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Why Daniel 4? Why Now?

01 Dec

During these past elections, the book of Daniel was continually on my mind. I am more convinced than ever that this book is intensely practical to our day, and one of the most relevant things we can read regarding our current politcal climate.

To start with, no matter who you voted for, we all need to pray for our president-elect. Not only is this a biblical command (1Tim 1:1-2), the book of Daniel tells us clearly that God has set him in place (Daniel 2:21). There is absolutely no way that the sovereignty of God was foiled by the democratic process. The electoral college didn’t pull a fast one on the Lord of glory and slip the “wrong” guy into place. God raises up kings and removes kings. Period. His leadership is perfect.

However, just because God has set him in place doesn’t mean that we kick back and relax, assuming everything is now going to be coming up roses. When a people are casting off the Lord’s Kingship, He gives them the kind of ruler they want (and hence, deserve). This is part of the reason I am positive that democracy doesn’t pose a challenge to God’s sovereignty. Israel wanted a king just like all the other nations, and God gave them Saul. At the end of the age, the world will want a ruler who can promise peace and prosperity without any semblance of godliness, and God will give them the Antichrist. As a whole, our nation wants a president who cares more about the economy than the unborn, and God gave us one. Just because God raises up a king. it does not necessarily follow that that king is God’s chosen instrument to make everything better. After all, God raised up Nebuchadnezzar, too (and you can see how happy that did not make the prophet Habakkuk in Hab 1:12-2:1).

But just because things aren’t good doesn’t mean they are hopeless. The God who raises kings up also holds the heart of those kings in His hand, and can turn them (Prov 21:1). In the book of Daniel, we see that Nebuchadnezzar was a blatantly wicked man. He sacked Jerusalem, took the holy articles from the temple of God, was violent and idolatrous, and became responsible for the falling away of who knows how many Jewish youth in Daniel’s exile. He was arrogant, power hungry and short tempered. Yet He was divinely turned by the sovereign “interference” of God. The right encounters in the right timing took a hellbound, prideful king and turned him into a believer of Yahweh. When Daniel interpreted the king’s dream in chapter 2, he was awed, calling Daniel’s God a great God. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego walked out of the furnace in chapter 3, he was terrified and forbade anyone to speak ill of the Hebrews’ God. And when the Lord gave him a time out in the pasture for seven “times”, he came back a completely transformed, converted man, acknowledging Yahweh as the One who really rules on this earth.

When I heard the news of the election, I immediately began thinking of these encounters which God gave Nebuchadnezzar. I began praying that God would release those kind of encounters to Barack Obama. I have no idea what condition that man’s soul is in, and it’s not my place to figure it out. All I know is that if God could turn Nebuchadnezzar, He can certainly speak to our president-elect. If He can completely humble a Babylonian despot, surely He can speak to a president about justice for the unborn. I believe He wants to. I fully believe it’s possible. But I also believe that this is not where we leave it.

As I was praying, I was struck with this realization: Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was only half of the picture. In both Daniel 2 and 4, the dream left Nebuchadnezzar confused and fearful,  but unmoved. It took a prophet, a man of God who knew the heart of the Lord, to interpret and make sense out of what the Lord was saying. And I felt it as clear as I’ve probably felt anything; if we want Barack Obama to have Nebuchadnezzar-type encounters, we need a prophetic church willing to be a Daniel.

Here’s the catch: Daniels do not emerge in a day. Daniels do not get raised up through “bolt from the blue” impartations. Daniels do not wake up one day with the ability to interpret dreams, suddenly having a mature history in God. Daniels are forged in the lifestyle of fasting and prayer, determining to live separately and undefiled from the luxuries of this present evil age. If we want to hear what Daniel  heard and see what he saw, we have to be willing to live like he lived. We’re going to have to disentangle from a lot of superfluous stuff and really give ourselves to knowing our God. We don’t get to hide under a rock until this all blows over. If we want to see an impact for righteousness made, we have to be committed to full obedience and “extreme” (read: actually living the Bible) holiness.

We won’t get anywhere by wishing that everyone else would rend their hearts. We have to rend ours. We have to be willing to take the place of the intercessor, which means crying out for God to have mercy on humanity, but also pleading with humanity to hear God. We must be a clear voice, which means we must be given fully to hearing God. That includes restructuring every day life to make room for it, intentionally talking to the Lord a lot (i.e. Daniel’s custom of praying three times a day). That includes giving up normal comforts of life if it means safeguarding our heart from slipping into the stupor that comes with the spirit of this age (i.e. Daniel’s request to eat only vegetables). That includes being in the ostracized minority of people who are tenacious about their faith (i.e. Daniel and his three friends are the only Jewish youth whom we can be sure kept their faith through their indoctrination). Then, and only then, are we going to have something to say to the king whose sleep is disrupted by decrees from the Holy God of heaven.

This is a serious time we live in, people. Let’s do this.

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4 Comments

Posted by on December 1, 2008 in Bible, Daniel, Intercession

 

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4 responses to “Why Daniel 4? Why Now?

  1. brianbeattie

    December 2, 2008 at 7:24 am

    Amen. Well said.

     
  2. Dorean Beattie

    December 2, 2008 at 10:53 am

    A very challenging word; true,imperative, and challenging.

     
  3. John Barker

    December 2, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    I am with your mom & dad, well said and challenging. Let’s do it.

    I have a couple of questions for you that I have been wrestling with. First, you said; “The electoral college didn’t pull a fast one on the Lord of glory and slip the “wrong” guy into place. God raises up kings and removes kings. Period. His leadership is perfect.”

