Remember Who's In Charge
Day: 1 | Plan: Daniel
Today's Reading: Daniel 1:1-7
Daniel 1:2 (ESV) "And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god."
When we think of the book of Daniel, we may remember God's triumph over a fiery furnace and a den of lions. However, in these opening verses, we find God's people in a bleak and disheartening situation.
Daniel starts with the bad news of the fierce king of Babylon's attack on Jerusalem. (Daniel 1:1) Babylon had just dismantled the powerful Assyrian empire, and Nebuchadnezzar won a significant victory over Egypt; then he set his sights on the southern kingdom of Judah in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem didn't put up much of a fight. Judah's king, Jehoiakim, is now subservient to Nebuchadnezzar. The Babylonians head home with precious vessels of the house of God and the finest youth of Judah. (Daniel 1:2-4)
Nebuchadnezzar appears to be doing whatever he pleases — besieging, taking, indoctrinating and even changing people's names. It's starting to look like God has abandoned His people or lacks the power to stop Nebuchadnezzar. Have God and His people finally met their match in the mighty empire of Babylon?
We find our answer in these four words: "And the Lord gave..." (Daniel 1:2). God gave Judah's king into the hand of the Babylonian ruler. But Nebuchadnezzar only reigns over that which the Lord has sovereignly and purposefully given to him. In these opening verses and throughout the entire book, Daniel wants us to know that the God of Israel rules over all.
Nebuchadnezzar appears to have dominion over the ancient world, but he is actually subservient to the Ancient of Days. (Daniel 7:9) God is not surprised by this Babylonian victory. Rather, God uses Nebuchadnezzar to bring the judgment God planned and foretold before Nebuchadnezzar rose to power. (2 Kings 20:16-18; Isaiah 39:5-7) "For kingship belongs to the LORD , and he rules over the nations" (Psalm 22:28).
Daniel and his friends probably felt discouraged as they faced years of exile and indoctrination in Babylonian culture. (Daniel 1:4-5) But God was with them. He was using the actions of Nebuchadnezzar to bring about His purposes for His glory. No person or power can thwart God's plans. (Job 42:2) As we continue studying Daniel, we'll see how this truth of God's sovereignty gives His people courage and comfort.
Centuries later, the Lord gave His Son into the hands of sinful men. (Acts 2:23) God did so to demonstrate His ultimate rule over all His enemies in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14) When we experience confusion and disappointment in our lives, the cross and the empty tomb remind us that the Lord reigns.
If you feel like Daniel and his friends today — if you feel left alone in an unknown, frightening and intimidating place — remember the Lord is on His throne. If you are in Christ, the King of kings is also your faithful Father. All His good purposes will be fulfilled, not just in world history, but also in your daily life. In your most challenging circumstances, you can trust the Lord Who rules over all.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You alone are the King of kings. We praise You for Your rule and reign over all the nations and all our days. Give us eyes of faith to see You at work in our world and our lives. By the power of Your Spirit, help us to trust You even when we don't understand. In Jesus' name, amen.
When Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah arrived in Babylon, they were given new names. Their... Read More
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