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A View from the Altar / Daniel in the Ignoramus’ Den
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Daniel in the Ignoramus’ Den

Daniel Chapter 2 tells the story of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The king couldn’t remember his dream upon awakening, so he called the Chaldeans and astrologers because they claimed the ability to divine secrets. When they couldn’t tell the king what his dream was, he ordered them all executed. (Tough boss!)

The king’s dragnet swept up Daniel along with the Chaldeans and astrologers because pagan Babylon had classified him with them. He wasn’t one of them, but pagan thought is always lopped off at key points. Daniel had a diploma from Babylon U., so to them he was just another Chaldean.

Daniel knew himself to be different, but identity politics hadn’t been invented yet, so he let it slide. To enlarge on that, the Chaldeans knew their divination involved a lot of hooey, and they doubtless presumed Daniel was just a different species of fake. Their office mailbox had no separate cubbyhole for “Genuine Man of God Who Gets Right Answers Reliably from the Most High.” The godless thinker is a mental amputee, so the Chaldeans couldn’t compute the notion of Daniel and his friends being the real deal because, for them, “real deal” was a category that ultimately could not exist. Daniel objected to none of this, waiting on God to vindicate both Himself and His servants.

I don’t believe the Chaldeans viewed themselves as out-and-out charlatans. They would have argued that astrology and divination, despite whatever shortcomings these might have had, were the state of the art in counseling technology. There were limitations as with any evolving science, but where was the up side to gabbing about that in front of an irritable tyrant who might kill you? So the silliness involved in Chaldean sorcery remained a trade secret. They did the best they could with what they had, assuming that the best they had was the best there was.

These heathen assumptions should be making a resonant vibration in your head. The Secular Man who advises our rulers likewise assumes he sits at the summit of intelligence. He’s aware of shortcomings in his advice but like his ancient Chaldean counterparts, cannot conceive how you could get any stronger medicine.

We Christians must bear in mind that one of the memes of modern secular culture is that religion equals backwardness, and at the nadir of backwardness is Bible-believing Christianity, gap-toothed, inbred, and crouching in appalling ignorance. The Secular Man looks at Jesus like a barcode scanner looking at the Himalayas — he doesn’t see anything he recognizes and concludes there’s nothing worth knowing. Boop, boop, red light.

The conflict in Daniel’s story is between the Chaldeans’ presumption of their own superiority and the fact of God’s infinite wisdom about which the worldly-wise knew nothing. God sovereignly resolved that conflict by His own intervention. Remember, it was God who gave Nebuchadnezzar the dream, God who made him forget it, God who guided Nebuchadnezzar to issue the execution order (Pr 21:1), and God who revealed the dream to Daniel in answer to his prayers and those of his believing friends. God brought about the entire ordeal to display the emptiness of the Chaldeans’s pretensions and the power of Daniels’ God.

America today wrestles with an unfolding sequence of events which threatens much, perhaps everything we know. More than a few nations have found it impossible to recover from a severe economic collapse. Our wise men and counselors consult their arcane books and offer advice, hoping for the best. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they honestly do not know what they are doing. Christians should consider that even this is ordained of God to demonstrate His glory and make a public display of the worthlessness of godless counsel. Let us be found as faithful as Daniel was, and let us pray that God is right now raising up another Daniel with wisdom enough to save more than just himself.

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