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. Despite the unrest in the world today, there's still a certain amount of security, a blanket of stability, if you will, that tends to make us think things will pretty much continue as they are. Even with the political upheaval and the occasional overthrowing of governments, it's hard to imagine the layout of the world map significantly changing, let alone turning upside down. And yet, from the Old Testament book of Daniel, we learn about the rise and fall of nations, both in Daniel's day and in modern times too.

So what's going to happen in the future, and how will it affect you? Consider that today as John MacArthur looks at Daniel chapter 2. It's part of his series called The Rise and Fall of World Powers. So take your Bible and follow along with John MacArthur as he begins today's lesson. We're going to be looking at the second chapter of Daniel. Now let's look at the first 13 verses, the forgotten dream, the dream, the dilemma, and that leads, thirdly, to the deficiency, the deficiency, verse 10.

And we've already seen it. But what they really claim here is that the king is asking them to do something that's impossible. The Chaldean group answered before the king and said, there is not a man upon the earth that can reveal the king's matter. Do you see the significance in that? You want to know something?

They were flat outright, weren't they? There wasn't a man on the earth that could reveal it. Such truth doesn't come from the earth. Listen, if you think that anybody can really predict the future on the earth, you're wrong. If you think there's anything to that horoscope stuff other than demonic influence and mind control, you're wrong. There is no such thing as reading the future. The only place you're going to read the future is in the Bible when God talks about it.

And they were right. There is not a man on the earth that can reveal the king's matter. Therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler that asks such things of any magician or astrologer or Chaldean.

They say, no king and no ruler, no nobody, great and powerful as he may be would ever ask anything like this because no human can do it. You know what their experience told them? That there were limits to what they could know. They could pull off their fakery, but they couldn't read somebody's mind. Now that's just a little insight, but I thought about that for a while yesterday and I thought, that's interesting. That may well be an indication that Satan can't read our minds. Because if Satan could read our minds, then believe me, he could interpret our dreams and he could reiterate our thoughts. I've never believed that Satan can get inside and read our thoughts.

And I think this may be an indication. These were Satan's agents, astrologers, mediums, spiritists, magicians, sorcerers, the whole pile of them. And they would have had experience in revealing dreams that were unspoken. They would have had experience in revealing thoughts that had been had in the night and in the day if Satan had access to those. But it seems to me that he does not.

So they try to flatter the king, oh king, no lord and no king and no ruler, no matter how majestic he is would ever ask this, don't you want to rank with the greats? See? This is beyond any human ability. Verse 11, it is a rare thing that the king requires and there's no other that can reveal it before the king, watch this, except the gods whose dwelling is not with flesh. Boy, in their stupidity they were right again.

The only place you could get that information is from a supernatural source, right? It's not available on the earth. What a dilemma. They are about to lose their life. They are about to lose everything they possess. They have already lost all their credibility. They are given an impossible thing that they cannot do.

They are trapped in the human deficiency. Therefore, fourthly, the decree. Because they couldn't tell the dream, the decree is given again in verse 12, for this cause the this...was angry and very furious. Now it would have been enough to say he was angry or furious, but just to make sure you get how mad he really was, it puts both of them in there. He was angry, really, really, really angry and he commended to destroy...get this...all the wise men of Babylon. Now that's the stupidity of anger. Anger never knows any limits. Anger never draws any parameters.

Anger just smashes everybody who gets in front of it. He is mad. He is mad, number one, because he's afraid.

He's scared to death about the dream he had. He is mad because he can't remember the details. He is mad because he can't trust his wise men. And if he can't trust his wise men to tell him the truth now, he's sure that all the things they've been telling him in the past are probably phony things too and he's upset because they criticize him and say he has no right to ask that and he is mad, he is furious, he is stooped to the depths that some monarchs go to when their particular wills are crossed. And so he just gives an execution order and says, slaughter every one of them. Verse 13, now watch. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.

Why? Because Daniel and his fellows were part of the core of court advisors. They were part of the quote, unquote, wise men. They were only apprentices and that's why I don't think that they were originally in the group before the king.

They had just completed their training. But nonetheless, they fit the category and so the executioners moved out to take their lives. Now here we meet Daniel again in verse 13 and this is where we go from the forgotten dream to the unforgettable Daniel. Let's look at verse 14 to 30, the unforgettable Daniel. God has set him up.

I mean, you couldn't have a better set up, right? He's made a great big huge announcement to the king that none of this is not available to human beings. Only a God could reveal this. This is supernatural stuff. It's beyond us.

Nobody would ask this. We can't handle it. It's an impossibility and that is exactly where God wants the situation for His man Daniel. And he moves in. He is God's man with a message. He is commissioned to reveal a great prophetic truth. He is a man for a crisis time.

