June 21, 2015 (Father’s Day)
By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor
Daniel 2 is a lengthy narrative of political power, revealing who is really in charge in this world.
In summary, Daniel stepped in when the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to kill all the magicians and wise men of his kingdom if they did not produce both the content and interpretation of the king’s recent dream.
God revealed to praying Daniel what the dream was and its interpretation. The dream was of a dazzling statue of various metals, which from top to bottom decreased in value but increased in strength. A rock from the landscape broke the statue and became a giant mountain.
The explanation of this vision was that the king was the head of gold with “dominion and power…” (Dan.2:37). The parts below the head (three other kingdoms) were all diminishing and dividing in power, down to the feet, which were mixed elements and falling apart. The rock “cut out from a mountain, but not from human hands” (Dan. 2:45) broke the statue to pieces.
The main point of this story is not trying to interpret a myriad of historical details, but to back up a layer and see the principles taught to all people in all times, giving us hope that we as Christians can thrive no matter who is in charge.
Two principles that give us hope no matter who is in charge:
I. God is in charge of who is in charge.
“He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning”. (Dan. 2:21)
God’s sovereignty is consistent with the teachings of the entire Bible. God raises both good and bad rulers; we as Christians need to recognize this and live in the light of it.
Three things we should do:
We should be grateful for the big picture of what God has done in this country of the United States, with its incredible natural resources, peaceful country neighbors, safety, daily provisions, power on the world stage, etc.
We should be excellent citizens, like Daniel, submitting to government authority with taxes, honor, and respect (Rom.13:12). As Christians, we should be the best citizens, helping and being super supportive of our political system, with no room for unhappiness about our government.
Although we might have real concerns about what is happening in our country, we need to take heart because God has a larger plan for our ultimate good and is working it out. God knows what He is doing, no matter what level of the eras of the king’s vision that we are living in. It is not all about us. Although we are now in a new culture becoming post Christian, it is going to be OK because God is continuing to work His plan. He is fully capable of helping His people to thrive, no matter what the circumstances, because He is in charge of who is in charge.
II. Real power and hope is not found in politics. It is found in Christ’s Kingdom.
The statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of multiple kingdoms crumbled, and the rock (Jesus Christ and His Kingdom) became a “huge mountain and filled the whole earth” (Dan.2:35).
To have a “faith that makes sense” (from Grace Community Church’s Vision Statement), we must understand that all the authority of this world will be nullified by Jesus’ Kingdom.
True power and hope to change the world are not in political machines, but in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, His Church, His communities. Jesus Christ can transform us to bring the Gospel of hope and reconciliation to those around us. As Jesus’ followers, we can thrive no matter where we are: in our lives, in our country, or in history.