The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed. – Daniel 2:44
Daniel was in Exile. His people were now foreign slaves. King Nebuchadnezzer had come. The Babylonians had conquered Jerusalem. An overwhelming percentage of God’s people, including Daniel himself, had been hauled into this Babylonian Exile.
King and kingdom were now bad words. On a daily basis, king meant Nebuchadnezzer – violent, oppressive, persecutor – and kingdom meant slavery under a foreign people’s hand. It seemed hopeless. And from a human perspective, it utterly was.
This Exile would last seventy years. Therefore, those who’d been born into Judean freedom would almost certainly die under Babylonian oppression. (Hopeless?) Others were born into slavery and for much (if not all) of their lives, they would live continuously in oppression. (Hopeless?)
And now comes Daniel’s words here in Daniel 2. Who was Daniel speaking to?
- First, Daniel was speaking literally to King Nebuchadnezzer. The earthly king had a dream of great statue. The Heavenly King revealed to Daniel the meaning of the dream. And what was the message to a proud king who seemingly conquered the world? God, through Daniel, was saying essentially, “O Nebuchadnezzer, whole empires will rise and fall, but ‘the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed.’” Essentially the Lord of heaven and earth was saying, “I’m King; you’re temporary. Why not humble yourself?”
- But we don’t quote Daniel just because the prophet’s words were meant for just Nebuchadnezzer! Daniel’s words were, second, a message of great hope to his fellow Jews. Essentially God’s promise was, “Yes, you may feel oppressed now, and yes, there may be times of future trials, but don’t worry, in the end, ‘the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed.’” This is a powerful, helpful, life-giving word of prophecy to people in times of discouragement. The prophet points his people forward and upward (instead of toward their downward, temporary present). Daniel is essentially saying, “If the true and conquering King is in charge eternally, you do not need to fear the present because he’s absolutely in charge now too (regardless of how dire your current circumstances look).”
- Finally, Daniel (and all the prophets) speaks to every one of God’s children whenever we face trials. In his prophetic role, Jesus, for example, spoke a similar word to his disciples. He said, “In the world you will face persecution. But take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). “Take courage,” Daniel (and Jesus) are saying, “Because if the true and conquering King is in charge eternally, you do not need to fear the present because he’s in charge now too, regardless of how dire your current circumstances look.”
In Christ’s Love,
a guy who doesn’t fear
lower-case kings because
he trusts in the true,