Monday, July 15, 2013

Revealer of Mysteries

He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him.  
I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:  You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Daniel 2:22-23

Deceptively luxurious, the King's apartment was swaddled in silks and tapestries, ornamented with gold filigree and precious stones, scented by a myriad of flowering plants and vines.   Water - sparkling, glistening, precious water droplets - captured and transformed the sunlight that thrust down from rectangular skylights, and tossed it carelessly about the chamber.  Cool fountains and hot shafts of light illuminated the dangerous figure in the turban and jewel-toned robes.  King of the known world - conquerer and master of all.  Nebuchadnezzar.  

It had disturbed him greatly, this dream.  It disturbed him still.  Unusual.  Uncomfortable.  The dream had wakened him, leaving him tangled in perspiration-soaked bedclothes.  He was definitely out of sorts.  He couldn't recall the vision, but vision he knew it was.  He also knew that he was required to know its meaning.  Required.  The king frowned.  Requirements were his to proclaim, to ordain, to mandate.  They were chains, used to control.  To manipulate and rule.  He was ruler.  He was master.  He was defeated by this strange dream he couldn't remember.

And now he stood in front of his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers.  "Tell me my dream", he commanded.  "Then tell me its meaning."

Surprise.  Frustration.  Guile.  He read their faces, their manners, their movement.  He was nothing if not a good judge of men.  They were worthless.  What good were his advisors if they couldn't advise him, if they didn't know what troubled him, if they couldn't walk into and tell of his disturbing dream.  If they couldn't interpret its meaning.  What good their magic and numbers, incantations and predictions.  What good?  Wise men.  No - they were worthless.  All of them.  And worthless men deserved to die.

"I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble," the King decreed with a dismissive wave of his hand.  "Carry on," he addressed the captain of the guard, "make it so for all of my wise men."

Deceptively plain, Daniel's quarters were stark in contrast to the King's.  He was handsome, in the way of the Judeans, even in his simple robes.  His morning meal lay untouched on the table by the window, vegetables and plain water - again, stark in contrast to the King's rich repast.  The captain of the guard stood at the door, prepared to fulfill the King's wishes.  Daniel was one of the Nebuchadnezzar's wise men.  He was to die.

"Why would the King issue such a harsh decree?"  Daniel asked.   The captain could discern no fear or even surprise on his features.  In fact, he was strangely calm, leading his executioner into the chamber.  His eyes captured the captain's, compassionate, intelligent, and something else.  Something he couldn't explain - confidence and strength combined - gazed from behind Daniel's eyes, beyond his countenance.  Something unnatural, mysterious, commanding.  Unnerved, the captain did his best to explain about the King's dream and impossible request.

Daniel crossed the room to the window.  "I need an audience with His Highness.  Stay your executions; let me speak with him."

Daniel waited.  He prayed.  His God, God of Israel, was a mighty Lord.  Mightier than any king on earth.  Commander of angel armies.  Creator of the heavens and the earth.  He was the Great I Am capable of thundering stillness and raging calm.  It was He who had carved the depths of the seas, who had scattered the stars in the sky, who willed the sun to shine and rain to fall.  No dream, no thought, no action was unknown to Him.  Daniel praised this, his God of the Ages.  You alone, can reveal deep and hidden things; You alone know what lies in darkness, and light dwells with You.  I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:  You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what I entreat of you.  Thank you for making known to me the dream of the king.

What a rich story, this chapter in the book of Daniel.  Like a sumptuous banquet lavishly appointed - like the proverbial onion, waiting to be peeled, layer by layer to deeper meaning.  

I read an article today, about a young autistic man.  A man whose communication was limited to primitive signs, sounds, and pointing - for 20 years.  Until his mother tried something new.  She typed a message to him on her ipad.  Surprisingly, he typed back - succinct, and on-topic.  He started by telling her he loved her - words that head not, until then, been communicated to her.  Words she had faithfully believed, but never expected.  Wonderful words.  Life-changing words.  And they were only the beginning.  That ipad opened a floodgate of communication for the young man and his mother - then beyond his mother - and the world. 

So I wonder.  I wonder how that mother felt with the son she taught to read and write not knowing if he understood, the son she made sure to tell daily of her love, the isolated, silent son with difficult behaviors that she knew so well in her heart, but wondered so much about in her head.  How did she persevere?  

I can imagine her tears of joy when he wrote that he loved her, too.  I can imagine her heart soaring to heaven when he asked to be baptized.  

God knows how she felt.  How she feels.  

Nebuchadnezzar was Daniel's ipad, Daniel was the mother.  Faith and belief.  God used them both to communicate His message, His thoughts.  Imagine His tears of joy when Nebuchadnezzar, also his child, acknowledged Him:  Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets.  Imagine his spirit soaring with Daniel's prayer of praise and entreaty.  

He uses dreams.  He uses prayer.  He uses writing on the walls, and on ipads, scripture and blogs.  God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries.  He knows.

      God of Heaven, thank you for mystery and knowledge.  Thank you for your perfect timing -    
           gathering us to your wisdom.  Help us to better understand one another through 
                                              understanding you - especially today.  

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