And I just want to pull it down to where we live and say this and then we're going to go through this rather quickly. I really believe that there are certain principles that God...that make you useful to God. I'll put it that way. Certain principles that make you useful to God. Certain character qualities that God really uses and Daniel has those. When you have these things, you are useful to God in a crisis. Now a lot of people are useful to God when there's no crisis.

They can just kind of go along and do things when there's no storm going. But when the crisis hits, it separates the people with real commitment from those who are marginal. And when you get a crisis like this, an angry monarch who is about to slaughter all his wise men and God's strategic man Daniel is going to stand face to face, nose to nose with this king, you've got to have some deep character qualities. He is a man for a crisis.

I'll tell you why. First of all, because he had composure. He had composure. He never lost his cool. Verse 14, here comes the executioner, his name is Arioch, Daniel answered, with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard who was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon.

Let me tell you something. Everybody was frazzled from the king on down. Everybody was frenzied. Everybody was in a state of panic. Everybody was out of sorts. Everybody was frustrated.

Everybody was in fear. They were all in turmoil except Daniel. He was calm. He was composed. Even though his life was on the line, he never panicked. He had this amazing confidence in God. He knew his destiny rested in God's sovereign will. And though he was confronted by men in verse 14 who sought to take his life, there is no panic, there is no frustration, there is no despair, just composure. People who respond like that in a crisis are already prepared before the crisis comes.

They've already got it together. Notice the statement in verse 14, he spoke with counsel and wisdom. That could as easily be translated wisdom and discretion. In other words, he spoke appropriately. He spoke reasonably. Daniel responded, here comes this guy and you can see them sweeping through the palace and all of the adjacent areas, collecting all these wise men to chop them into little pieces. And as they're doing all of this, they roll in on Daniel and they announce to him the decree and he simply and suitably and appropriately with great counsel and wisdom and discretion begins a discussion with Ariac.

Amazing composure. The root term of captain comes from a verb that means to slay. He was the king's executioner. And I suppose he could have sent second in command. Isn't it kind of interesting that the king's own executioner comes...I'm sure he had a lot of other guys collecting a lot of people, but when it came to Daniel, he went himself. That was of God because Daniel wanted to go back to the king and he would have had an easier road back to the king through the king's own executioner than through some underling. So God made sure he got the right guy.

Now at the same time, he must have been an authoritarian, rough, tough, feelingless individual or he wouldn't have been an executioner. So Daniel just talks wisely and suitably to him and they have this wonderful conversation. Verse 15, he answered and said to Ariac, the king's captain, why is the decree so hasty from the king? What is the hurry, Ariac?

What is the big hurry? And I love this. Then Ariac made the thing known to Daniel. Ariac said, well, let me tell you about that, Daniel. Well, let me sit down a minute.

I'll tell you the whole story. God is just controlling this guy's heart. He sits down and he gives his holes. You see, Daniel had the ability in the midst of panic to just put everybody at ease, that great, calm, composed character. Boy, don't we look for somebody like that in the midst of a frenzy? In the midst of a panic, don't we look for the guy who's got it all together, who's just composed? And Daniel says, tell me about this.

What's the big hurry? He has no fear because his hand, his life is in God's hand, the mark of a useful life, beloved. Listen, composure in a crisis.

If you can't stay composed in a crisis, you're never really going to have an effective long-range ministry because ministry is all about meeting one crisis after another. Secondly, he was not only composed, he was courageous. Verse 16, then Daniel went in and apparently Ariac arranged an audience with the king.

Isn't this amazing? Instead of killing Daniel, he gets...Daniel gets a pass to go see the king. Daniel went in and desired of the king. And get this, here's Daniel. He is a teenager, folks.

He's got to be between 17 and 19 years old, just finished his three years of training. He's a Hebrew, which means he's a captive. He goes into Nebuchadnezzar who is foaming at the mouth, fire and brimstone, wants everybody in pieces, and here comes this young upstart, one of his wise men who's nothing but an apprentice, and he desired of the king that he would give him time and he would show the king the whole interpretation.

King, I'm here to tell you, if you just give me a little time, I'll tell you the whole thing. Now what is the one thing that the wise men asked for? Time. What is the one thing he wouldn't give him? Time. What is the one thing Daniel asked for? Time. What is the one thing he gets?

Time. There was something courageous about him. His courage is almost audacious.

Who is he? Who is he to go before Nebuchadnezzar? But he had a strong, confident faith in God and he was willing to face this frustrated, raging king.

You say, well, now wait a minute, this is a little presumptuous. How did Daniel know he'd ever be able to tell that dream? Because Daniel knew what chapter 1 verse 17 said, that God had given him the ability to reveal dreams and visions. You say, why did he do it for Daniel? Well, maybe because of chapter 1 verse 20 where it says that when the king examined those young men, he found Daniel and the others to be ten times wiser than the wisest men in Babylon. Maybe he said, well, you know, he is ten times wiser than everybody else.

