Open Your Bible
Daniel 2:1-49, Luke 12:11-12, Colossians 3:23-24
Socrates famously declared, “I am wise because I know that I know nothing.” There is certainly a kind of paradoxical wisdom in his statement that is admirable, but it is still only the wisdom of men. It is the same kind of wisdom we see displayed by the Chaldean wise men who advised Nebuchadnezzar. They knew that they knew nothing. They could not penetrate the deep mysteries of unremembered dreams. This was the realm of the gods alone, those who did not dwell with men (Daniel 2:11).
But the wisdom of God is higher than the wisdom of men, and in Daniel we see a wisdom that far surpasses that of Socrates. It’s in a whole different category. The wisdom of Daniel is this: he knew that true wisdom is from God alone, the Creator of heaven and earth. Furthermore, he knew that the one true God was not like the gods of the Chaldeans, gods who were neither all-knowing nor all-powerful. Daniel knew that he served a God who was both of those things, yet also near to His people.
While living in exile, Daniel and his friends understood that they dwelt in a land of deep darkness, a land of idolatry, harsh kings, and the threat of death. But their security was not in a king’s decrees, or the wisdom of the Chaldeans. They found security bowing on their knees before the God of all wisdom and power. He was their true Lord and King, and in serving Him, they did not need to fear the whims of man (v.20–21).
In a remarkable turn of providence, the very lives of the wise men of the world are preserved by the intercession of Daniel (v.24). Like Christ’s parable of the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31–32), where even the birds of the air find rest in the branches, so also the providence of God is the foundation upon which even the kingdoms of the earth must rely, for even they belong to Him.
I find that I’m constantly inundated with the seeming wisdom of the world, but it is a wisdom that falls far short of the kingdom of God. The promise that Daniel foretold in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is one that is even now being fulfilled: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). In light of such revelation, we, too, may have confidence as we approach the throne of grace, knowing that we serve a God who is not far off, but has drawn near to us, even taking on flesh and dwelling with us. This God, this Christ, is the true King of kings.