Wednesday, October 12, 2016

God Does What Man Can't Do

Part 2 of Our God Reigns

Text: Daniel 2:1-49

Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days” (vv. 27-28).

To Whom Do You Give Thanks?

To whom do you give thanks on Thanksgiving Day? When we give thanks to God for our blessings, we are acknowledging that God is sovereign (i.e., in control).

Thanksgiving Day was originally based on the belief that God is sovereign. On January 31, 1957, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed: “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed…is to be observed on the second Monday in October.” When we give thanks to God for the harvest, we are acknowledging that God is sovereign over the harvest.

The theme of the book of Daniel is the sovereignty of God. In spite of how things might look, God is in control.

A Troubling Dream and an Impossible Demand

One night, King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream—a troubling dream. And he’s desperate to known the meaning of the dream. So he summons some of his wise men and demands that they not only tell him the meaning of his dream but also the content of his dream (v. 5). And if they can’t fulfill his demand, they will be “torn limb from limb” (v. 5). The wise men reply as you and I would: “That’s impossible!” They say, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand” (v. 10).

The king is furious and commands that all the wise men of Babylon be executed (v. 12). By this time, Daniel has graduated from the three-year training program in Babylon. He is now one of the wise men. And his is to be killed along with the others. Not wanting to torn limb from limb (obviously!), Daniel asks to speak to the king. He requests that he be given some time. At the end of the appointed time, he will return to the king and interpret the dream (v. 16). Though the king’s demand is an impossible one, Daniel knows that God can do what man can’t do. We have a God who does what man can’t do.

The Revealer of Mysteries

The wise men had told the king, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand” (v. 10). But Daniel declares, “There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries” (v. 28). “God in heaven” can do what “man on earth” can’t do.

God has revealed to us what was previously a mystery (i.e., once hidden truth): his plan for the world will be accomplished through Jesus Christ. In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, a “stone” destroys the great image, which represented the kingdoms of man (including Babylon represented by the head of gold). The stone is Jesus. Compared to the image, the stone seems insignificant. And when Jesus lived on this earth, most people didn’t see him as anyone special. But when Christ returns, the kingdoms of man will be turned to dust and he will reign forever.

Jesus came to earth to do what we couldn’t do: bring us salvation. The wise men of Babylon stated that the gods don’t dwell with flesh (v. 11). But the apostle John writes, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Why did God the Son become a man? To die for our salvation. Or, in other words, to do for us what we couldn’t do. Jesus will return to earth to do what we can’t do: build an eternal and perfect kingdom.

Give Thanks!

When God revealed to Daniel the interpretation of the king’s dream, what was Daniel’s response? Thankfulness: “I give thanks and praise” (v. 23). Our response to God doing for us what we can't do should be thankfulness--a thankfulness not only in word but also in deed.

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