It is the fall season and we are partakers of the beauty of God’s creation in all of its autumn glory. When we see these changes, like Spring in its new birth, and now in its death, we are reminded again of life and death and of God’s great wisdom and design in all of His plans for His universe and for His people. Great wisdom is His and He showcases it for us in the creation as a reminder of who He is as the Great Architect of Creation and its existence is in His almighty hands. All things that exist and all things that occur are for His purposes. Think on these things as you enjoy your seasons and remember who has ordained them and sustains them, our Great and Glorious Sovereign Providential God.
“He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.” Dan 2:21,22
The honour Daniel gives to God in this thanksgiving, which he studies to do in a great variety and copiousness of expression: Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever. There is that for ever in God which is to be blessed and praised; it is unchangeably and eternally in him. And it is to be blessed for ever and ever; as the matter of praise is God’s eternal perfection, so the work of praise shall be everlastingly in the doing. [1.] He gives to God the glory of what he is in himself: Wisdom and might are his, wisdom and courage (so some); whatever is fit to be done he will do; whatever he will do he can do, he dares do, and he will be sure to do it in the best manner, for he has infinite wisdom to design and contrive and infinite power to execute and accomplish. With him are strength and wisdom, which in men are often parted. [2.] He gives him the glory of what he is to the world of mankind. He has a universal influence and agency upon all the children of men, and all their actions and affairs. Are the times changed? Is the posture of affairs altered? Does every thing lie open to mutability? It is God that changes the times and the seasons, and the face of them. No change comes to pass by chance, but according to the will and counsel of God. Are those that were kings removed and deposed? Do they abdicate? Are they laid aside? It is God that removes kings. Are the poor raised out of the dust, to be set among princes? It is God that sets up kings; and the making and unmaking of kings is a flower of his crown who is the fountain of all power, King of kings and Lord of lords. Are there men that excel others in wisdom, philosophers and statesmen, that think above the common rate, contemplative penetrating men? It is God that gives wisdom to the wise, whether they be so wise as to acknowledge it or no; they have it not of themselves, but it is he that gives knowledge to those that know understanding, which is a good reason why we should not be proud of our knowledge, and why we should serve and honour God with it and make it our business to know him. [3.] He gives him the glory of this particular discovery. He praises him, First, For that he could make such a discovery (Dan_2:22): He reveals the deep and secret things which are hidden from the eyes of all living. It was he that revealed to man what is true wisdom when none else could (Job_28:27, Job_28:28); it is he that reveals things to come to his servants and prophets. He does himself perfectly discern and distinguish that which is most closely and most industriously concealed, for he will bring into judgment every secret thing; the truth will be evident in the great day. He knows what is in the darkness, and what is done in the darkness, for that hides not from him, Psa_139:11, Psa_139:12. The light dwells with him, and he dwells in the light (1Ti_6:16), and yet, as to us, he makes darkness his pavilion.
Some understand it of the light of prophecy and divine revelation, which dwells with God and is derived from him; for he is the Father of lights, of all lights; they are all at home in him. Secondly, For that he had made this discovery to him. Here he has an eye to God as the God of his fathers; for, though the Jews were now captives in Babylon, yet they were beloved for their father’s sake. He praises God, who is the fountain of wisdom and might, for the wisdom and might he had given him, wisdom to know this great secret and might to bear the discovery. Note, What wisdom and might we have we must acknowledge to be God’s gift. Thou hast made this known to me, Dan_2:23. What was hidden from the celebrated Chaldeans, who made the interpreting of dreams their profession, is revealed to Daniel, a captive-Jew, a babe, much their junior. God would hereby put honour upon the Spirit of prophecy just when he was putting contempt upon the spirit of divination. Was Daniel thus thankful to God for making known that to him which was the saving of the lives of him and his fellows? Much more reason have we to be thankful to him for making known to us the great salvation of the soul, to us and not to the world, to us and not to the wise and prudent.
(2.) The respect he puts upon his companions in this thanksgiving. Though it was by his prayers principally that this discovery was obtained, and to him that it was made, yet he owns their partnership with him, both in praying for it (it is what we desired of thee) and in enjoying it – Thou hast made known unto us the king’s matter. Either they were present with Daniel when the discovery was made to him, or as soon as he knew it he told it them (heurēka, heurēka – I have found it, I have found it), that those who had assisted him with their prayers might assist him in their praises; his joining them with him is an instance of his humility and modesty, which well become those that are taken into communion with God. Thus St. Paul sometimes joins Sylvanus, Timotheus, or some other minister, with himself in the inscriptions to many of his epistles. Note, What honour God puts upon us we should be willing that our brethren may share with us in.*
*Commentary of Matthew Henry