I am on vacation until the 6th Aug. While on vacation I am posting some thoughts on Daniel…
What overwhelms you. What stresses you out. What worries do you have? Maybe some these worries, or concerns, or stresses are about your life, your future, your family, the state of the world, global warming, wars.
A lot of life is out of your control. You have no idea if you will get a serious disease, or whether someone will crash into your car and kill you, whether a world wide recession will effect your future education or college or even your parents future.
Daniel had no control over whether he was taken captive and sent to Babylon.
He had no control over his physical state, but he did have control over his inner state.
Now Daniel could have fretted, worried, despaired, been fearful, given up – but he didn’t. He kept going forward. He lived in the place that God had put him to live.
And this is the key – he lived in the PLACE GOD HAD PUT HIM.
God had placed him in Babylon. And I think that this was the attitude Daniel came to live by. Yes, he was now having to do things he didn’t want to do, learn things which he didn’t want to learn, but his loyalty and his focus remained on Yahweh He learnt to live in Babylon with as much faithfulness to God as he would have if he had remained in Jerusalem.
And here is the radical point. Just as Daniel was in Babylon because God had placed him there, so was Nebuchannezzar in Babylon because God had plced him there.
Here was Daniel, captive of the largest most feared kingdom in the known earth and yet it too was completely at the mercy of God, and of God’s people.
Neb has a dream which is so troubling to him that he is willing to kill every wise man in the kingdom unless they tell him the dream and then the interpretation. The dream was so powerful that Neb knew that if he told the dream to his wise men they would then just give him a load of meaningless interpretations – Neb wanted to now exactly what this powerful dream meant.
Babylon was at the mercy of God.
And Babylon was also at the mercy of an insignificant little Jewish guy – Daniel – who then tells the most powerful king in the world what God of the Universe was telling him.
God is involved with our earth. He has not abandoned it. He has not left it. There is no part of the world which is out of God’s hand or out of his control.
Hear this – nothing happens in the Universe without God knowing about it and allowing it to happen.
That is what the Bible says – Jeremiah 20:4-5 says:
For this is what the LORD says: ‘I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; with your own eyes you will see them fall by the sword of their enemies. I will give all Judah into the hands of the king of Babylon, who will carry them away to Babylon or put them to the sword. 5 I will deliver all the wealth of this city into the hands of their enemies—all its products, all its valuables and all the treasures of the kings of Judah. They will take it away as plunder and carry it off to Babylon.
Jeremiah 25:12: “But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, [a] for their guilt,” declares the LORD, “and will make it desolate forever.
Jeremiah 27:11: But if any nation will bow its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will let that nation remain in its own land to till it and to live there, declares the LORD.” ‘ “
And here is a big one! 1 Samuel 16:14-15: Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil [a] spirit from the LORD tormented him.
15 Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.
Why are their earthquakes in China, or war in Africa, cyclones in Asia. I don’t know – but the message here in Chap 2 of Daniel is that while we may not have an answer as to why something has happened – WE MUST REALIZE THAT GOD STILL KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING!!
God is present with Daniel in Babylon and God is present with us here in the 21st Century America.
We live in a world and a culture which is walking away from God and yet is still terrified of what the world, and nature can throw at it. The world, the culture has no explanation of why hundreds of thousands died in a devastating cyclone in Myammar – or why thousands have died in the earthquake in china, or why kids get cancer or why moms die when their children are young. The world, the culture has no answer for disaster, except to blame a God they do not believe in and use it as an excuse not to believe in God.
“I could never believe in a God that would allow something like that to happen.”
Daniel did not know why God had given Israel over to Babylon, but he did know that God was still in control.
Do you really know that God is in control. How can I know this you might ask? The same way Daniel knew – BY HIS WORD. The Bible tells us to TRUST in God – To do what he says and then to trust that God knows what he is doing.
God is not is heaven multi-tasking and saying “Gosh I hope that works out – ooooh Andy, you nearly messed that up= ahhhhh, John stop that!”
How is God in control?
The dream Neb has shows us.
Too often people get hung up about what the dream represents, and its details – to do that is to ignore its point – the thing hat the dream teaches us is NOT the details of the course of events in history BUT that the fact that HISTORY is UNDER GOD’S CONTROL and that it has a purpose.
What is the purpose?
That all the kingdoms of the earth, Babylon, Assyria, Rome, Great Britain, America will not and cannot stand against the breaking into the midst of this world the Kingdom of God.
Nothing can stop it. Nothing can stand in its way. Every kingdom will eventually be smashed by THE KINGDOM which is to come – the Kingdom of God.
And, by the way, as an aside – you do realize that if you are a believer in Jesus you will not be spending eternity in heaven. Our vision of heaven is some cloud and us sitting there with a harp.
Oh no. Eternity for us will be on a NEW EARTH – a perfect earth. 2 Peter 3:13 says But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
Revelation 21:1, Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” [ Isaiah 65:17] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
Paradise, life for ever will happen on the new earth.
But this begins now – the Kingdom of God has broken into our world through Jesus.
And that is the message that we – YOU are called to tell people in your schools, homes, neighbor hoods – wherever you are.
Are you strong enough to give this message?
You can only give this message – you can only live in this world as a follower of Jesus if, like Daniel, you are willing to listen to your culture but have not been assimilated into the culture.
There is nothing that is hidden from God or that God does not understand – NOTHING. In the end, this fact should be more important to us, God’s people, than anything else.
When we realize this truth about God’s knowledge, we should be comforted as well as have the courage to go on even when life seems dark, when we are confused by the shocks of life and wondering what is going on and why.