In case you haven’t been buying my argument that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream isn’t the most important part of chapter two, let me present my next piece of evidence: 2:24–30. Once God reveals the mystery to Daniel and Daniel spends four verses praising Him (vv. 20–23), Daniel tells Arioch the Executioner to take him to the king – he’s got the interpretation. Arioch hustles him to the king and earns himself some brownie points by claiming to have found a man who can help the king (v. 25).
Nebuchadnezzar asks Daniel to confirm what Arioch claims (v. 26), and rather than simply saying, “Yes! I’ve got it, King!” or quickly giving the king what he’s been waiting a full twenty-four hours to hear, Daniel takes his time giving the king what he wants to know.
Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters,magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these:”
Finally! We’re going to hear the dream! But wait, Daniel’s still not ready to spill the beans. He continues:
“To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be. But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.”
Daniel tells the king the general content of his disturbing dream (“what would be after this” – so, events that post-date Nebuchadnezzar), but he’s not interested in the details yet. Instead he gives one of the greatest kings in history a mini-lecture on who’s in charge – who “reveals mysteries.” Daniel makes it very clear that it’s not him, nor any other human. There are mysteries in this life (and in the life to come, for that matter), and sometimes God chooses to reveal them. Most often, though, He leaves us to trust that He’s got things under control.