The Limits of the Best

5  I had a dream that made me afraid. As I was lying in my bed, the images and visions that passed through my mind terrified me. 6 So I commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be brought before me to interpret the dream for me. 7 When the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners came, I told them the dream, but they could not interpret it for me. 8 Finally, Daniel came… 

Daniel 4:5-8, NIV

The king had a problem; a problem so great that it made him “afraid.”  In fact, it “terrified” him.  At once, he called in his specialists, every one of them: “ALL the wise men” of his kingdom.  Unfortunately, they could not help him.  They were wise, they were the best in the land, but this time, they did not seem good enough.

Specialists have their limits, and those who put all their trust in them will be limited by their limitations.  You can never go farther than the light you trust to lead you.

Only after his trusted specialists had failed did the king turn to the forgotten man with the critical clue.  “But at last Daniel came” (NKJV).  It seems to be the universal experience that many, even religious folks, would not usually turn to God until all their ‘best’ options have failed.

Once upon a time, the disciples of Jesus faced a stormy threat on an open sea.  Jesus was with them in the boat, but they let Him sleep on.  They had with them such ‘specialist’ fishermen as Peter and James and John, who were very familiar with the sea and its stormy ways.  They trusted their fate to the ‘experience’ and presence of those fishermen.  It was only in the face of their imminent collective disaster, when their trusted sea-farers seemed helpless, that they tuned in panic to the Master, waking Him up with a rude undertone (Mark 4:35-41).

“Finally, Daniel came…”  He did not pick a quarrel with the king for ‘relegating’ him ‘to the back,’ for making him ‘an option’ rather than a priority, for not calling him until matters had seemed out of hand.  Jesus neither charged His disciples for putting their fate and faith elsewhere until they could not manage their storm anymore.  The best wine is often reserved for the end (John 2:10).  The Master says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, KJV), for “whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37, NIV).

Specialists have their limits, and those that put all their trust in them will be limited by their limits.  We sometimes don’t know how not-wise-enough some wise men are until they are confronted with dreams that mock their hitherto lofty titles.  Those that are guided by limited men can go only as far as those guides can.

“Finally, Daniel came…”  Be the answer where and when all others have failed.  When the time came to present Joseph who had been dumped in a malicious jail, God gave his king a dream that none of freeborns or nobles of Egypt could interpret.  The prisons of Egypt were not strong enough to hold him down anymore.  The specialists of Egypt had failed.  “Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once, and he was quickly brought from the prison … and changed his clothes …and stood before Pharaoh” (Genesis 41:14, New Living Translation). Who knows, this is the season to showcase you, where the trusted specialists have failed. Amen.

From The Preacher’s diary,
August 9, 2022. 

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