Daniel 2:20
and declared: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him.
Sermons
A Specific Remedy for Human DistressJ.D. Davies Daniel 2:14-23
The Dream FoundH.T. Robjohns Daniel 2:14-30
Daniel About to Interpret Nebuchadnezzar's DreamH. B. Moffat, M.A.Daniel 2:20-23
Daniel's Prayer of ThanksgivingP. H. Hunter.Daniel 2:20-23
Daniel's ThanksgivingJ. White.Daniel 2:20-23
The Workings of GratitudeW. M. Taylor, D.D.Daniel 2:20-23


Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. In this section Daniel is the principal actor; and as he moves through the successive scenes of this part of the sacred drama, his character shines like the light, and may illumine for us the path of life. We shall, therefore, keep him prominent throughout. Observe Daniel -

I. IN THE SHADE.

1. The position. Although Daniel had been trained for distinguished services, pronounced by the king to excel all the magi (Daniel 1:20), he was forgotten by the king, ignored by his fellows of the magian college through jealousy, only discovered to share a common ruin. This was a picture of the trials of his whole career. Daniel the eminent had to contend with the jealousy of the mean. This spirit begot the attempt to cast his companions into the burning fiery furnace. Years after it throws him to the lions. So now the captain of the king's guard "sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.

2. The moral attitude. Daniel was ever animated by a sense of duty, and more by a readiness to serve those who either neglected or opposed him.

3. The providential call. At the critical moment God, in wisdom and love, supervened and intervened; broke the meshes of the confining net; and called the saint out into that ministry for which he was intellectually and spiritually fit, and also morally ready.

II. AT THE KING'S GATE.

1. The calm spirit of Daniel. There was much to exasperate in the whole situation. Cruel death was impending. But Daniel lived high above events in a serene heaven of the soul, and was, therefore, prepared to come down into the incidents of life, and act with the best effect.

2. His use of means. To act well in great emergencies requires the coolness of spiritual wisdom. Daniel:

(1) Had conference with Arioch.

(2) Sent a respectful message to the king. (We understand that Daniel did not go himself, till later, actually into the presence of the king, but sent in the request by the proper officer.)

3. His success. This may be attributed especially to three causes, note specially the last:

(1) The king's remembrance of Daniel.

(2) The awakening of a great hope in the king's breast.

(3) The hearts of men are in the keeping of God.

III. WITH HIS OWN COMPANY.

1. The prayer. Here observe:

(1) Daniel did not delay. He lost no time. He did not go to consult with the magi, whether there was anything in their art, in their books, that might be of use in the matter. With some men prayer is the last resort instead of the first.

(2) Resolved to make the difficulty a matter of prayer.

(3) Fell back into the soul fellowship to which he belonged. (ver. 17).

(4) Seemed the power of united supplication.

In the prayer itself the following specialities are suggestive:

(1) It kept prominent the exalted supremacy of God.

(2) It appealed to his mercies."

(3) It went upon the principle of committing all that troubles us to God.

(4) It concerned a great public interest. But

(5) one in which the private safety of the petitioners was involved.

2. The prevalence. The all-important fact is that the prayer was answered. The answer was revealed either in a dream, or more probably in a waking vision of the night; and the vision was no doubt accompanied by a clear attestation of the truth of it. Can any one doubt the possibility of such revelation, who has realized to himself the nearness of the Eternal to the human mind?

3. The praise. This was:

(1) Instantaneous. Daniel did not wait till he had verified the dream by audience with the king. As soon as ever he received the mercy, he was ready to praise.

(2) Full. Matthew Henry puts it well.

(a) Daniel gives to God the glory of what he is in himself.

(b) Of what he is to the world of mankind.

(c) Of this particular discovery.

(3) Sympathetic. Friends were associated in the praise, as in the prayer.

