Nebuchadnezzar has a series of dreams that trouble him. They troubled him enough to interfere with his sleep and be desparate for the interpretation.
Daniel, you may have noticed in chapter 1, has the spiritual gift of interpreting dreams and visions. So God will use him to do that in this chapter! It’s my experience and perfectly Biblical that the Lord speaks through dreams (Job 33:14-16). Not all dreams are from the Lord – some are indigestion, some are processing the day, some are flushing out the muck of the day, some are demonic to try and frighten you, but some are indeed the Lord speaking. When we remember a dream it’s worth making notes and asking the Lord to see if it is from Him. As we are about to find in Daniel 2, God speaks to non-believers in their dreams in order to bring them to the Lord. It’s a way of knocking directly on someone’s heart.
The wise men of Babylon know that no man can interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and so the King is angry and wants to kill the lot of them!
Daniel replies to the guard with “prudence and discretion.” Caught between a rock and a hard place, the impeding execution of all wise men, Daniel steps up. He enlists the prayer support of his 3 companions and waits for revelation from the Lord. Bizarrely Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams will be interpreted with another dream! A vision of the night.
Normally when I interpret a dream, I ask the person to describe it, while listening to the Lord for the interpretation. Daniel had to tell the dream as well as interpret! Kings can be fussy like that. Daniel describes and interprets the statue as 4 kingdoms starting with Nebuchadnezzars, each one get worse than the previous. The first is glorious gold, then a breast of silver, then iron and finally feet of iron and clay.
No details are supplied, therefore no commentators agree fully on what and when these kingdoms are! What is clear is that an eternal kingdom is set up during the last one. Deut 29:29 tells us that the secret things belong to God – don’t worry that we don’t understand all the details. God will reveal it as they are fulfilled.
Daniel’s interpretation brings Nebuchadnezzar to recognise God as the God of gods and Lord of kings. That leads to honour for Daniel and jobs for his friends.
We can apply this passage by listening out for when a colleague or friend has a dream. Ask them to tell it and ask the Lord to reveal it to you!
God will speak – it’s a promise in Acts 2!