Friday, March 23, 2012

"...but there is a God in Heaven..."

Daniel and his friends, young men who'd already endured alot, but had seen God intervene on their behalf when they'd "stepped out" (see previous blogs), were still in a hostile land. They had been given positions of some influence, but they were still young foreigners in a hostile environment.

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, apparently had a bad dream one night, and decided to consult his 'inner circle'.

"He called in his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers,and he demanded that they tell him what he had dreamed. As they stood before the king, he said, “I have had a dream that deeply troubles me, and I must know what it means.” (Daniel 2:2-3)

He had a bad dream, and he wanted to know the meaning. Understandable...we've probably all had that experience.

So, he calls his trusted advisors and demands the meaning. Their response? 'Cool, we got this. Tell us your dream, and we'll interpret it.'

No good. He demands that they not only tell him the meaning, but first that they tell him his actual dream!

Perfectly reasonable, right?

Not surprisingly, they can' he threatens to kill every one of them--and all their partners in the kingdom--including Daniel and his friends--if they don't come up with answers.

Daniel responds like a man who's seen God come through before...

"When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, came to kill them, Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion. He asked Arioch, “Why has the king issued such a harsh decree?” So Arioch told him all that had happened. Daniel went at once to see the king and requested more time to tell the king what the dream meant." (Daniel 2:14-16)

Daniel doesn't overreact, but instead goes personally to the source--the King (who remembers that these guys seem to be remarkable people). Perhaps God is intervening (again), moving the King to be lenient with Daniel...

Next, Daniel does the most important thing: He Prays, and he gets others to Pray: "Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what had happened. He urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them his mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon." (Daniel 2:17-18)

...and God answered!

"That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven." (Daniel 2:19)

His response?
Praise and thanksgiving, of course!
“Praise the name of God forever and ever,
for he has all wisdom and power.
He controls the course of world events;
he removes kings and sets up other kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the scholars.
He reveals deep and mysterious things
and knows what lies hidden in darkness,
though he is surrounded by light.
I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors,
for you have given me wisdom and strength.
You have told me what we asked of you
and revealed to us what the king demanded.”
(Daniel 2:20-23)

Daniel goes to the king and says 'don't kill anyone...I'll tell you your dream.'

The King says 'Daniel--is it true? Have YOU figured it out'?

Daniel had an opportunity there...he could have claimed credit himself. He could've just said 'yes, I have' and gone on. But he didn't. He realized his limitations...

Daniel says, in essence, 'your request was crazy. No one on earth can do what you've asked'..."BUT there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets..." (Daniel 2:28)

The dream itself was about the rise and fall of empires and kingdoms, but the point from Daniel's perspective is this: THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN who knows all, sees all, can do all!

...and as long as Daniel and his friends continue to step out, pray, and serve Him in faith, God will continue to make them rise to the top.

Nebuchadnezzer would be wise to submit to this God!

Nebuchadnezzer's response?
"Then King Nebuchadnezzar threw himself down before Daniel and worshiped him, and he commanded his people to offer sacrifices and burn sweet incense before him. The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret.”

Then the king appointed Daniel to a high position and gave him many valuable gifts. He made Daniel ruler over the whole province of Babylon, as well as chief over all his wise men. At Daniel’s request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be in charge of all the affairs of the province of Babylon, while Daniel remained in the king’s court." (Daniel 2:46-49)

Daniel and his friends had--again--stepped into a posture of dependence on God. They had--again--been faithful to Him.
They had--again--given Him the credit and praise.

...and God came through for them and blessed them!

How about us?

Do we live our lives in dependence on Him, with a willingness to step out and serve whenever called upon?

Do we give Him public praise, credit and witness?

I believe He STILL wants to work in the lives of His people--even in the midst of a corrupt and increasingly hostile environment.

YOU and I can be like Daniel and his friends.

Let's do it--today!

Be Faithful!
Step Into the Action!
Give God praise, thanksgiving...and witness!

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