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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: November 21, 2023

There’s a kind of genius to Nebuchadnezzar’s madness here in Daniel 2, or perhaps there’s a kind of madness to his genius. He’s a powerful emperor who constantly has people sucking up to him and living in fear of him and thus telling him what he wants to hear. He’s surrounded by flatterers who will never give him an honest answer on anything because they want to enrich themselves at his expense. So if he tells them what his dream is, they’ll just make up an interpretation that will satisfy his itching ears and thus glorify themselves. But none of that will bring him closer to solving the mystery, ending the trouble, and finding the truth. So the king decides to play hardball by essentially saying, “anyone can make up an interpretation. But if the gods are really giving you the ability to interpret my dream, they should be able to tell you the dream itself.” It’s a bit mad, but it makes sense.

Of course, what’s the result of Nebuchadnezzar’s approach here? Men stand before their king and their judge, unable to give him what he needs to be declared innocent. Men stand condemned before the all-powerful one unable to reach the impossible standard.

And so, when Daniel comes on the scene, in a way he serves as a type or prefigurement of Christ. Because what does Daniel do? Well, we don’t get the whole story in our reading for today. We’ll hear the rest tomorrow, but God gives faithful Daniel the dream and the interpretation and sets him on the path of salvation. Daniel comes with his hands full of the perfect obedience to the judge’s demand that no one else can provide. And in providing it, he rescues the other men from death.

So that’s where you can find yourself in the story of the mad but genius king of Babylon. Once you stood before the King and the Judge who demanded that you meet a standard you could not possibly meet. Once you were condemned to die if you could not offer the perfect obedience to the commandments that was outside of your grasp. But then Jesus Christ came to your aid, with His hands full of His perfect obedience. And, through His bloody cross and glorious resurrection, He has placed that obedience into your hands. He covered you in His righteousness. He has given you the dream revealed and interpreted. He has taken away the sentence of death. In Daniel, we see Jesus. And in Jesus, we have eternal life.

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