IV. IN THE KING'S CLOSET. Here we have Daniel, the living representative of what a true prophet should be. He is not only a type of him whom technically we call a prophet, but of every one who is for God the mouthpiece of vital truth to man. Before the king:

1. He sinks himself. (Ver. 30.)

2. He forgives personal adversaries. (Ver. 24.)

3. He is forward to put down all that exalts itself against God. (Ver. 27.)

4. He has a sense of the moment of his message. (Vers. 2:8, 29.)

5. He glorifies God. (Ver. 28.) - R.







Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever.
Such a prayer sheds a flood of light upon the character of the man who utters it. It was addressed to the "God of Heaven," and that title has a peculiar significance when the facts of Daniel's history are taken into account. He had been brought up among an idolatrous people, who worshipped "gods many and lords many," the sun, moon, and planets, and a host of inferior deities. Despite these influences he had kept untainted the faith of his fathers, God was for him the God, the true, the only existing; and He was "the God of Heaven," the Almighty Ruler who had fashioned that mighty host of stars which the Chaldeans adored, and had traced out those courses from which they professed to gain their knowledge of the future. As regards the prayer itself, it will be observed how an ascription of praise both begins and ends it, as with that prayer which the Saviour taught. He "changeth the times and seasons" — not conjunctions of the planets. He "removeth kings and setteth up kings"— not human ambitions and earthly armies. He "giveth wisdom to the wise "— not the exponents of Chaldean lore. He "revealeth the deep and secret things" — not the astrologers and diviners that call on heathen gods. There is a kind of subdued triumph in the prayer, a spirit of exultation in its language, without any alloy of mere mortal pride, but beseeming one who had trusted so fully and been rewarded so richly.

(P. H. Hunter.)

The name of God is an Hebrew form of expression for God Himself. It is, therefore, the same as if He had said, "Blessed be God for ever and ever." There is a great difference between the manner in which God blesses us and that in which we bless Him. God blesses us by showing us kindness, and bestowing on us such benefits as tend to promote our present and eternal well-being. In this manner we cannot bless God. To bless God is simply to ascribe to him the glory that is due unto His name, and not to give Him something which we have, and He has not. To be in the frame of mind which leads us to admire and adore the Divine excellency, is to be in the highest state of emotion of which our minds are susceptible. There is no region above this into which our faculties can ascend. To contemplate and adore the Divine character will be the sum of heavenly beatitude, "Blessed be the name of God." Let Him be praised, extolled, and magnified. Let earth and Heaven, time and eternity, unite in this exercise. "Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever!" This implies that God Would deserve to be praised for ever and ever. Human excellencies wither and decay. But the excellencies of the Divine character are everlasting and unchangeable. "Blessed be the name of God, for ever and ever, for wisdom and might are His." Wisdom and might are God's in every sense. He is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in wisdom; infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in power. There is nothing which He does not know; nothing that He cannot do. He is so wonderful in counsel that no flaw deforms His plans; so excellent in working that no obstacle can frustrate the execution of them. Creation, in all its departments, proclaims these attributes. That, however, which called forth the exclamation from the prophet's mind was the contemplation of Divine agency, as presented to him in the vision, over-ruling everything connected with the rise, progress, and ruin of the four monarchies, to prepare for the erection of Christ's Kingdom over all the earth. We may learn from Daniel's example, in reading history, which is just the unfolding of the vision, to look beyond the visible actors unto God. We should not rest content with knowing the exploits of warriors and the plans of statesmen. We should endeavour to see the wisdom and the power of Him "who ruleth among the kingdoms of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will." And if we would see God in history, we must compare causes