Jump Start # 2025
Daniel 2:21 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding.”
Our verse today reminds us of not only the activity of God, but what lies behind the curtain that the human eye often doesn’t see. The book of Daniel is a great place to verify this point. The Babylonians were used by God to punish Judah. God moved them to that position. After a period of time, God allowed the Persians to overthrow Babylon. This opened the door to end the captivity of God’s people. From the standpoint of world history, this was nothing more than wars and one county seizing the opportunity to take over another weakening empire. Babylon and Persia probably didn’t see their roles in Biblical prophecy or history.
But this isn’t just seen on the world scale. Consider, the story of the rich man and Lazarus from Luke 16. Lazarus died and was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom. God doesn’t use fanciful ideas that are not true. This wasn’t a make believe story. The events line up to be factual and true. Are the righteous today carried by angels when they die? We can’t see angels because they are spirits. We can’t see the soul leaving the body. There is nothing that would make me conclude that this doesn’t happen.
Yet, another way we know that God is active on the personal level is in the answer to our prayers. We pray. Doors open for opportunity. The sick get better. Things happen. God is thanked for the good that He has done.
So, on both the national and international level, and even on the personal level, God is active and busy. We may not be aware of all that God is doing. We may not appreciate all that God is doing. We may never know on this side of things, just how many times God has been there for us. We may never know all the good that God has done for us.
It’s easy to think that God’s work is done and He is simply watching us from Heaven. Or, some may envision a giant stadium. God’s on one side in the stands, and Satan is on the other side in the stands. We’re on the field, journeying toward the goal. While God may cheer us on, folks in the stands do not change the outcome of the game.
Not realizing the activity of God can make one wrongly conclude that God isn’t doing much today. Habakkuk wondered that. God responded by declaring, “You would not believe, if I told you.” The Psalmist wondered why God didn’t hear him. He did.
All of this reminds us of a few simple thoughts:
First, God doesn’t have to explain Himself to us. He does things that are righteous, good and according to His will. We may not understand. We may question, “Why?” Don’t expect an answer. We are accountable to God and not the other way around. Faith and trust in Him will make us realize that He is holy and good.
Second, God does things that we do not see. Not everything is visible to us. Our examples above, the changing of kings, the carrying of souls to paradise, are things that happen all around us but we don’t see God’s thumbprint on that. There are prayers others have prayed and God answered and we benefit from that. The righteous farmer prays for rain and God sends rain. It rains out on the farms and it rains in the city. The folks in the city may complain about the rain, but they never understand that God is answering the prayer of the righteous farmer. We often do not see all that God is doing.
Third, God uses people and places people in certain positions to fulfill His will. Nebuchadnezzar is a good example of this. God continued to send that king divine dreams. God was using that pagan to accomplish His will. Babylon was an instrument of God. I doubt most in Babylon ever got that. They never saw past their idolatrous gods. Even King Nebuchadnezzar, who received divine dreams, struggled with all of this. God doesn’t work only through righteous people. What world leaders, what people of importance, is God working through today? They may never know it. We may never know it. But God has a plan and a will and nothing can derail that.
Fourth, God is greater than all of us. God was greater than Babylon. As large, fierce and powerful as Babylon was, God used them as a pawn on a chess board to accomplish His plans. The suffering Christians at the end of the Bible, felt the heavy hand of Rome. There was little that they could do. The Christians didn’t have armies. They didn’t have the man power, the provisions, nor the knowledge to overcome a crushing empire like Rome. But God did. In time, that nation fell apart. Historically, it was jealous and poor leadership that caused Rome to crumble. Biblically, it was the hand of God.
Fifth, God’s plan is greater than the individual righteous person. We, who walk with God, help fulfill His plan. Yet, we are not the plan itself. So, David died. James was murdered. Stephen was crushed with rocks. John was beheaded. Antipas was killed. Yet, the kingdom of God rolled on. It grew. It became mighty. It lived beyond all of the apostles. It continues today and it is greater than any of us. Preachers come and go. Preachers begin their careers and preachers end their careers. On my office wall, I have two old, old prints of preachers. Dozens and dozens of preachers are in those prints. A few many would recognize. Most are not know by this generation. Most have left little evidence of their godly work here. They lived, preached their hearts out. Established congregations. Held debates. Printed books. Traveled everywhere. Preached and preached and preached. Then their time here was finished. Time moved on. Generations later, they are a picture in a collection of preachers. Yet, the kingdom grows. It survived the great names. It will survive us. Now, some congregations die. Some congregations cease to exist. Some merge with other congregations. Yet, the overall kingdom of God thrives. It is that large tree that grew from the mustard seed. Our absence may be felt in the local congregation, but in the overall kingdom, it will survive without us. Our work is for today. If there are generations from now, we may be nothing more than another picture among hundreds of others. Our names may not be recognized in the future. What we have done will be remembered by Heaven. And, the kingdom will thrive.
Finally, we grasp how active, how complete and how thorough our God is. That little kingdom that was prophesied back in Daniel 2, crushed all the others and today it is world wide and strong. All through history, and all through our lives, God has been there. He has helped us. He has forgiven us. He has blessed us. He was protected us. He has used us to be His feet, hands and eyes today.
Our God is amazing. It’s incredible that we can be part of this eternal picture and plan of His. It’s remarkable that He trusts us enough to put His kingdom into our hands. What an honor it is to teach and preach the Gospel of this kingdom. How special it is to be adopted into God’s family.
When you are lonely, when you are discouraged, when you think things are not going well, when you get the thoughts of giving up, consider what we have shared today. You are part of something amazing, powerful and eternal. So large, that kings come and go at the will of God. So vast, that it crosses into every nation and is known in every language. It’s not going away. It’s not going to fail. History shows us this.
God is good. He is good to us.