Chapter 2 of Daniel opens up with a rather grave situation. Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful man in the world at this time has been having dreams that made his mind troubled and kept him from sleeping. So he summoned the “wisest” people in his kingdom: the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. You see, the king was a pretty smart guy, he knew that whomever could tell him what he had been dreaming could also tell him what it meant, which meant he could see right through the pleadings of his astrologers, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.” Nope, said the king, and he one-ups them, saying that if they cannot tell him what he needs to hear then they will be cut into tiny little pieces and their houses destroyed. This is when palms get a little more than sweaty and hearts starts racing–they ask once more, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”
The king is on to their game, he tells them they are stalling, knowing that they are trying to conspire and cover up their inability to help, so he stands his ground: You tell me what’s going on and I won’t kill you.
The astrologers push back, what you are asking is impossible! (Nothing is impossible with God.) No king has ever done such a thing! No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men.
The king had had enough, he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon and the decree was sent forth to do just that, which meant, too, that they had to go look for Daniel and his friends to deliver the same consequences.
Here’s where Daniel’s leadership techniques once again kick in, because when the commander of the king’s guard came to him,
1) Daniel spoke with wisdom and tact–truly friends, if there was one gift I could have more than anything else, it would be just this, and where did this wisdom and tact come from? God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth.
2) At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time–there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for time to consider a matter. Satan wants knee-jerk reactions, he wants anger and he looooves when we try to seek our own methods of making a situation “fair.” Daniel needed time to think and most importantly:
3) To Pray. And ask his friends to pray–And these weren’t just any old prayers, Daniel 2: 18 says “He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then,
4) Daniel praised the God of heaven when his prayers were answered
After this, Daniel approaches Arioch, whom the king had appointed as executioner and–
5) Pleads on behalf of all the wise men of Babylon and explains to Arioch that he can interpret the dream. Arioch takes Daniel to the king and the king asks him, are you able to interpret the dream?
6) Daniel ensures that credit is given where credit is due: v. 28: There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries (Hallelujah!!) He (he, HE) has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these…Daniel proceeds to tell the King his dream.
Daniel continues to the credit giving as he proceeds with the interpretation: vs. 36 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. “
After Daniel fully explains both the vision of the multi-faceted statue and it’s demise and how this represents Nebuchadnezzar’s reign and those of the kingdoms that follow, Daniel continues in the same vein, saying, v.45c “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.”
The king falls prostrate before Daniel, assigning him honor and gives an offering and incense of his behalf. He finally acknowledges, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a realer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery. He placed Daniel in a high position, making him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men…at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained a the royal court.
As a leader, it is imperative that you never, ever forget two things: #1 the people behind you #2 the God above you. Daniel could have leveraged his God-given talent of dream interpretation to not only elevate himself, but to conveniently forget the rest of the wise men in the kingdom who were marked for execution. Daniel was merciful, he was compassionate and he desired to do the right thing. Secondly, over and over again, Daniel NEVER forgot, nor did he cease to acknowledge before men that the ONE TRUE GOD was responsible for these miraculous feats, again and again, he gave credit to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for talents and abilities that really could only have been sent by an omnipotent Creator.