and effects, events and their consequences. We must not be content with looking to what occurs; we must observe what comes out of occurrences; especially must we take in the whole range of this vision, and consider the effect which every general movement had upon the world, in the way of preparing it for the millennial glory. This is the end in which all the general movements are to issuer Looked upon in this light, history becomes one of the purest fountains of wisdom and devotion — one of the brightest mirrors reflecting the Divine attributes, every page of which may be inscribed, "blessed be the name of God, for ever and ever, for wisdom and might are His." Contemplating the changes presented to him by this prophetic vision, that which most impressed itself upon the mind of Daniel was the supreme, universal, uncontrollable sovereignty of God. "He changeth the times and the seasons, He removeth kings and setteth up kings." The seasons sometimes signify the marked times and periods of the natural year. In this sense God is the author of all the revolutions of the seasons. It is He who daily teacheth "the sun to rise and know his time of going down." But the times and the seasons, in this passage, are to be understood in connection with the four monarchies, and denote the period appointed for the various revolutions they were to undergo. When He is said "to change the times and the seasons," this implies that God hath appointed to each of these monarchies the time when it shall rise, the period of its duration, the revolutions through which it is to pass, end that, by His providence, He brings about each of these changes at His own appointed time. "He removeth kings and setteth up kings." Kings, as in the following vision, may here be used for kingdoms. The meaning will then be, "The rise and fall of empires is from God." While in the rise and fall of empire God is sovereign. His sovereignty in this, as in everything else, is not arbitrary. "He removeth kings and setteth up kings," in infinite wisdom. Each of the four kingdoms answered a most important purpose in regard to the human race. This is a very glorious view of God. Independent Himself, all things depend on Him. Unchangeable, He is the author of all changes. The God of order, He is also the author of all revolutions. This is a very comfortable view of the world. It is proverbially said to be a world of change. Nothing in it is fixed — nothing stable. We never lie down and rise up in precisely the same world. But here is an anchor that may stay us in every storm, here is a polar star to steer by in safety, amid the teasings and the hearings of the tempestuous sea of time. All the changes that are in the world come from God, and God is unchangeable. The tide of revolution which at times sweeps with such terrific power across His footstool cannot reach His throne, and the lapse of ages cannot affect His nature. Having adored the Divine character as manifested in the dispensations connected with the four prophetical kingdoms, Daniel now renders thanks for Divine goodness shown in the revelation of the vision unto him. "He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding," etc. While all knowledge comes from God, this is specially true of the knowledge of what is hidden and future. "He revealeth the deep and secret things." Whatever glimpses men have gotten into the future, have come from God. And how consolatory is it to reflect that God sees into the darkness of futurity. The throne of providence is often encompassed with clouds and thick darkness. Let us remember that when Daniel disclosed the dream which baffled all the wisdom of Chaldea, he fell down before God in grateful adoration, and, instead of boasting over the wise men, as many of the expositors of prophecy have done over one another, his very first request, as we shall see in the following verses, was in these words, "Destroy not the wise men of Babylon." And in all cases the study of prophecy is profitable only when it increases our admiration of the Deity, and our humanity to our fellow creatures. On the other hand, it is a sure proof that they have not studied prophecy aright, who, as the result of it, have increased in dogmatism, and not in devotion — who, as if inspired by misanthropy, become denouncers of wrath upon the world, and seem to exult in fancy over the downfall of nations, and hurl forth their anathemas against all who refuse to receive the wildest wanderings of their imagination as the infallible dictates of Divine truth.

