Be still and rest in the Lord.
Daniel 2:24-49 (NRSV)
Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will give the king the interpretation.”
Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king and said to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who can tell the king the interpretation.” The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to tell me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” Daniel answered the king, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or diviners can show to the king the mystery that the king is asking, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has disclosed to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen at the end of days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed were these: To you, O king, as you lay in bed, came thoughts of what would be hereafter, and the revealer of mysteries disclosed to you what is to be. But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me because of any wisdom that I have more than any other living being, but in order that the interpretation may be known to the king and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind.
“You were looking, O king, and lo! there was a great statue. This statue was huge, its brilliance extraordinary; it was standing before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of that statue was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked on, a stone was cut out, not by human hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, were all broken in pieces and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
“This was the dream; now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings—to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the might, and the glory, into whose hand he has given human beings, wherever they live, the wild animals of the field, and the birds of the air, and whom he has established as ruler over them all—you are the head of gold. After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over the whole earth. And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; just as iron crushes and smashes everything, it shall crush and shatter all these. As you saw the feet and toes partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom; but some of the strength of iron shall be in it, as you saw the iron mixed with the clay. As the toes of the feet were part iron and part clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with clay, so will they mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall this kingdom be left to another people. It shall crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever; just as you saw that a stone was cut from the mountain not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The great God has informed the king what shall be hereafter. The dream is certain, and its interpretation trustworthy.”
Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, worshiped Daniel, and commanded that a grain offering and incense be offered to him. The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery!” Then the king promoted Daniel, gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court.
About a year ago, I rescued two kittens that someone had dumped at the picnic area of the state park near our home. As I walked or rode my bike through the park, I would see these kittens in the woods, but I could never get close enough to touch one. Their survival instincts had kicked in, causing them to distrust humans.
Knowing that they would soon be old enough to have kittens of their own, a friend and I borrowed some live traps from our local animal shelter. We caught the kittens and had them vetted and neutered. One of the kittens seem to be somewhat okay with what was happening, but the other one didn’t like it at all! He hissed, growled, and cried. The vet had to tranquilize him for his checkup. Upon returning them, she said, “You might be able to find a home for the gray one, but take the black one to a field and turn him loose. He will be feral.”
As I write today’s evotion, Buddy, my “feral cat,” has his head on my arm. (Makes typing a little difficult!) When I rescued him at the park, he was scared. He didn’t know that he would be cared for with warm beds, plenty of food, treats, and love. He couldn’t see or know what the future would hold. I knew what was in store for him if he could just learn to trust me. I think he now approves of the house cat lifestyle.
Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel, nor anyone else, including us, can see or know what the future holds, but Daniel knew he could trust the One who held the future. How often do we find ourselves like Buddy—in scary situations, unsure about the future, and unwilling to trust anyone? What blessings does God have in store for us, if we learn to trust God more and worry less? If you are worried about your tomorrows, take comfort in the knowledge that God knows the future. Just as I promised Buddy that I would care for him and he learned to trust me, God promises to care for us and go with us through our days. Will we trust God?
Eternal God, our perspectives are limited. We often have trouble trusting what we cannot see, and we are scared of uncertainties. But you are all knowing and unlimited in your perspective. Help us to trust you more and more with each passing day. Amen.
Go with God.