August 1, 2011

Tuesday after the Sixth Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 45, 1 Sam. 1:21-28, 2:11, Lk. 12:1-12
Evening - Ps. 49, Dan 2:25-35, Acts 21:1-14

Commentary

The inability of the pagan magicians to know and interpret the king's dream shows the falsehood of their entire religion (2:27). Daniel's ability to know and interpret it shows that there is a God in Heaven (2:28) and it is the God worshiped by Daniel. He has revealed the dream to Nebuchadnezzar and its meaning to Daniel (2:30).

There is an implicit question in these verses; if the wise men of Babylon, through their magic and spells and gods, cannot discern this dream, which is obviously an important message from God, why consult them any more? Nebuchadnezzar had already decided not to, in fact, he intended to kill them. But what about the Jews? They had been brought low by trusting in false prophets and false religions. It was for this sin that God had allowed the Babylonians to conquer them. They needed to be shown that there is a God in Heaven, and He is the God of Israel.

It was common practice in those days for a defeated nation to believe their god had been defeated by the conqueror's god. The Jews, having been deeply influenced by pagan thought for many generations, may have thought the Babylonian gods were stronger than The God, and that, in some kind of cosmic battle, they had defeated God, and thus, were able to defeat Judah. God here shows to His people that He is still The God, The One God, The Only God. The idols of Babylon did not defeat the Jews, their own sins did.

Therefore, why not follow God? Why not turn to Him in Biblical faith and be His people and receive His blessings? This is being imprinted upon the Jewish people in this passage.

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