Friday, December 2, 2011

There is a God in Heaven Who Reveals Mysteries

“There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries” (Daniel 2:28)
Have you ever contemplated God’s sovereignty?  Have you considered the fact that God is over everything?  His plan and purposes are never messed up.  While this is certainly a comforting reality it can also produce many questions about life.  But God’s sovereignty is about who he is rather than having all of our questions answered.  Sometimes God shows us why now but other times he chooses not to reveal why.  Reading the book of Daniel has helped me to see the great sovereignty of God. 
I’m sure we would all agree with God’s sovereignty when we read of Daniel being protected from the lions.  We read there was not even a scratch on him.  Then when his enemies were thrown into the den the lions devoured them instantly.  God’s sovereignty is all over this historical event.  But from the beginning of the book of Daniel we see God at work.  King Nebuchadnezzar commanded some from Israel to come get educated and then stand before him (1:6).  The king did not want just anybody but those “of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace” (1:3-4).  That’s a pretty hefty resume but it just so happened that Daniel was one of those men.  The king gives orders to give these men a daily portion of food that he ate and wine to drink (1:5).  But Daniel did not want to defile himself with the king’s food or with the wine so he asks the chief of the eunuchs to see if he can have vegetables and water instead.  The chief of the eunuchs agrees to a ten day contract of vegetables and water.  Eventually all the young men received vegetables and water because of what the chief had seen in Daniel’s appearance.  Daniel is also seen as superior to the others (besides Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah) because of God’s favor on Daniel.  The text says, “And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom” (1:20).
The king then has a dream.  He wants to know the interpretation but the problem is none of the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, or Chaldeans could tell him the dream or its interpretation.  King Neb is not happy.  The result: “Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed” (2:12).  Not a good day for these wise men.  But this also meant not a good day for Daniel.  Daniel was now being sought after to be killed.  Daniel then requested a time to see the king that he might show the interpretation to the king.  If no one else could show the king his dream or its interpretation what makes Daniel so sure he can accomplish the task?  Is Daniel just trying to buy time?  I believe Daniel was trying to buy time because we read back in chapter one, “Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams” (17).  But I am not sure if Daniel knew this or not.  I believe Daniel was trusting in his God.  “Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon” (2:17-18).  Daniel and his friends make petition before God pleading with him to be rescued.  “Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night” (2:19).  God rescued his prophet Daniel and the other wise men. 
I suppose you could be wondering if I am making a case for modern day prophets or the interpretation of dreams or if God speaks through visions.  Fair question.  I think the whole of Scripture answer those questions.  All the prophets, whom God spoke through, were verified by what they spoke coming true.  It’s all written is Scripture and its all true.  The prophets were never in it for their own glory but God’s glory alone.  Daniel doesn’t make his boast in himself but in the fact that “there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.”  As Christians we should be rejoicing in this reality because the greatest mystery of all has been revealed to us.  The triune God works in a life by his Spirit revealing the Father’s sovereign grace through the cross of his Son.  “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making know to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ” (Eph. 1:7-9).  Do you realize the gift of salvation?  O what a mystery God has revealed to his children. 
Grace upon grace,
JRL

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