King of Kings – Br. Luke Ditewig

Br. Luke Ditewig

Daniel 2:31-45

Remember Daniel in a lions’ den and in a furnace of fire? Before those awesome saves, Daniel did what no magician could do. King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem in 597 B.C.E. and marched thousands of Jews 900 miles to Babylon to live in exile. He had some young men from Israelite nobility brought to serve in the palace including Daniel and three friends given new names: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. King Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream. He demanded wise men tell him both what he dreamed and what the dream meant. They replied: “No human can do that.” Enraged, the king commanded all the wise men be killed.[i]

Daniel said he would do what the king asked. Daniel went to his three friends and with them prayed for God’s mercy. Daniel had a vision that night which revealed the mystery. Daniel prayed thanking God.[ii] Then Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar both the dream and its interpretation. We heard that read tonight. There’s a large statue with layers of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and clay. A stone cut not by human hands strikes the statue which completely breaks apart and is swept away. What this means is that Nebuchadnezzar all subsequent kingdoms will all fall away when God makes an eternal kingdom.

This dream has been used by some to label kingdoms, predicting the end of time, but that’s not helpful. Jesus said repeatedly: you don’t know the day or the hour. Keep awake.[iii] The dream reaffirms God alone is sovereign. All kings and kingdoms will fall away. At the end of time—or the “fullness”—all human powers fade away.[iv] God establishes a kingdom for the whole earth. The dream points to hope in God’s power and that those who serve God will participate in an everlasting kingdom.

More important that the dream or its interpretation is what happens immediately after.[v] “Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, worshipped Daniel, and commanded that a grain-offering and incense be offered to him. The king said to Daniel, ‘Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery!’”[vi] King Nebuchadnezzar, one of the greatest enemies, who was known for power as king of kings, even he acknowledges God. Even the king of Babylon bows and confesses he is not ultimate, even he worships God.

This story affirms the faith of God’s people down the ages. As Isaiah wrote of God: “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.”[vii] As Paul similarly wrote: “at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”[viii]

This story like others in Daniel was told and retold for conveying truth and hope for a people in exile longing to return home, for people coerced under powerful and violent rulers. It’s for us today as people around the world suffer war and violence, injustice and oppression, poverty and disaster. One day all human rulers will fall away, even the most mighty, even the worst enemy. Jesus will reign. Justice will roll down likPoe mighty river.[ix] People will come from north and south, east and west to sit at banquet together.[x]

This story assures again God loves everyone and goes to great lengths to embrace all. We sang earlier: “As nature sings, let people join and human discord cease, for God shall come to judge the world with justice, love, and peace.”[xi] A dream and one needed to both recall and interpret it is not our typical way, but it’s one of countless ways God comes.

What frightens you? What wrong seems too big? God is bigger and will come bringing peace. God is bigger. God comes in a multitude of ways with love that makes no sense.[xii] Like Daniel, turn to and trust God, dear friends, the King of kings.

[i] Daniel 2:1-13

[ii] Daniel 2:14-23

[iii] For example, Mathew 25:1-13

[iv] W. Sibley Towner (1984) Daniel (Interpretation, a Bible commentary for preaching and teaching). Atlanta, GA: John Knox Press, p45.

[v] Towner, p43.

[vi] Daniel 2:46-47

[vii] Towner, p44.

[viii] Philippians 2:10-11

[ix] Amos 5:24

[x] Luke 13:29

[xi] Carl P. Daw, Jr. (1995) “Sing to the Lord no threadbare song.” Hope Publishing Company.

[xii] Jennifer Strawbridge, Jarred Mercer and Peter Groves (2019) Love Makes No Sense. London, England: SCM Press.

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