We have entered a new era. In times past—in North America at least—people respected Christianity even if they didn’t subscribe to our faith. Many knew and appreciated that Christians had a lot to do with ministering to the poor in remote areas, global relief work, engaging with our local communities, and building strong families. In general, there was a high regard for Believers. But not so much anymore. Christianity is not only no longer embraced, but it’s also opposed. We’ve entered the day Paul predicted in 2 Timothy 4:3-4:
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
So, how then shall we live?
Recently I spoke with author and pastor Alistair Begg. We talked about his book Brave by Faith: God-Sized Confidence in a Post-Christian World. In it, he writes:
We are in Babylon—and God is sovereign even here. Nothing is actually out of control, and nothing is about to get out of control. But, given the push-back of twenty-first-century secularism, you and I are going to face challenges…Resolve now. Think through where to draw the lines you will not cross.
Daniel, as Alistair shared, was relocated and reeducated, yet he determined there were lines he would not cross, and as a result, God endorsed and affirmed Daniel in ways that made history. We’re still talking about him today.
There’s a moment in Daniel’s story where King Nebuchadnezzar issues an impossible order. Here’s what he said: “I am serious about this. If you don’t tell me what my dream was and what it means, you will be torn limb from limb, and your houses will be turned into heaps of rubble!” What? Why? And how could anyone successfully obey such an order?
Wow. As Alistair Begg mentioned in his book, this happens when you combine insecurity, anger, and power.
How does Daniel respond to this unreasonable request, and what can we learn from him?
Scripture tells us that Daniel handled this situation with wisdom and discretion, tact and prudence. Aren’t these sorely lacking in our world today?
Daniel went at once to the king and asked for more time. Then he went home to his friends and asked them to pray, seek God, and ask for His mercy. Daniel sought God as well.
How did God respond to this earnest appeal from His children? He gave Daniel a revelatory vision in the night. And Daniel gave God the glory. Daniel’s faith declaration is one we need to hear today.
Daniel 2:20-23 (NLT)
“Praise the name of God forever and ever,
for he has all wisdom and power.
He controls the course of world events;
He removes kings and sets up other kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the scholars.
He reveals deep and mysterious things
and knows what lies hidden in darkness,
though he is surrounded by light.
I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors,
for you have given me wisdom and strength.
You have told me what we asked of you
and revealed to us what the king demanded.”
Maybe you need some of these reminders today:
God has all wisdom and power. He has no rival.
He controls the course of world events. As Anne Graham Lotz has said several times on my show, “Things aren’t falling apart. They’re falling into place.”
He removes kings and sets up other kings. God’s purposes are above and beyond our understanding much of the time. We must humble ourselves before Him, seek His mercy, and trust Him to be faithful. One day, we’ll understand His ways.
He gives wisdom to the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Knowing the Holy One results in understanding (See Proverbs 9:10). He sees you. Knows you. And loves to lavish you with wisdom when you need it (see James 1:5). Count on God’s wisdom to help you navigate these seemingly impossible times.
He reveals deep and mysterious things. We don’t know what we don’t know, but we know the God who knows all things! God invites us to seek Him earnestly and to call on Him consistently. He promises to tell us things we do not and cannot otherwise know (see Jeremiah 33:3, 1 Corinthians 2:12, Hebrews 11:6). He reveals His mysteries to us. Imagine!
He knows what lies hidden in the darkness. Nothing gets by Him, and nothing ever will. He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him, and one day, He will fully deal with corruption, injustice, unstable kings, and unrighteous rulers.
Daniel earnestly walked with God, consistently dealt honorably with others, and repeatedly trusted the Lord to defend and deliver him.
God will do the same for you. Remember who it is you trust. Remember His goodness, His power, and His might.
The God who delivered Daniel from the mouth of the lion is alive and active in the world today!