Maybe a little time won't hurt, but I'm amazed at the courage. Nobody threatened his life. He'd walk up nose to nose with Nebuchadnezzar no matter how much power he had because he knew God was on his side. These first two elements are necessary, beloved, in fulfilling any commission in a crisis. If you don't have composure and courage, you'll never make it through. You want to know something, people? You can be composed and courageous any time in any crisis when you know you stand on the authority of God's revealed Word, right?

If you're doing what's right, you have nothing to fear. Thirdly, we see here not only a characteristic of composure and courage, but communion, and I love this, communion. Verse 17, then Daniel went to his house and he made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, his companions. He went back and he said, hey guys, you got to hear this.

The king's going to give me some time to work on this. Now what are we going to do? They started to pray. Daniel's confidence was in God, so he immediately sought communion with the Lord. God's men in a crisis goes to his knees. God's men in a crisis doesn't take his troubles to other people, he takes his troubles to God. Maybe he gathers other people to pray with him as he did, but he goes to God as a final point of contact. Verse 19 begins, then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision.

Wow! In the middle of the night of prayer, God gives the secret. That leads to a fourth characteristic of a man in crisis, commendation, commendation.

What do you mean by that? Well, look at verse 19, then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Commendation is just another word for praise.

I looked it up in the dictionary and it's a synonym. He commended God. He praised God. Daniel gave the glory to God.

What a tremendous young man he is, amazing wisdom for his years. So in verse 20, Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are his and he changeth the times and the seasons. He removeth kings and setteth up kings. He giveth wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who know understanding. He revealeth the deep and secret things. He knoweth what is in the darkness and the light dwelleth with him.

That's a great statement, beloved. That's a psalm, really. That's a psalm, a hymn of praise. He begins by saying, Blessed be the name of God.

That's all that God is. He blesses him for his wisdom and his might, for his power in verse 21, omnipotence. He changes the times and the seasons. He removes kings.

He sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who know understanding. That's omnipotence. Verse 22 is omniscience. He reveals the deep and secret things. He knows what is in the darkness and the light dwelleth with him. He is extolling God, commending God. Then in verse 23, I thank thee and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might and made known unto me now what we desired of thee, for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter.

Apparently he shared it with the three because it says we and us. Listen. Daniel was not stuck with Babylonian fatalism, but a sovereign, wise and powerful God.

And when God heard his prayer, Daniel gave God praise and thanks in a psalm that is a model for psalms of praise. Listen. Mark the man in crisis. He is composed. He is courageous. He is in communion with his God. And when he hears and answers, he commends his God.

Just two more quickly and we'll close this section. Daniel was also marked by compassion. Verse 24, Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus unto him, Just to make sure nothing happened, just to make sure he didn't go through with it. Before Daniel even went back to tell the king his dream, he went to Arioch and he said, Destroy not the wise men of Babylon.

Bring me in before the king and I'll reveal unto the king the interpretation. Daniel is now in control of the whole situation. He says, Don't destroy the wise men. Now get this, the last order Arioch had was from Nebuchadnezzar. This order is from Daniel. Who is Daniel? Some kid, some Hebrew captive who's popped out of nowhere and he's now telling me what to do. But he was in control. He says, Just take me to the king and I'll reveal to the king the interpretation.

Don't slay the wise men. I think Daniel had compassion on him. I think Daniel cared about him. He knew they were lost in idolatry. He knew they were doomed to hell.

He didn't want them to die. Verse 25, And Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste. The word in haste means with much alarm, much excitement. He was really excited. He was in a mad hurry.

I'm sure he didn't want to do this slaughter anyway. So Arioch brings in Daniel in an excited, energetic way and he says to the king, I have found a man of the captives of Judah that will make known unto the king the interpretation. I think he takes a little more credit than he deserves. Daniel really came to him.

But you know, when you're an underling of the king, you want to do all you can to earn those points. So he says, I got just the man. Boy, he can tell you the answers and he can give you the dream and the whole thing. Verse 26, The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, that was his Babylonian name, Are you able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen and the interpretation of it? And by the way, if he couldn't, he'd really get it, postponing all of this so long with no real resolution. Can you do this?

Can you really do it? Both the dream and the interpretation? He's got some doubts because he's doubting the whole supernatural area because all of his supernaturalists have failed him. So Daniel is marked by compassion and he goes to the king. We come to the last characteristic of Daniel, humility.

