A behind the scenes look
Though I usually advise against it, I recently played Bible Roulette. You know the game—the one where you’re not fully engaged with your current Scripture readings or study and just want to open your Bible and find a life-changing verse that will uplift your withering day? At the time, I had a disgruntled attitude not only with some of the leaders of our country, but also with the news media that skews the truth to suit their political bent. I desperately needed a God realignment.
Fortunately, or miraculously rather, when I let my Bible fall open, I found myself in the pages of Daniel.
Though the book of Daniel is regarded as one of the most dynamic eschatological writings in the Bible and studied extensively for prophetic understanding, that day, I found the book of Daniel to be an insightful look into God’s sovereignty. Sovereignty is the word we use to describe God’s ultimate source of power and authority over all things. All things. While we’ve been blessed with free will and can exercise that free will within our own lives, God has a specifically designed global blueprint with His glory in mind. This established blueprint cannot be altered.
In Isaiah 14:27 we’re told: “For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?”
At Job 42:2, Job tells the Lord: “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.”
Isaiah 46:10 declares: “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure…”
These verses tell us that in the scope of universal strategies, kings, conquerors, presidents, and prime ministers play a vital role.
Like no other book of the Bible, Daniel demonstrates this truth. In Chapter 2, we are given a glimpse of God’s sovereignty when Daniel writes: “And it is He who changes the times and epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; he gives wisdom to wise men, and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.”
Daniel’s declaration is played out in the story of King Nebuchadnezzar when Daniel is given an opportunity to interpret the king’s dream. In this particular dream, the curtain of time is pulled back and the future is revealed through the symbol of a statue (Daniel 2:31 – 45). While interpreting, Daniel makes this profound statement to the highest ranking man in the world: “You, O king, are the king of kings to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength, and the glory, and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all …”
Daniel just told the ruler of Babylon that he was on the throne because God put him there. I can imagine the king declaring, “Off with his head,” as Daniel lets the king know he’s not the ultimate authority. But thanks be to God, Daniel interprets the dream correctly and instead of getting his head removed, he’s given a big promotion. The king then declares that Daniel’s God is the God of all gods and Lord of all kings.
But that’s not the end of the story. While Daniel is serving in the king’s court, the king’s newly found allegiance to God seems to slip and slide and he goes back to glorifying himself. One day, while Nebuchadnezzar was on his roof admiring the great city of Babylon, he whispered to himself that he was the one to build the city and he deserved the glory for doing it.
Side note – Don’t we all lie to ourselves about how much influence we really have? When I think I can control anything around me, I’m pulling a total Nebuchadnezzar. Ugh.
Anyway, through Daniel, God had already revealed to Nebuchadnezzar that it was God’s will alone that gave the king this elaborate and beautiful kingdom. Our Father so intended to use Nebuchadnezzar in his global plans that instead of squashing the arrogant little ruler and altering the course of history, God showed the man who was really in charge. The Lord told Nebuchadnezzar that He, the God of All, would give the king a temporary case of insanity to prove who controlled the universe. He explained Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity episode would continue until: “ … you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it [power to govern] on whomever He wishes.”
Let us not forget God’s declaration lest we be stricken with insanity as Nebuchadnezzar was, and as it appears some among our own rulers have been. Lol.
Once the allotted mental break-down time ended, Nebuchadnezzar, with senses and kingdom restored, honored and worshiped the True King.
Aren’t second chances wonderful?
Throughout the rest of this Bible book, Daniel serves a couple more Babylonian kings and God’s sovereignty over these leaders continues to play out.
Daniel has a few dreams and vision of his own. Within the pages of Daniel, there are powerful prophecies. But the point of this blog is sovereignty, so let me write this: Just as God gave Nebuchadnezzar his throne, God gives our governmental leaders their seats of power according to his plan.
In the course of history, that fact does not change.
Some 400 years after Daniels seat of authority in Babylon came to an end, the Apostle Paul wrote these words about rulers on the earth: Romans 13:1-2: Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Before His crucifixion, Christ told Pilate: “… You would have no power at all against me, unless it had been given you from above …” – John 19:11(a)
As we watch our governing officials slip and slide all over the foundations of our states and our country, we can and should be horrified. But in the midst of jaw-dropping political disasters, we can still possess peace. Somehow, somewhere between the space of free-will voting and God’s sovereignty, His perfect plan plays out.
So vote your conscience, take part in peaceful protest, and speak the truth. But when you go to bed at night, don’t grind your teeth in despair. Bend your knees instead.
As God reveals the mysteries of his long-determined plan, let us pray that plan forward with kingdom building and the sharing of the Gospel. The blueprints of time and history have been sketched and thanks be to our Creator, the final drawing turns out to be a really good one.
“Fear not,” the Lord tells us, for He not only created the world, but He will overcome all that’s dark and wicked.
For me, watching His plans unfold are not frightening, but rather fascinating.
Peace out my friends. He’s got this.
“By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.” Pr 8:15-16