God Controlled the Past, and He Controls the Present and Future!
INTERESTING FACTS : John Witherspoon, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; PRESIDENT OF PRINCETON
"[C]hrist Jesus - the promise of old made unto the fathers, the hope of Israel [Acts 28:20], the light of the world [John 8:12], and the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth [Romans 10:4] - is the only Savior of sinners, in opposition to all false religions and every uninstituted rite; as He Himself says (John 14:6): "I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me. [N]o man, whatever be his character or whatever be his hope, shall enter into rest unless he be reconciled to God though Jesus Christ. [T]here is no salvation in any other than in Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I shall now conclude my discourse by preaching this Savior to all who hear me, and entreating you in the most earnest manner to believe in Jesus Christ; for "there is no salvation in any other" [Acts 4:12]."
"It is very evident that both the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New are at great pains to give us a view of the glory and dignity of the person of Christ. With what magnificent titles is He adorned! What glorious attributes are ascribed to him!... All these conspire to teach us that He is truly and properly God - God over all, blessed forever! [I]f you are not reconciled to God through Jesus Christ - if you are not clothed with the spotless robe of His righteousness - you must forever perish. [H]e is the best friend to American liberty who is the most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country."
Daily Reading : Daniel 1 - 3
TEXT : Dan 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
Dan 1:2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. Dan 1:3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; Dan 1:4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
THEME : Sovereignty of God
It is no small consolation to the student of the Word of God that the LORD controls everything. We see in the Book of Daniel, the beginning of the capture of the Jews, among whom are Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. With this, we see, even in captivity God has a remnant that belong to Him. He always has, and He always will. One may guess why the LORD ordains [that is, to be in captivity as slaves to an ungodly king] these godly young men. However, the answer is clear and simple. God orders all events in life to work His plan for your good -that is, the welfare of His people. Chiefly, He will preserve the Jews through these young men, and others as well [such as Ezekiel] who though in bondage still serve the One True God.
Beginning with Daniel and his friends' refusal to eat the food of the Chaldeans [that is, a diet contrary to Levitical Law], the LORD sets these young men apart from the others [who, we must speculate, ate whatever they received] by proving their diet was superior to the Babylonian diet. This begins the import and impact godly Jews such as Daniel will have in the future. As mentioned, God always has a remnant He can use for His Glory and designs.
For instance, you see the notoriety, fame, intelligence, spirituality, and holiness of Daniel in Ezekiel's mention of him when both Ezekiel and Daniel are still young men and recent captives of the Chaldean army.
Eze_14:14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.
Eze_14:20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.
Eze_28:3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:
Three times the LORD mentions Daniel in the Book of Ezekiel, showing that Daniel attained notoriety due to his walk with God. In addition, God references Daniel's name with Noah and Job - men of no small influence in the Bible. "The Jews have a saying, that ‘if all the wise men of the nations were in one scale, and Daniel in the other, he would weigh them all down.''' [John Gill]
Thus, you observe the sovereignty of God in placing [not permitting] Daniel, Ezekiel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, etc. in the Kingdom of the Chaldeans. This is because God had, and still has, a plan of Israel and for His Church. Chiefly, God preserved the seed of Abraham in bringing the Christ - Jesus of Nazareth, into the world. His Kingdom, as you read in chapter 3 of the Book of Daniel, will destroy all other kingdoms and dominate the world. His Kingdom, unlike all others, will have no end!
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "GOD CONTROLLED THE PAST, AND HE CONTROLS THE PRESENT AND FUTURE!"
God controlled the past, and He controls the present and future. As someone has said - "history is His - story." How true it is. God has always had control of His creation. He always will. This, as stated above, is no small consolation to you. He truly has everything under control!
From the beginning, as Daniel and his companions gain favor with the king's guard - Melzar, the LORD works to preserve the seed of Abraham [that is, the Jews, and therefore Christ] as well as show Himself strong in the behalf of those who trust in Him. We see this numerous times. Yet, keep in mind the Jews are in captivity through their disobedience. Still, God is the "little sanctuary" He said He would be to all who serve and trust Him. [Eze_11:16 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.]
On the subject of God controlling history, we first see the miraculous interpretation of an [ungodly] king's dream, a dream that has great significance in history. The interpretation would be difficult enough if it not compounded by the fact Nebuchadnezzar could not remember it. Thus, in the fact that God showed Daniel what the dream was and what it meant, you see God's direct influence over the history of Man and the world. You also see the inability and feebleness of man's religion [Nebuchadnezzar's "magicians" could not ascertain the dream] and the power of relationship with the LORD. Daniel in relating the dream and the interpretation states it was not because of anything "special" about him. You may disagree, but Daniel tells you God is overall - not Man.
With regard to the three men in the fire, we see the miraculous intervention of the LORD, once again preserving His people [Israel and the Church] and showing Himself strong in the behalf of those that trust in Him. [2Ch_16:9a For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.]
The kingdoms announced by God to and through Daniel - the Babylonians [Iraq - gold], the Medo-Persians [Iran - silver], the Greeks [brass], the legs of iron [Roman Empire] have all come and gone. The last [human] empire mentioned is yet to come. The feet of clay and iron [with the ten toes - that is, ten kings] that cannot mix, will be a revival of, or at least mirror the ancient Roman Empire. However, the stone [Christ] cut without hands [God working directly through history] will crush all previous kingdoms and their influence and establish His own that will endure forever!
As you go about your day, remember the fourth "man" in the fire, the one who looks like the Son of God. For indeed He is with you wherever you go, directing your steps [Psa_37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.] and guiding you to His Kingdom!