Nations rise and fall, and while big changes in world events catch us by surprise, God is never caught off guard. Learn, in this message, how to be a “John Wayne”-style believer – cool, calm, and collected in a culture gone crazy!
And here are my notes…
Nations are rising, and nations are falling, and it’s nothing new.
Right now, in the news, we’re focusing on the deal made with Iran and there are all kinds of opinions about what it will mean for us, for the Jewish people, and for the rest of the world. But this isn’t new, it’s just the cycle that has been repeating for thousands of years.
How do you thrive in Babylon when nations rise and fall?
You listen and live by whatever God says about history and about the future. We call this prophecy.
There are two points to prophecy…
Prophecy is given, first, to foretell events that will unfold later, to remind us that God is never surprised by the events of human history. He is always sovereign.
Prophecy is history written before hand. The Bible has our number. We can’t ever seem to get a grip on the patterns of history, but God is well aware of all that has happened, all that ever will happen, and all that it ever means.
A warning about prophecy… don’t get obsessed with details!!
- Because we can’t always be certain what a prophet 2,600 years ago may have been referencing.
- Because it’s not the point. Jesus is the point.
What we DO need to know from prophecy is that God is all-wise, all-knowing, and completely in charge.
Daniel asks what the vision means and he is told…
The lion with wings of an eagle = Babylon.
The bear = Medo-Persia
The leapord = Greece
The fourth beast = Rome
Then, in chapther 8, which is written in Hebrew, to the Jews, Daniel’s vision is more specific and speaks of specific rulers rather than nations.
And sure enough, Antiochus was a fierce persecutor of God’s people. He sought to Hellenize the Jews and wanted them to worship him as a manifestation of Zeus on earth. This led to the Maccabean revolt, around which the Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah.
And the second (and even bigger) point of prophecy is…
Prophecy is given, secondly, to FORTH-tell something about God’s will – to present to us a spiritual challenge in light of what has been foretold.
It is to give us a challenge, to bring us to a place of humility before the Almighty. That happens in chapter seven of Daniel as we get the key to understanding it all.
So what do we do in light of what we know?
God is sovereign, so trust him, and represent him well.
We can walk in confidence and be the conscience of our surrounding culture. (Abortion, the alleviation of poverty, and other social justice issues are great examples of how we do this… Perhaps this is our “Wilberforce moment.”)
God is collecting his kingdom from every tribe on earth, so go on mission with him.
Revelation 5:9-10 NLT
And they sang a new song with these words: You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on earth.
God will has crowned Jesus as King! We win! We reign! So live in light of your guaranteed victory today!