    (I’m playing devil’s advocate here) I have heard many others say things like, president elect Barack Obama wasn’t God’s choice really, that we as the church some how dropped the ball in our responsibility.

    I agree with your position, I think it is both Biblical and what the Holy Spirit is communicating in this hour. As controversial as that statement might be, I believe this is a determined counsel of the Lord as much as when He raised up Nebuchadnezzar. I believe, there are times in God’s economy when a “fullness” is met. A fullness of iniquity, a fullness of the times. I don’t think we could have prayed our way out of it. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    My second question, well more of a statement fishing for your feedback, is a little off topic but flows in the same vein of current events. Going back several months to our discussion on Zechariah 5, I have been thinking on this chapter again lately in light of the global financial crisis. Some of the idea’s that I had when I was meditating on it then, seem make more even more sense now.

    The flying roll that the prophet saw, the angel informed him was a curse. The curse was against those who steal and to those who swears falsely by the name of the Lord. This scroll would actually enter the house of these offenders to consume both the timber and stone of that house.

    My thoughts; “much of what we see taking place in this current situation is because of greed and immoral business practices. A lot of corruption is being exposed along with the weakness of our economic might. Many of the “storied” names in the financial system of the united states have be devastated. Save the temporary propping up of our government, many names have been brought to reproach. The timber of their house, as it were, has been consumed. But the foundation stones yet remain. Many business men and businesses are failing as well. Many people and families are losing their life savings, houses, retirements, and livelihoods.

    Saved and unsaved alike. Could it be that the Lord is bringing about this curse to those who have hoped to build their empires apart from Him and He is now calling them into account? Could He be making a call of mercy right on the outset of the final minuets of this age, shaking people from their drunken stupor to awake and consider what they are building? Is it that He is calling them to question how they are building and why they are building it, and the fact that they have not considered Him or His Son? Maybe this is why we see these at the center of the commandments, it’s the real heart issue and what is at the center of the question of our existence. To whom, and for whom are you building? Isn’t this the real question at the end of the age??

    Meanwhile, the last half of the chapter speaks of this basket, woman in it, and the weight on the top of it carried by two other women with storks wings. In defiance to the curse, satan is using it (the curse) to build his final stand against God and is offering men a “shelter” from it. (his worship system is centered on money, power and trade, which the world values above all. It takes this worlds goods in order to create your “empire” apart from God) What God is using to bring men to repentance, satan is using to bring men to accuse and rebel against Him, by creating his own system. It’s Babel reborn, “let us make a city and a tower in the midst of it that will reach the heavens.” They wanted an existence of their own outside of the leadership of God. They wanted to be their own gods, of which satan is pleased to help them with. All this to destroy man.

    Any thoughts??

     
  4. Amanda Beattie

    December 2, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    1) I am not at all comfortable with saying, “the church dropped the ball”, because nine times out of ten, that statement comes from a bitter heart that is thinking, “If only everyone prayed as hard as I did / as Lou Engle did / as my prayer group did / etc., then we wouldn’t be in this mess. Blast those luke-warm ninny Christians.” What’s done is done, and pointing fingers doesn’t help at this point. This is of course not to say that discerment is abandoned, and this is not to say that we pretend like the church did everything right leading up to the elections — there was obviously a lot of confusion in our ranks about who to vote for and what issues were important. But the way forward now is still the same as always: we fast and pray, we live our own lives holy before the Lord, and we stand as a clear voice to the truth. We can’t rend other people’s hearts for them; we must continue to rend our own and exhort others to join us. There are so many factors that could have (and likely did) affect these elections, and God is so wise and sovereign in His leadership, that I think all we can do at this point is trust His leadership and call the church to keep praying/start praying now to see how we can affect what is coming.

    I’m not prepared to say whether or not this nation has hit the fullness of iniquity. I think there are a number of things that could theoretically be happening — one of which is that we cry out for mercy, and God says, “Trust Me; that’s what I’m doing”, and lets our nation be shaken because that’s what we need in order to turn. I am still going to be earnestly praying for revival in this nation, because if we hit the actual “fullness of iniquity”, there’s a pretty good chance we get wiped off the map for it. For my own heart’s sake, I have to assume that the judgment our nation is headed for can be lessened, and more people can be turned to the Lord. If I get to the point that I’m convinced we can’t change it with our prayers to one degree or another, I am very likely going to get discouraged to where I don’t pray at all. I’m not going to guess it’s too late until I hear a clear, inarguable “thus saith the Lord” about it. (By the way, I know this isn’t quite what you are getting at; I’m just explaining why I’m not going to make any estimations about whether or not it could have been averted.)

    2) Whether or not the same curse of Zechariah 5 is manifesting again in our day is not something we can say. But I absolutely agree that Zechariah 5 has some serious principles that are carrying over to our day. At the heart of it, God loves righteousness and hates wickedness. He hates corruption and greed which tramples the poor to make the rich richer. He will judge that, period. For the sake of His name, for the sake of the poor, and even for the sake of the souls of people committing the sin, He will bring those kinds of systems down. It’s the only kind thing to do. And of course, in respose to that, people either repent and start serving the Lord, or they rage against Him. There is no middle ground.

    My interpretation of the woman in the basket is that she is divinely restrained (hence the cover) until the house is built for her in Shinar / Babel / Babylon — until the full context has come for her to be revealed. I think this is the Babylon system, the most prosperous, yet ruthless economic system ever seen on earth. I totally agree that it’s the culmination of the same old rebellion of Babel and that people will be choosing to serve mammon rather than God.

     

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