“He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is LORD of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in manmade temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need there is. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose in all of this was that the nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from anyone of us.” (Acts 17:24-27)
“The LORD gave him (Nebuchadnezzar) victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah.” (Daniel 1:2)
Nebuchadnezzar had once thought this great victory was because he was so powerful. He came to learn that the LORD in heaven’s power far exceeded his own. And that any power he had was only because the LORD Almighty had handed it down to him.
Because God gave Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego “an unusual aptitude for learning the literature and science of the time. And God gave Daniel special ability in understanding the meaning of dreams,” (1:17) they stood apart from the other young men who completed the king’s three year training period with them. “In all matters requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, the king found the advice of these young men to be ten times better than that of all the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.” (1:20)
God had a wonderful plan and purpose to use these young men of integrity, who refused to defile themselves with the king’s rich food, who surrendered themselves fully to serve the God of their ancestors while living in the foreign land of Babylon.
After these four young men from the royal tribe of Judah were appointed to the king’s regular staff of advisors (1:19), the LORD gave the king a dream. It was a dream that greatly disturbed him, and he was determined to discover its meaning. To be sure that his wise men would not lie about the meaning of his dream, he commanded that he first be told what his dream was and then be told the meaning. This was impossible, his wise men assured him. But the king would not be swayed and ordered all of his wise men put to death if his request was not fulfilled.
Daniel heard of the critical situation and asked the king for time to interpret his dream. He asked his friends to pray with him that the LORD would show mercy and reveal the dream to Daniel. The LORD was merciful, and “Daniel praised the God of heaven, saying, Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he alone has all wisdom and power. He determines the courses of world events; he removes kings and sets others on the throne. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he himself is surrounded by light. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded.” (2:20-23)
So Daniel explained to the king both the dream and its meaning. “While your Majesty was sleeping, you dreamed of coming events. The revealer of mysteries has shown you what is going to happen. And it is not because I am wiser than any living person that I know the secret of your dream, but because God wanted you to understand what you were thinking about.” (2:29-30)
Daniel went on to describe the statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream, made of different materials, that was finally crushed by a rock. He explained, “Your Majesty, you are a king over many kings. The God of heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. He has made you the ruler over all the inhabited world and has put even the animals and birds under your control. You are the head of gold.” (2:37-38)
Daniel interpreted the meaning of the chest and arms, the belly and thighs, and the legs and feet as subsequent kingdoms that would rise after Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Then a rock would come to shatter all of these kingdoms, when the “God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed; no one will ever conquer it. It will shatter these kingdoms into nothingness, but it will stand forever.” (2:44)
The king believed and worshipped Daniel. He proclaimed, “Truly, your God is the God of Gods, the LORD over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret.” (2:47)
As was displayed through Nebuchadnezzar's dream,“God decided beforehand which (nations) should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose in all of this was that the nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from anyone of us.” (Acts 17)
God was working out the events of King Nebuchadnezzar’s life so that he, who was once far from God, could be brought near. For that is His purpose for all of the nations. That those from every nation, and tribe, and people and language would seek and find Him. We will all be gathered around the throne, before the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9)
His purpose will be fulfilled.