(J. White.)

I cannot but think that the conduct of the prophet will impart, when carefully examined, practical lessons of the widest application. You will none of you be required, as Daniel was, to recall to the memory of another the details of a forgotten dream, and to interpret with accuracy any signification which might be supposed to attach to it; but, nevertheless, you must all of you be tried, as Daniel was, through occurrences the dealing with which will test at once your faith, your gratitude, and your love.

1. And I apprehend that the narrative ought to prove to you that under the pressure of even the very heaviest afflictions nothing, in a multitude of instances, can be less to the point than inaction or despair. There are, of course, numerous cases wherein the exhibition of a meek resignation involves the sole duty required; but those dispensations are frequent, concerning which it is the appointment of Providence, that men shall help themselves; entreating fervently, indeed, the bestowal of that gracious aid without which their most toilsome exertions must be futile; but still tasking their own energies to the utmost. In the instance before us, prompt action was the primary obligation of the prophet. He accordingly proceeds at once into the royal presence, and undertakes to set at rest, within a reasonable time, the monarch's anxiety as to both of the points specified. But it does not, for a moment, occur to him that he could be competent, in his own strength, to fulfil his engagement; for, together with his three companions, he directly betakes himself to the Divine footstool; and they offer their joint supplications that it may please the Lord to disclose the nature and bearings of the secret. So then, it was no outburst of self-sufficiency which impelled the prophet to apprise the king that in due time he would discover to him all which he desired to know. A more striking illustration of the unlimited possession and of the unbounded influence of faith, than is supplied by the prophet's course of action and its consequences, it were hardly possible to conceive. You recollect what strong terms our blessed Saviour employs as descriptive of the mighty effects which would be produced by the manifestation of such a spirit. Faith would even remove mountains, He declares. And you cannot but remark that Daniel seemed to entertain no doubts of the satisfactory accomplishment of the wondrous task undertaken by him; he, without a moment's hesitation, assures the king of his ability to perform it. At the same time, I would again remind you that his confidence was strictly connected with his resolution to resort, with assiduity, to the right means of procuring success; and I repeat that the work of earnest supplication to which he betook himself was undeniably the strongest evidence of his faith. His, you see, was not that so-called faith which eventuates in nothing practical; his assurance of the result, unwavering as that was, was nothing else than an assurance that God's blessing would rest upon the due employment of those fitting means which he was determined not to neglect. It rested with the Almighty to suggest to the mind of the prophet the dream and its interpretation, whilst it devolved upon His servants, with all earnestness, to entreat the bestowal of suggestions which He alone could impart. And may we not succeed in deriving hence a lesson for ourselves? Whilst it should at all times be the highest delight of the Christian to repose on the justifying merits of his Redeemer an unhesitating and a grateful confidence; whilst he should permit no floods to overwhelm, nor fire to consume, nor lapse of time to impair the vigour of his faith; oh! let him ever keep in remembrance the great truth, that the character of his works and his course of life will, after all, stand as the final tests of the genuineness of that faith; and that no mere consciousness or semblance of occasional spiritual fervour can compensate for the absence of all practical evidences of the sincerity of his profession. Like Daniel, he may feel perfectly assured, whilst adopting this course, that the requisite support will be given; and thus is he completely equipped for every enterprise.

2. But let me now more particularly call your attention to the circumstance that the prophet, when in quest of the inspiration which alone could enable him to perform his task, did not satisfy himself with merely presenting his own supplications, how impassioned soever, before the throne of grace, but desired his companions to mingle their entreaties with his; and thus may be considered to have taken every possible means of obtaining from his Maker a favourable response. And hereby also may we receive instruction — instruction having reference to the value of united prayer. But Daniel did not confine himself to entreaties that God would graciously enable him to disclose the details and import of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. His supplications having secured the accomplishment of his desire, he omitted not forthwith to tender to the Divine Being the unfeigned and reverential expression of his gratitude. "I thank Thee, and praise Thee, O Thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of Thee; for Thou hast made known unto us the king's matter." And it must at once be admitted that in pursuing the course which he did, the prophet set an example which should be copied even by ourselves, who enjoy the privilege of living under another and far higher dispensation. We complain, and justly, that men do not sufficiently betake themselves to prayer; and yet, after all, they far more frequently cultivate prayer than praise. How many are there who, when visited with afflictions, their deliverance from which appears to be almost hopeless, or when placed in some position of difficulty or danger, where special Divine assistance is absolutely required, will humble themselves in the dust before the Majesty on high — will confess unreservedly and earnestly their sins and shortcomings; and will almost "pray without ceasing" that they may be guided amid their perplexities or rescued from their perils! Yet let a kindly Providence but accede to their entreaties — let these perplexities be surmounted, or these perils be happily removed, and, in multiplied instances, the warmth and constancy of their devotions survive not the change; the period of distress and trial seems now to be passed; and alas! the very consideration which should call forth the loudest accents of thanksgiving and praise tends only to the renewal of that spiritual indifference which had for the time been parted with.