That's Daniel. In spite of all of the gifts, I mean the guy was handsome beyond description. He was brilliant. He was spiritual. He was physically just a specimen unlike any other. He had this amazing training, ten times wiser than everybody else. Here he is in the audience of the king. Not only that, he can read visions and dreams and tell the future.

Amazing! If anybody had anything to be proud about, Daniel did, but look at his spirit in verse 27. Daniel answered in the presence of the king and said, The secret which the king has demanded, cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers reveal unto the king? He's just rubbing it in, see, salt in the wound. He just wants him to affirm again that the whole pile of them are worthless. He wants to set himself against them. He wants to set the true God against the false deities. They can't do it, can they?

With all of their stuff, they're useless in the real crisis. And then verse 28, But there is a God in heaven who revealeth secrets and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. That's a term that refers to the fullness of the time in the mind of the writer, or the fullness of time in reference to the specific prophecy. It varies from prophecy to prophecy. The latter times of the prophecy given, the latter days of the prophecy given. In this case, the latter days of the prophecy given encompass all the way to the millennial kingdom. And then in verse 29 it says, And he who revealeth secrets...that's a new name for God in the Bible, never used before...makes known to thee what shall come to pass. The God of heaven has given you this dream.

But look at verse 30, I love this. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart. Hey, he says, I can't take any credit for this. I'm not anybody special.

I'm not anybody better than anybody else. God is the revealer of secrets. He has done it for His own purposes.

What a heart of humility. Listen, the man for a crisis is rightly related to himself. He's got it together in his own heart. The man for a crisis is rightly related to God. He has it right with the Lord. The man for a crisis is rightly related to other people.

He loves them, and he doesn't think of himself as better than they. Daniel is an incredibly rare kind of man, and that's exactly why God used him the way He used him. And that's exactly why when Ezekiel recited three righteous men of history, he put Daniel in the middle. Even though Daniel was a contemporary, he was an unusual man, a choice servant. Indeed, Daniel was a choice servant of God—humble, bold, completely committed to God's truth. John MacArthur is showing you how God used Daniel to his glory. In a fascinating look at Bible prophecy, it's a series called The Rise and Fall of World Powers, here on Grace to You.

John, I love the portrait of Daniel that you paint, and it reminds me he's one of my favorite Bible characters for his courage and his devotion to the Lord. Unshakeable devotion. There's another descriptive word that's often associated with him. It's one we hear a lot about in the political arena. Yeah, it's the word integrity. And when you say somebody has integrity, it means they're one person. They're not two people. They're not duplicitous.

They don't say one thing in one environment and something opposite in another environment. Or to put it another way, they live what they say they believe. That's integrity.

Really hard to find nowadays. Hard to find someone whose convictions are both verbalized and consistently faithfully lived out, no matter what the price. And Daniel's willingness to live out his convictions had to stand the ultimate test.

The test of the lion's den. Was he willing to die for those convictions? There are few heroes in this culture who are known explicitly for that level of integrity. Daniel is a hero you need to become very acquainted with. So I want to mention a book that'll go along with our study in Daniel, and the title of the book is The Power of Integrity. Integrity has immense power. It's really the story of Daniel.

And the power of integrity can help you build that kind of life. A character study of Daniel, a man whose life integrity still stands out, even centuries after he lived. It includes chapters on the consequences of an uncompromising life, the golden rule on closer examination, doctrinal integrity, and many other chapters. Features a built-in study guide, icebreaker, questions for use in small group.

It's a great book for giving young people, college, high school young people, just about anybody for sure. Available from Grace to You. Just ask for a copy of The Power of Integrity, and we'll be glad to send you one. Yes, and this book examines the lives of exemplary people who faithfully served the Lord, even under constant pressure to compromise. And it will show you how you can do the same.

It's a very relevant book. As the world gets darker and darker, to pick up your copy of The Power of Integrity, contact us today. Write us at Grace to You, P.O. Box 100, St. Martin, Laval, Quebec, H7V 3P4. Or use our 24-hour order line. Call 800-565-2425. You can also send an email to gty at Now, let me remind you that Grace to You is your source for about 3,000 recorded sermons and books by John MacArthur, and that includes what has become our flagship resource for new Christians, serious Bible students, and really everyone in between. And I'm talking about the MacArthur Study Bible.

It features more than 25,000 footnotes that bring out the meaning of virtually every passage in your Bible. To browse and purchase, go to or call 800-565-2425. And let us know how you're benefiting from these broadcasts. Write us at P.O.

Box 100, St. Martin, Laval, Quebec, H7V 3P4. And thanks for remembering our radio outreach is funded by gifts from listeners like you. Now for John MacArthur, Phil Johnson here, reminding you to watch the Grace to You television program. Go to to see it online, and tune your radio here for another half hour of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on the next Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-25 03:35:43 / 2023-09-25 03:46:32 / 11

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