REVEALED by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson, NC
Introduction: As many of you know, Nicole and I have been traveling for the past two weeks, filming at biblical sites in Turkey. By the way, just a heads up, there are some wonderful series coming up in the next few weeks and months! Personally, I’ve been studying these places and the history surrounding them for the past twenty-five years, and Nicole will tell you that I was like a kid in a candy store on this trip! This is where Paul was born. This is where he planted churches on his missionary journeys. This is where John wrote to the 7 churches in the Book of Revelation. This is where Peter wrote to the pilgrims of the Dispersion. This is also where Timothy was from. There is so much early church history in Turkey, but the history of this land goes all the way back to the time of Noah. In fact, one of Noah’s grandsons was the first one to settle this land. To give you an example, we went to the city of Konya, which is in south central Turkey. This city has been inhabited for over 4000 years by various peoples and kingdoms including the Hittites, the Phrygians, the Greeks, the Persians, the Romans, and then 800 years ago by the Seljuk Turks. I’ll be honest, at times, it was somewhat overwhelming for me. When I stood before colossal statues of powerful kings and emperors and walked through massive temples with ornate pillars, it made me feel very insignificant. “Who am I?” “Does it matter what I do?” “Will it even matter that I existed?” Then, I had to remind myself that ultimately history is HIStory. Today’s message is a little different, and the main point is this: Sometimes, when we look at the current events, all the craziness that is going on in our nation and this world, and how powerful people and nations seem to be in control of our lives and our future, we can get a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. It is in those moments that we have to remind ourselves that our God, the living, true, triune God, is still in control. No one can do anything other than what he is allowing them to do. Just as he has allowed them to come to power, he will also take them out of power. Ultimately, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Daniel 2. 19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. 21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him. 23 I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, And have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king’s demand.”
Context: Daniel and many other Jewish young men had been forcefully taken by King Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon in the sixth century BC. They were the cream of the crop, and even though they were Jewish by ethnicity, Nebuchadnezzar had a plan to re-educate them and make them Babylonians. By the way, there is an active and a militant effort underway to re-educate our kids away from our biblical values, morality, and faith.There’s nothing new under the sun! Unless, we teach our kids by our words and by our lifestyle how to stand firm in our biblical convictions, we will lose them before our eyes. Daniel’s parents had obviously done a great job because, from Day One, he refused to compromise. Not just him but also Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. We know them as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. They refused to eat the delicacies from the king’s table or drink his wine. They could’ve easily said, “What’s the big deal? When in Babylon, do as the Babylonians do.” They could’ve justified their actions in a number of other ways, but they didn’t. As a result, God not only gave them good health, but he also made them ten times wiser than all the other magicians and astrologers. When we honor God, he honors us ten times more. Whenever I see an actress, athlete, or someone in the limelight honor God before thousands by mentioning the name of Jesus, I know that God will honor them ten times more.
As the story goes, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, more like a nightmare. His spirit was so troubled that he couldn’t even sleep. So, he called his magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to interpret his dream for him. But, there is a twist. He wanted them to first tell him what his dream was. This was to ensure that they wouldn’t make things up. Listen to Daniel 2. 5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap. 6 However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.” The wisemen of Nebuchadnezzar were floored. They begged the king to please tell them his dream and they would be more than glad to interpret – 10 “There is not a man on earth who can tell the king’s matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean. 11 It is a difficult thing that the\]ing requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” What was Nebuchadnezzar’s response? He was angry and furious and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. The decree went out, and they began killing the wise men. Since Daniel and his companions were also part of the guild of the wise men, they came after them as well. Daniel went to the king and asked for some time to give him the dream and the interpretation. What did he do next? Buy time to escape town? Go into hiding? No. Listen to verse 17 “Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, 18 that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” In other words, it was time to do some battle on their knees.
I often wonder – “Why are we not as successful against the moral and spiritual onslaughts in our culture? Could it be that it’s because we haven’t put any knee power behind it? Could it be that instead of believing that our God knows all things and that he’s perfectly in control, we think that we can fight against the Enemy in our wisdom and strength? Is it any wonder that we are on the run right now?”
God sent the answer to Daniel in a night vision, which means he got the answer while he was asleep. In other words, this was all God. Daniel could take no credit for it. Listen again to Daniel’s praise unto God: 20 Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever. For wisdom and might are His.” Did you notice the resistance language? There’s more! 21 “And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him. 23 I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king’s demand.”
Those are some powerful statements! Again, walking in the courtyard of some of the most massive temples or standing before some of the most colossal statues of emperors and gods and goddesses, I can assure you that it took a lot of courage for Daniel to say what he said!
And, what was they answer? Daniel 2. 31 “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. 32 This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” Here is the interpretation: 36“This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. 37 You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold. 39 But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 45 Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.” The kingdoms are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and various European nations. The stone, of course, is Jesus Christ.
Just as God revealed to Daniel, it has happened! As someone once said, “You can take the man or the woman of God and put them in a dungeon with a candle and the Word of God, and they will know what’s happening in the world far more than all the Pentagon, the CIA, and all the secret services of the world put together.”
But, here’s a bigger point: All these kings and kingdoms, emperors and empires have come and gone but God’s Word abides forever. He is still in charge. He puts the kings on their thrones and takes them down. His ultimate purpose is the redemption of all those who will place their faith in his Son Jesus Christ. John 19:8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, 9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You? 11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
Invitation: Is Jesus your king? Kings and Kingdoms will pass away but he will remain. Are you concerned about what’s happening in this world? You don’t have to. God is still ultimately in control.