Daniel’s Faith in the Face of Impossible Work

Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.” (Daniel 2:24)

The context of today’s verse, found in Daniel 2, contains one of the most absurd accounts in all of Scripture.

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had a series of troubling dreams. So he summoned his many “magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers” to make sense of his nightmares (Daniel 2:2). But the king didn’t just demand interpretation of his dreams. He demanded that his servants guess the content of those dreams as well. He said, “If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble” (Daniel 2:5).

Incredulous, the king’s staff replied, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans” (Daniel 2:10-11).

King Nebuchadnezzar did not like that answer, so he ordered the execution of all the wise men in Babylon, including Daniel and his friends.

But instead of resigning himself to death, Daniel “urged [his friends] to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon” (Daniel 2:18).

Stop for a second and appreciate how remarkable this account is. Even though the king’s request was certifiably crazy and impossible for the other wise men of Babylon, Daniel had faith that the God of the Bible could do impossible work through him.

And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. God revealed the content and the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams to Daniel. That’s when Daniel uttered today’s verse, boldly claiming to have the answers nobody else could produce.

Centuries before the words were written, Daniel understood what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

Daniel was working “in the world” just as the other wise men of Babylon were. But Daniel worked distinctly. He wielded otherworldly weapons—in this case, intense prayer—and had faith that God could produce otherworldly results through his work.

Those same spiritual weapons are available to you and me today, believer. We don’t go to work with the same toolset as our non-Christian counterparts. We go to work with the Creator God dwelling in us. We go to work with His ‘“incomparably great power” (Ephesians 1:19). We go to work with and for the One “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

Are you working as if you believe these things to be true? May we all be like Daniel—those with faith that God is able to do through our work what others believe to be impossible.


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