3. Let me ask you, in the next place, to observe the mode in which the prophet addresses the Great Being whom, in the words of the text, he was approaching with "the voice of thanksgiving." His experience, doubtless, supplied him with many instances of Divine watchfulness, Divine care, and Divine support. That he cherished a most grateful sense of God's mercies to him is quite undoubted; and we may rest assured that at all times he recognised in the Maker of heaven and earth his Guardian and his Guide. But, nevertheless, it is not as his own God that he addresses the High and Holy One in the passage under consideration. He addresses Him as the God of his fathers, thus showing that his memory was stored with incidents wherein, in former times, God had proved Himself a Shield and a Succour. His words tell that he must have felt, and have exulted in feeling, that — "the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever" — the eye of that mighty and uncreated Intelligence which had looked down with tenderness and affection upon the ancestry, would continue to beam brightly and benignantly upon the descendant. Oh! that there were more amongst ourselves of such simple but well-founded, beautiful, and heaven-born faith! Oh! that our hope, that our trust, that our joy, that our love, might be inspired, elevated, augmented, as well by the remembered history of the past as by personal and more recent experience! God is still, as in the days of David, "a very present Help," a "Fortress," and a "Deliverer!" But the declaration of Daniel that the "wisdom and might" which then belonged to him had been conferred by God, demands, in another point of view, our attention. I have already admitted that there were, in his case, peculiar circumstances which exist not in our own. But acknowledging that both in the mode of their communication and in the largeness of their amount, as well as in the direction which they took, his endowments differed very widely indeed from any which have ever been bestowed in modern times — throughout which, in fact, there has been no occasion for the exercise, to any extent, of supernatural powers by man — we may contend still for the desirableness of ever cherishing the recollection, that the human faculties have been imparted by a higher Power, as calculated to exert a most salutary influence. It will dispose us to dedicate these faculties to our Maker's service, engaging in no pursuit which His statutes have condemned, and devoting ourselves to the practice of every virtue which He enjoins. It will tend to bring home to us the consciousness that "we are not our own." It will beget a sense of responsibility to which otherwise we should be strangers. It will check pride, and will thus prepare the heart for profiting by progressive communications of Divine grace.

4. In conclusion, let me point out to you that the Almighty availed Himself of even the iniquitous decree of a selfish tyrant by producing a most striking display of His omniscience, by making an important addition to the prophetic announcements, and, farther, by promoting the temporal welfare of one of the most devoted and distinguished of His servants. Doubtless, indeed, His providence was at work, suggesting to the monarch's mind the exciting dream. But assuredly the edict by which the dream was succeeded can be regarded as no dispensation of His providence. Yet mark how speedily that providence brought good out of evil! Then, under no circumstances, however apparently untoward or threatening, must the Christian give way to despair.

(H. B. Moffat, M.A.)

Turning to the practical improvement of this narrative, we have:

1. The value of united prayer. When Daniel undertook the solution of the difficulty, he engaged his three friends to pray earnestly on his behalf, and we may be sure he was fervent in supplication on his own account. He believed in God as the hearer of prayer. The issue showed that he acted wisely. There is a special promise to united prayer.

2. An illustration of the workings of gratitude. The moment he had received the revelation Daniel poured out his heart in thanksgiving to God. How many, when they have got the blessing for which they asked, forget to be grateful for it! We cry when we are in extremity, but when the terror passes we forget to give thanks to Him who has removed its cause.

3. An illustration of the devout humility of genuine piety. Daniel is careful to let the king understand that he has not received the secret from God for any excellence about himself. He fears to stand between the king and Jehovah. He gives all the glory to the Most High. There is always a modesty about true greatness, and you may know whether or not piety is genuine by inquiring if it be characterised by humility. The good man will never seek to hide God from the view of his fellow men.

4. An illustration of faithful friendship. When Daniel was exalted, he did not forget his companions. Knit to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah by congenial tastes, as well as by the ties of country and religion, he had become to them a friend indeed; and they had shown their deep interest in and attachment to him, not only in sharing his protest against the diet of the College, but also in praying for him at his special request. It was meet, therefore, that he should remember them in his prosperity. But this conduct is not common.

(W. M. Taylor, D.D.)

Links
Daniel 2:20 NIV
Daniel 2:20 NLT
Daniel 2:20 ESV
Daniel 2:20 NASB
Daniel 2:20 KJV

Daniel 2:20 Bible Apps
Daniel 2:20 Parallel
Daniel 2:20 Biblia Paralela
Daniel 2:20 Chinese Bible
Daniel 2:20 French Bible
Daniel 2:20 German Bible

Daniel 2:20 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Daniel 2:19
Top of Page
Top of Page