This would be a very long chapter to have read out loud in the group, so you could use the suggested opener in Kingdom of Dreams. People would then read it through thoughtfully to themselves, discuss with others, and home in on a key teaching point.
To whom does wisdom and power belong? In Daniel’s day, the answer seemed to be Nebuchadnezzar, who held sway over a vast empire. That was how things looked; but things weren’t how they seemed. Here we learn that all human power and human wisdom is limited. And at the heart of this chapter, in Daniel’s prayer of praise, we read
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.”
God is shown to be the one who holds ultimate power – “he sets up kings and deposes them” (v.21) and will one day establish his eternal kingdom; and as the Lord of history, he is the one who can reveal the course of human history, he is the “revealer of mysteries”.
Don’t spend too long trying to interpret the details of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, but notice two significant features:
The Statue: This seems an ambiguous image. In one sense Nebuchadnezzar seems to be fulfilling God’s creation mandate to rule over the earth as God’s image. His power is God given (v.37) and should be submitted to (cf. Rom.13). But there does seem something idolatrous about this statue (cf. Rev.13), which means it is ultimately doomed.
The Rock: This clearly refers to God’s kingdom (“not made with human hands”), which will never be overthrown, and which from small beginnings (cf. the mustard seed) will one day encompass the earth and judge all other kingdoms.
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.”Revelation 11:15
Divide people into two opposing groups. One group will represent Nebuchadnezzar and his astrologers; the other will represent Daniel and his friends. Each group, after reading the passage through then answers these questions:
Then share the different answers.