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From the Editor -
Kenny Paul Clarkson
Through Their Eyes
Featured Article
What Can We Learn from a Pagan King?
By Kenny Paul Clarkson

The place is ancient Babylon. The date? About 605 BC.

The prophet, Daniel, a mere teenager at the time, had the nerve to tell the almighty King Nebuchadnezzar that he could predict the future.

One can imagine the smirk on Nebuchadnezzar’s face as, sitting on his throne, he buried his chin in one hand while the other nervously tapped on the arm of the chair. The skinny teenager from Israel was about to interpret the king’s dream. Fat chance, the king thought. He doesn’t even know what I dreamed!

Daniel spoke.

"Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay."

Stunned to silence, Nebuchadnezzar had little choice but to listen as Daniel revealed, not only the king’s dream in vivid detail, but offered explicit explanations of the predictions it contained.
The Man Who Dared to Dream
By Suzanne Rowe

It's an unusual sight – the man sitting halfway up the barren cliff face at the opening of a small cave. He may have lived a comfortable life once, but is certainly not a soft man now. Not on the outside, anyway. The fingers that should have been tender and gentle, that in times past had plucked such touching melodies on the harp, are now rough, scratched and filthy. He had never been a stranger to the world of hunting and gathering but now his mouth waters as he remembers the sumptuous royal feasts he'd attended and even hosted.

It has been weeks that David has been living on the run here in the arid backblocks of Israel. Even collecting food and water has to be done under cover of darkness for fear of his life. Like his environment, David's exterior may be rough, but his spirit remains as soft and vulnerable as always, perhaps even more so as stress and exhaustion build up.

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What brought this all about was Nebuchadnezzar’s frustration with the royal councilors he had inherited from his father. The young king decided to clean house. His cabinet of magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers were notably shaken when the king asked for their resignations. (Technically, he didn’t use the term, "resign." Rather, he said he was going to cut them in pieces and reduce their houses to rubble.)

Hacking one’s councilors to bits, the king knew, would be somewhat of a public relations faux pas. And so, wise man that he was, he purposed to prove them a bunch of phonies. He accomplished this by offering an ultimatum. "Tell me what I dreamed, along with a feasible interpretation, and I’ll let you keep your jobs."

They couldn’t do it. Off with their heads.

But…

Daniel and his friends, being among the king’s councilors, were included in the executive execution order. This prompted Daniel to appeal to the king. Rather than make excuses, as did the astrologers, Daniel promised to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. All he needed was time to pray.

What God showed Daniel, Daniel revealed to Nebuchadnezzar. The king was so astounded that he "fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him."

Nebuchadnezzar was clearly overwhelmed at the sheer magnitude of Daniel’s (really, God’s) revelation. One has to wonder in amazement how an ancient idolatrous king could embrace the revelations of an omniscient God with such display of gratitude while those of us today, who identify ourselves as God’s people, are more likely to stand and yawn than fall in awe when we hear His predictions for our future.

(From the book, The Late Great United States, by Kenn Gividen – aka, Kenny Paul Clarkson)

Kenny Paul Clarkson (Kenn Gividen in real life) is the author of The Prayer of Hannah. A father of two grown children, he and his wife, Donna, are the proud grandparents of three children. He owns a direct marketing firm in Columbus, Indiana. You can write to Kenn care of the Letters page of this Magazine.