We all have dreams, all the time, and mostly they are weird or silly. Every now and then, we have a dream where we think it means something. Those are rare. Even more rare is when we have a dream where we KNOW it means something and can’t figure it out.
God talks to us in a myriad of different ways. God is a holistic god so it should be easy to understand that his methods of speaking to us by the Spirit are as varied as our personalities and experiences. Truth is the same, don’t get me wrong, but God loves us so much that he seeks to converse with us through any avenue he can … and that includes our dreams.
Nebuchadnezzar, as we already pointed out, was a powerful king that had established an empire and finally conquered Judah and Jerusalem. And he has a dream that disturbs him, severely. Disturbs him to the degree that he put out an order to all his magicians and sorcerers and seers – tell me the dream and the interpretation or I’m going to kill you.
While not the nicest thing he could do, he was an oppressive king, after all. Of course the magicians and all complained and asked him to tell them the dream so they could interpret. He was clear. Nope. If you’re the real deal, you could tell me the dream first.
For those that advertised their spiritual prowess, that makes sense, but it terrified them because they couldn’t do it.
Enter Daniel, in the middle of his Babylonian education. He had set himself apart through his eating habits – and other ways, I’m sure – and he hears about this drama in Babylon.
God shares the dream with Daniel. The dream was clearly “bad news” for Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar, but Daniel is forced into a choice. People will die if he doesn’t share what he knows. but it’s not the wisest thing in the world to let the king know his kingdom is temporary and a better one will destroy it.
Daniel has made a habit, however, of setting himself apart and obeying in ways that could place him in danger. His character shines in this moment in two ways – in his obedience to God and in his compassion to those in Babylon.
I don’t want to move past that point too quickly. The magicians and seers and others were ungodly and wrong about many things. Who knows? Perhaps they saw the fall of Jerusalem as the fall of God or those truths. Either way, in a religious sense, these were detestable people according to the law. And yet part of Daniel’s choice is to save them, to have compassion on them as he shares a dangerous truth.
I do not want to justify saying unpopular things for their own sake, but part of our call is to stand and speak truths that the majority will not like. It isn’t to “prove we are right” but to seek to save others. Me being right does not save anyone. Me expressing the truth, as unpopular as it may be, so that people can be reconciled to the one true God may very well save some.
Did you know that “cowards” are on the list of people who don’t get to enter the Kingdom of God? To be clear, I’m not excusing people with a big mouth. But let us not let the culture determine what is or is not taboo for discussion. Agreeing with a lie is not the way to lead people to truth. That is not love. That is not compassionate, despite how contrary to the culture that might seem. It takes bravery to express truth contrary to the world.
And it will be contrary, because to express the Kingdom of God means the end to the kingdoms of this world.
Which we will discuss next week …