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A Lesson on Thankfulness from Daniel 2

Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream.

PICTURE: Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

Daniel 2:14-23 KJV

14 Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise [men] of Babylon: 15 He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, Why [is] the decree [so] hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. 16 Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation.

17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise [men] of Babylon. 19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: 22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what [is] in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. 23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast [now] made known unto us the king’s matter.

The following text is edited from Matthew Henry’s commentary (available at BLB). This classic Bible commentary has been in circulation since the early 18th century and is considered the most widely used and distributed.

Daniel gives honor to God in this thanksgiving with a copious expression:

Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever.

There is that for ever in God which is to be blessed and praised; it is unchangeably and eternally in Him. And it is to be blessed for ever and ever; as the matter of praise is God’s eternal perfection, so the work of praise shall, likewise, be everlasting.

Knowing this, Daniel sees fit to give glory to our unchangeable and blessed God for the following reasons:

1. He gives to God the glory of what He is in himself.

Wisdom and might are His, wisdom and courage (so some); whatever is fit to be done He will do; whateverHe will do He can do, He dares do, and He will be sure to do it in the best manner, for He has infinite wisdom to design and contrive and infinite power to execute and accomplish. With Him are strength and wisdom. Think about that. God is infinite in His wisdom and infinite in His might. This is great news! Read on to learn why.

2. He gives Him the glory of what He is to the world of mankind.

He has a universal influence and agency upon all the children of men, and all their actions and affairs. Are the times changed? Is the posture of affairs altered? Does every thing lie open to mutability? It is God that changes the times and the seasons, and the face of them. No change comes to pass by chance, but according to the will and counsel of God. Are those that were kings removed and deposed? Do they abdicate? Are they laid aside? It is God that removes kings. Are the poor raised out of the dust, to be set among princes? It is God that sets up kings; and the making and unmaking of kings is a flower of His crown who is the fountain of all power, King of kings and Lord of lords. Are there men that excel others in wisdom, philosophers and statesmen, that think above the common rate, contemplative penetrating men? Well, it is God that gives wisdom to the wise, whether they be so wise as to acknowledge it or not; they have it not of themselves, but it is He that gives knowledge to those that know understanding, which is a good reason why we should not be proud of our knowledge, and why we should serve and honour God with it and make it our business to know Him.

3. He gives Him the glory of this particular discovery.

He praises Him, First, For that he could make such a discovery (v. 22): He reveals the deep and secret things which are hidden from the eyes of all living. It was he that revealed to man what is true wisdom when none else could (Job 27:27, 28); it is He that reveals things to come to His servants and prophets. He does himself perfectly discern and distinguish that which is most closely and most industriously concealed, for He will bring into judgment every secret thing; the truth will be evident in the great day. He knows what is in the darkness, and what is done in the darkness, for that hides not from him, Psalm 139:11, 12. The light dwells with him, and He dwells in the light(1 Tim. 6:16), and yet, as to us, He makes darkness his pavilion. Some understand it of the light of prophecy and divine revelation, which dwells with God and is derived from Him; for He is the Father of lights, of all lights; they are all at home in him. 

Secondly, For that He had made this discovery to him. Here he has an eye to God as the God of his fathers; for, though the Jews were now captives in Babylon, yet they were beloved for their father’s sake. He praises God, who is the fountain of wisdom and might, for the wisdom and might He had given him, wisdom to know this great secret and might to bear the discovery. Note this: Whatever wisdom and might we have we must acknowledge to be God’s gift. Thou hast made this known to me, v. 23. What was hidden from the celebrated Chaldeans, who made the interpreting of dreams their profession, is revealed to Daniel, a captive-Jew, a babe, much their junior. God would hereby put honor upon the Spirit of prophecy just when He was putting contempt upon the spirit ofdivination. Was Daniel thus thankful to God for making known that to him which was the saving of the lives of him and his fellows? Much more reason have we to be thankful to Him for making known to us the great salvation of the soul, to us and not to the world, to us and not to the wise and prudent.

The Blue Letter Bible has Matthew Henry’s complete unabridged commentaries for each Bible book.