Several things caught my attention in chapter two. Nebuchadnezzar demands of his magicians and sorcerers something that is humanly impossible. He commands them to tell him what he has dreamed, as well as the interpretation. He threatens to tear them 'limb from limb' and leave their homes in ruins if they do not comply! Thankfully for them, Daniel intervenes. The God of Heaven grants him wisdom to tell Nebuchadnezzar both the dream and the interpretation. God is glorified!
The subject of Nebuchadnezzar's dream is an idolatrous figure representing the kingdoms of men. Daniel assures the King that he and his kingdom are represented by the illustrious head of gold. Nebuchadnezzar appears to be initially humbled, falling on his face before Daniel and declaring: "Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of Kings, and a revealer of mysteries."
As I reflected on Nebuchadnezzar's dream, I couldn't help but wonder if the descending value of the materials in the image (top to bottom) reflects the degeneration of the human race through the ages. Gold > Silver > Bronze > Iron > Iron mixed with clay. These will all be shattered at the end of the age, when God establishes His Kingdom, which will never be destroyed. It would appear that man has gradually abandoned that part of himself which is made in God's image, replacing it with a self-aggrandizing, increasingly worthless man-made image.
As I continued reading in Daniel 3, I realized that Nebuchadnezzar's initial display of humility before God was shockingly short-lived. We soon find him commissioning the creation of an image of gold (his image, of course). It is ninety feet tall! He orders it set up on the plain of Dura. Every person in his kingdom is now required to bow down and worship this image whenever they hear his music playing.
We don't really know what this giant statue looked like, so I did an image search. I imagine the picture on the right to be a fair representation. I was astonished when it called to mind for me another golden image, shown below. An image more contemporary, but perhaps equally as idolatrous! Modern man has perfected the art of self-worship.
"YOU WILL BE LIKE GOD!"
I walked to the church and realized, upon arriving, that it had no door. I stood in the open doorway of the vestibule and noticed there were five or six clergymen standing around a table in the middle of the church. They were clothed in white robes. The church was completely empty otherwise. Bare beams supported the roof. The walls were of undressed stone. There was no floor, only dirt. As I watched, the church leaders busied themselves with their task. I looked intently at them until they finally looked up and acknowledged me. I communicated my need without speaking (such a peculiar thing, dreams!). They hesitated for a moment, then clearly decided to ignore me completely and resume their activity. After watching for several minutes I realized they were helping each other make plaster masks of their own faces.
THEY WERE FAR TOO BUSY PRESERVING THEIR OWN IMAGES
TO TEND TO THE NEEDS OF OTHERS!
No wonder the Church in the West is increasingly powerless! Mimicking the world, she is slowly devolving into a cheap, man-made substitute that caters to fleshly needs for experience and excitement, signs and wonders. Is she worshiping her own image, rather than the Lord who bought Her?
Perhaps it's time for a bit of individual and collective soul searching!
"I am the Lord;
that is my name!
I will not yield
my glory to another
or my praise to idols."