The Rock Won


Times were difficult in the days of Daniel. Judah had been overrun by Babylon. Much of the nation had been deported—Daniel included. Babylon was quite proud she had destroyed Jerusalem and raided the temple of God. The people of God were defeated and discouraged. Was Marduk (the chief god of Babylon) stronger than God?

In Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar (the king of Babylon) has a troubling dream; he wants to know what it means. He orders his cabinet, “Tell me its meaning.” But he also throws them a curve ball: “Tell me my dream before you give me its meaning.” When they protest and say that’s impossible, he orders them killed. Daniel finds out about the king’s decree when they come for him. That night, God gives Daniel the dream and the interpretation. The next day, he reveals it to the king.

In short, the dream was this: Nebuchadnezzar saw an enormous, dazzling statue with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, and legs of iron with feet a mixture of iron and clay. Then a rock not cut by human hands smashes and levels the statue. Like chaff, the wind blows the broken pieces away. The rock, however, becomes a huge mountain and fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:31-35). It is understandable the king was troubled; the dream too much for his Tylenol PM.

After faithfully regurgitating the dream, Daniel tells the king the interpretation given him by God. The dream was about four great pagan kingdoms. Babylon was the golden head, now reigning. Three successive empires (Media/Persia, Greece, and Rome) would follow. All would enjoy their time until the “rock” appears smashing all subordinate kingdoms and reigning forever. That “rock” was Jesus (1 Peter 2:8), who comes six centuries later. He now sits upon the throne of God’s worldwide empire.

At the time of the dream, God’s people were in exile. Things were not looking so good. For six centuries, pagan empires were enormous—they looked dazzling. The Medes, who succeeded the Babylonians, let Israel go home. But shortly after their return, the Greek’s ascended to power and then the Romans began their ruthless reign. God’s voice was silent in Israel. For over six hundred years, it looked as if God, his people, and his Kingdom had lost. And then, the silence was shattered, when the “Word became flesh” (John 1:14)—the “rock” had arrived. The Kingdom of God was established and the mountain still grows.

I gave you a little from Daniel and a little from history to tell you this: it is easy to get discouraged by what we read, see, and hear. Culture sours and smells. Politicians play God. Even the church seems to be blowing in the wind, uncomfortable in its skin and seeking to redefine itself once again.

In times such as these, we must remember Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Daniel concluded the interpretation this way: “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed… It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:44).

Where is Babylon, where are the Medes and the Persians and the Greeks and the Romans? They are no more. As it was then; so shall it be again. Those who seem to wield the power only do so for a time. But they don’t even wield it at all. Nebuchadnezzar would learn this personally two chapters later, rightly declaring, “His dominion is an eternal dominion; His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:34-35).

The Rock won. The Rock always does.

Pastor Rich Hamlin

January 26, 2012

1 comment

  1. Thanks, I needed that. I had never read Daniel in the morning headlines before. Now I will.

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