Daniel 2 Called to the Principal’s Office

Study 4: Daniel 2: 1-11, (May 6, 2020) Called to the “Principal’s Office”

In Chapter 1 of the book of Daniel, we learned that Daniel and his three friends have been part of the captives taken from Jerusalem to Babylon around 500BC, have been chosen to be trained in the wisdom of their new country, and have started figuring our how to navigate the cultural challenges presented in dietary regulations. Perhaps we are not captives under a foreign power but as Christians, we juggle our understanding of our faith and our culture. Today we live in the shadow of Covid-19 virus and upcoming elections. How we navigate the “truth” of the various groups we interface with is an internal decision. Today we are going to look at the roots of an external conflict that impacted Daniel’s life. We too face impossible expectations and challenges that impact our lives.

In the narrative, the king has a dream and demands that the wise men of his country not only explain the dream but also remind him what the dream was about. Perhaps he was trying to find out if the wise men were wise or perhaps he awoke from sleep, shaking all over and too traumatized to remember the nightmare.

Daniel 2

In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed such dreams that his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him. So the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, “I have had such a dream that my spirit is troubled by the desire to understand it.” 

  1. Can you remember a time when you were “called to the principal’s office,” too scared to do what you had been asked to do? We talk about “sweaty palm experiences or just going “blank.” Describe that experience and remember the associated feeling._____________
  2. The king was so unsettled he turned to his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and Chaldeans to help him. Who are the people in our society that you might turn to? Why?______________________

The Chaldeans said to the king (in Aramaic), “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will reveal the interpretation.” The king answered the Chaldeans, “This is a public decree: if you do not tell me both the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you do tell me the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.” 

  1. What was the cost of failure? ______________________________
  2. What was the reward for success? _________________________

Perhaps a point of reflection is that when the risk of failure outweighs  the potential for success, fear becomes a voice that is hard to ignore and can paralyze us. As a young child I was given swimming lessons  to help me develop self-confidence, doctor’s orders. At the final, the teacher asked for volunteers to jump off the high dive. I, so much wanting to impress my mother, volunteered and climbed the ladder. At the top of the ladder, the distance to the bottom had doubled or   tripled! The perspective was sooooo different. I couldn’t do it and    backed down inI humiliation – preferable to death! I carried the family title “fearling” ever after. What tips the balance you?________

They answered a second time, “Let the king first tell his servants the dream, then we can give its interpretation.” The king answered, “I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see I have firmly decreed: if you do not tell me the dream, there is but one verdict for you. You have agreed to speak lying and misleading words to me until things take a turn. Therefore, tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.” 

  1. Tunnel vision. Notice that as the tension rises both sides of the conversation become stuck in their position. Unlike chapter 1 where Daniel negotiates for a 10 day trial period for his diet, the king and his advisors are stuck in their positions. Fear can paralyze. Are there other conditions that paralyze you? Exhaustion? Grief? What helps us get “unstuck?”_______________________________________

10 The Chaldeans answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can reveal what the king demands! In fact no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. 11 The thing that the king is asking is too difficult, and no one can reveal it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with mortals.

  1. “no one can reveal it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with mortals.” Agree-disagree                                                                                                          A. There are challenges that only the gods know the answer_______                              B. the gods do not dwell with mortals. _____________________________                                C. Where do we find them? ________________________________________
  2. Are there challenges I am facing today that feel like enormous tasks facing me? What is your prayer request? _________________________

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