Thursday, March 29, 2007

"The Secret" and the Book of Daniel

Hi all:

I don't know much about this new "The Secret" phenomenon, but I see it everywhere these days; on a Larry King panel, on Oprah, in this morning's Barnes & Noble e-mail, on bestseller lists. It sounds like a variation on the power of positive thinking with the laws of attraction thrown in.

I do know, however, that there is no secret which the God of heaven cannot reveal. It's no coincidence, for example, that during this momentary kerfuffle over "The Secret" I should have reached the book of Daniel in the Hebrew Scriptures (or Old Testament) in my regular Bible reading plan.

Consider the story in the Book of Daniel, Chapter 2:

1 Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him. 2 Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. 3 And the king said to them, "I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream." 4 Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, F3 "O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation." 5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, "My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap.

Yikes! Talk about pressure. None of the advisors could tell the king his dream so he ordered his military chief to begin killing them. Daniel, a Hebrew captive living in exile in the Babylonian court, hears what's going on.

Then with counsel and wisdom Daniel answered Arioch, the captain of the king's guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon; 15 he answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, "Why is the decree from the king so urgent?" Then Arioch made the decision known to Daniel. 16 So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation. 17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, 18 that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Some of you may recognize Daniel's companions under their more popularly known Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They of the fiery furnace. But that's another story. In this case, they all prayed together.

19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. 21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him. 23 "I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, And have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king's demand."

So Daniel goes before the king and says that he can tell him his dream. But he doesn't take credit for the knowledge.

27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, "The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: 29 As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. 30 But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.

After Daniel describes the king's dream and its interpretation, the king responds dramatically.

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him. 47 The king answered Daniel, and said, "Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret."

Wow! A pagan king making this kind of declaration about the Hebrew God. And all because this God revealed the secret so that the king could know the thoughts of his heart.

The events in the Book of Daniel take place around 2,500 years ago. But this same God is still revealing secrets today. So please don't be taken in by this "new" Secret phenomenon. Go instead to the true revealer of secrets.

Tomorrow I will talk more about God and secret things.


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