Key Passage: Daniel 2:20-22
Supporting Scripture: Daniel 6:26-27 | Daniel 7:13-14, 17-18, 25-27
One of the most reassuring realities in life is God’s sovereignty over the affairs of earth.
Although we may be discouraged, fearful, and tired, we can rest in God knowing he has everything under control. As his children, he’s got our back. He will bring about Jesus’ kingdom on earth. We just have to hold on.
Daniel was greatly beloved by God and is a great example for us today. He was loyal to God despite very difficult circumstances. From age 15 to 85, he never gave up hope in the coming Messiah and God’s restoration of Israel. If Daniel could speak to us today, what would he say to encourage us?
God’s Supremacy over Human History
The first thing Daniel would say to us is that we must keep recognising God’s complete sovereignty over human affairs (Da 2:20-22, 47; 4:2-3, 17, 25, 27, 32, 34-35; 6:26; 7:9-10). God reigns supreme over all nations, both big and small. No angel or man is greater than God or can thwart his plan. When he chooses to act, no one can stop him. Further, God is organised in the way he manages history. What is decreed will be done (Da 11:36).
It is important to understand there are two God-ruled “kingdoms” discussed in Daniel.
The first is God’s eternal or universal kingdom over the entire space-time universe and everything and everyone in it (Da 2:20-22).
The second is the future kingdom of Jesus on this earth (Da 2:44-45; 7:13-14). This is usually called the “messianic kingdom” or the “millennium.”
Both of these kingdoms are seen in Daniel. As good readers of Scripture, we must be able to distinguish the two. Otherwise we fall into the error of “kingdom now” theology, which is against the teaching of Scripture.
History is headed toward a seventh age, the messianic kingdom, during which all the unconditional promises God has made to Israel under the Abrahamic, Land, Davidic, and New covenants will be literally fulfilled. The coming of Jesus’ earthly kingdom is what we pray for in the Lord’s prayer (Mt 6:10).
Living the Christian Life
As we wait for Jesus’ second coming and the start of his millennial kingdom, there are some things Daniel would advise us to focus on.
Form habits in your life that build your faith. Trusting God is the foundation of our Christian life. Faith is how we begin our life with God, and it is also how we continue our life with God (Ro 1:16-17). Here’s three highly recommended habits to build our faith:
Persist in a disciplined routine of Bible study (Da 9:2) as a truth seeker and truth lover (Da 7:16, 19; 8:15; 10:12, 21; 11:2). Insight comes to believers who work hard to understand what the Bible actually says (Da 9:22-23; 12:10).
Continue in regular prayer. Daniel practiced a habit of praying three times every day, even when it could have cost him his life (Da 6:10, 13). We, too, are to pray without ceasing (1 Th 5:17). Our daily connection to God through prayer is vital to a healthy spiritual life. If you don’t know how to pray, ask a mature Christian to help you.
Maintain close friendships with likeminded believers (Da 1:6-7). Start an accountability group of 3-5 men or women with whom you meet regularly to share your deepest joys, concerns, and sorrows. Call on them when you need help (Da 2:17-18).
Remember that Jesus will never abandon you. Even in the burning fiery furnace, he will walk with you (Da 3:25). In the lions’ den, he will shut the lions’ mouths (Da 6:22). He will show up in unexpected places, as he did in Daniel’s life and the lives of his three friends. He has promised to rescue his people (Da 6:27). So we are not to fear (Da 10:12, 19). In his grace and compassion, God will be there when we need him most.
Regarding our interactions with culture and society, we are to be good citizens of our country (Da 1:20-21, 2:48-49; 6:22). This means we are to follow laws, pay taxes, and be a blessing to those around us, whether they are Christians or not. We are to respect the governmental authorities God has established to the extent we can do so according to Scripture and our Spirit-led conscience. At the same time, we must not give in to the idols of our culture (Da 1:8; 3:12, 18), such as the idols of self, sex, or sports. If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves worshipping at these shrines instead of God.
What about the Future?
Daniel tells us much about ancient history, but it also tells us much about the future. It is our responsibility to know, understand, and believe what God has said about the end times (Da 2:28-29; Da 9:24-27). In a nutshell, it is this: Jesus’ worldwide messianic kingdom is just around the corner (Da 2:34-35, 44-45). Things are going to get really awful under the reign of the antichrist during the tribulation (Da 11:36-12:1), but those on earth who remain faithful to God will be rescued, be rewarded, and given rest (Da 12:3, 13) for all eternity.
In response, let’s recommit ourselves to God, worship him for his supremacy, and thank him for the future kingdom of his Son on earth. Let us practice wise spiritual disciplines as we wait for Jesus’ coming kingdom. Finally, let us passionately proclaim the good news of Jesus to all who will listen.