My husband was being a jerk. In fact, I later found out that he was being unfaithful and everyone in our life group and church knew about it and sided with him, not ME, the innocent person in this entire scenario. Of course, when I WOKE UP and realized this was just a horrible dream, I was still mad at him. I nearly kicked him as he lay in bed sleeping just like EVERY OTHER TIME he had done something stupid in my dreams.
Instead, I went about my morning, fuming at him and wondering why he would have done something so horrible in my dreamworld which is so obviously contrary to his behavior in reality.
It reminds me of a story of another dreamer, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He had a deeply disturbing dream which shook him to his core. He called in every magician, enchanter, sorcerer, and astrologer in his entire kingdom to explain this dream to him. He told them they must first tell him the dream itself AND offer its interpretation or he would have them CUT TO PIECES and their homes destroyed. (Dan 2:5)
Sounds like a reasonable guy, right?
Daniel, a young Israelite taken into captivity by the Babylonians around 605 BC, along with countless other handsome, smart, and gifted young men were set apart to serve King Nebuchadnezzar. The very one who had enslaved them.
The “wise men”of Babylon begged to hear the dream so they could “interpret” it for the king, but he knew they would mislead him to protect themselves. So when they couldn’t produce the dream AND its interpretation, he ordered the execution of every wise man in Babylon. This included Daniel and his friends.
But when the commander came to Daniel to do what was decreed, Daniel spoke to him “with wisdom and with tact.” (Dan 2:14)
He learned from the official what had transpired and then went in to see the king himself. He asked for time so that he might interpret the dream for him.
When he left the king’s presence, he explained the situation to his friends and they prayed for the answer to be revealed to Daniel so that all the wise men of Babylon could be spared.
(As for my own dream, when I confronted Matt with his behavior, he profusely apologized for his behavior in my dreams and for any damages real or perceived! He is very wise on occasion!)
Later that night, God revealed the mystery to Daniel and he knew what he needed to do.
Ecclesiastes 10:4 “If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great errors to rest.”
We often find ourselves wondering “Why am I here?” Why am I at this job or this ministry? Why do those over me seem to ask the impossible? And worse, why should I be unjustly penalized?
When others seem to ask the impossible, our first inclination is to rage and rebel- to tell those over us that they are wrong- maybe even evil- for how they are treating us. And they may listen. Or they may fire you or withhold bonuses or promised incentives. Depending on their position, the consequence could even be worse.
Most would agree that is wrong, just like most would agree that Nebuchadnezzar’s decree to sentence every single wise man to death was just as wrong- they had done nothing deserving such harsh treatment.
But calmness can lay great errors to rest. Keeping our head in the heat of the moment can totally change the course of another’s life and possibly save our own!
That’s our part. That’s what WE can do.
Then there’s GOD’s part. There’s what He can do next.
After Daniel approached the King, he urged his friends to plead for mercy from God concerning this mystery- they prayed and prayed for God to reveal the answers they needed to save themselves and every other wise man in Babylon. And God answered. He revealed to Daniel the dream itself AND allowed him to understand and explain it to the king.
The news was not good for Nebuchadnezzar. In fact, it was terrible news for he learned the eventual fate of his kingdom- what he was building and creating would ultimately fail. This is probably how he knew Daniel was speaking the truth. He had suspected his magicians, enchanters, and astrologers would twist the meaning of the dream and make it somehow SOUND positive, when deep down, he knew it couldn’t be good news.
But Nebuchadnezzar was so relieved to have this dream explained, he fell down before Daniel, honored him, and spared every wise man in his kingdom.
What was about to become a great error in his reign, was laid to rest by the calm response of a wise young man.
For us, we often look at situations and believe it is hopeless. Most of us have worked for an impossible or irrational boss or faced situations that seem hopeless. And our initial response may be panic, frustration, or even anger.
Daniel could have gotten angry. He could have gone in to the king and said, “You don’t know who we are! You don’t know who you’re messing with! We serve the one true God, and He can utterly end you!” Daniel could have prayed down hell fire and brimstone on this wicked king and God could have granted that request. But he didn’t. Daniel stayed calm and sought God for the answer they needed. He showed wisdom beyond his years.
And God came through in a big way.
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he know what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.” Daniel 2:20-23
When we are faced with the unimaginable, the insurmountable, we must stay calm, identify the problem, and pray to God to reveal to us the solution!