Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
for you have made known to us the king’s matter.” – Daniel 2:17-23
The matter that was troubling the king was beyond the knowledge of the king’s magicians, enchanters, and seers. He wanted them to reveal the interpretation to a dream that he had had without telling them the dream. His men thought this was impossible, which is a reasonable claim. He didn’t care: they were put on notice that they would be torn limb by limb, and otherwise horrifically killed if they failed to tell him the dream.
Daniel, however, will tell the king the dream and the interpretation, for he will seek the knowledge from God and count on him to reveal the dream and its meaning to him. But even in that confidence Daniel will seek the help of his friends. They were to intercede for God’s mercy, and reveal the dream to Daniel. Their prayers must have been powerful, if not recounted. In two sentences we are told that the mystery was revealed to Daniel and that Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
Daniel’s prayer is instructive for us who wish to acknowledge God for who he is, and call upon him in a personal way. He begins by extolling the virtues of God: his might, power, his providential placement and removal of kings, his glory, knowledge, and wisdom in all things. It’s all “He”.
There is an objective truth to who God is, what he has done, and his true glory and might. Our prayers of praise do not cause God to be exalted – except before others. Our prayers do acknowledge God’s holiness, might, power, and glory. We do not make God great by our prayers. He is the Great I AM. He was, and is, and is to come – whether or not we acknowledge it.
Our acknowledgement of God’s glory gives witness to the world and all who hear that God is great.
But Daniel doesn’t stop there. He then turns from “He” to “You”. He no longer talks about God, he talks to and with God. God has revealed the king’s dreams. Daniel is keenly aware that God has heard his prayers and he speaks to God about that. Daniel is speaking as though God is listening. His words – though recorded for us to read these many centuries later – are for God’s ears. He may or may not care if others hear him praying. But he certainly wants God to hear.
It’s good to talk about God; to consider his attributes, and reflect on his being. But it is also good to speak to God, to call upon him as though he is actually listening to you, and to do so with great praise and thanks. For indeed, God has given wisdom and might, and knowledge, and hope, and salvation.
Thank you, dear Father, for these precious gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord and by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.