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God Has a Plan
Lessons From Daniel
Historical Background The Middle East was dominated by Assyria for 300 years. They established vassal states with puppet rulers. Nations periodically rebelled.
Assyria invaded Israel in about 734 BC. Samaria fell in 722 BC. Ninevah became the capital of the empire. One of the seven wonders of the world.
Ninevah fell to Babylon in 612 BC. Babylon became the world power. Took control over many of the nations ruled by Assyria.
What about Judah? Josiah brought reforms (2 Chronicles). Killed in battle with the Egyptian army in 609 BC. His son Jehoiakim was placed on the throne by Egypt.
By the late 7 th century BC Assyria began to weaken. In 626 BC Babylon won its independence. Began winning territory from Assyria.
In 605 BC the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar drove Egypt out of Judah. In 602 BC Judah rebelled against Babylon. Jehoiakim dies; his son Jehoiachin takes his place.
In 597 BC Nebuchadnezzar recaptured Jerusalem. The king, his family, the leading officials, and the military leaders were taken captive to Babylon. 2 Kings 24: 14 – around 10, 000 taken
All the furniture and valuables were taken from the temple. Zedekiah became the puppet ruler in Judah. He led a a rebellion against Babylon after ruling for 11 years.
Jerusalem was surrounded by Babylon for 30 months. Fell in 586 BC. Temple was destroyed. This was the lowest point in Judah’s history.
Judah Deported Three Times 1. 605 BC. Nobility and young men taken to Babylon. Daniel was among them. 2. 597 BC. 10, 000 taken to Babylon. 3. 586 BC. Final destruction of Jerusalem.
God was working His plan. Jeremiah 25: 8 10 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, “Because you have not obeyed My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, ” declares the Lord, “and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them and make them a horror and a hissing; and an everlasting desolation. ”
Verse 11: This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
God would bring them back. Ezra 1: 1 3 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put in writing, saying:
Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah and rebuild the home of the Lord, the God of Israel; He is the God who is in Jerusalem. ”
God carried out His plan. His hand was unseen. By the Babylonians By Judah’s kings By the people Only seen by the prophets!
God is working His plan today. The Gospel will be taken to the entire world. (Acts 1: 8) A number of Gentiles known only by God will come to Christ. (Romans 11: 25) The Jewish people will turn to Christ. (Romans 11: 26)
How is it happening? God uses the nations to accomplish His will. What looks like defeat today will turn into victory tomorrow. God will bring His plan to its conclusion in His own time.
God uses individuals. Daniel 1: 1 7 Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah
Verse 17: As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams. Verse 19: The king talked with them, and out of them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s personal service.
Daniel interprets the king’s dream. Daniel 2: 48 Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him rule over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.
Three refuse to worship idol of the king. Daniel 3: 29 Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or tongue that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb and their house reduced to a rubbish heap, in as much as there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.
Verse 30 Then the king caused Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to prosper in the province of Babylon.
Daniel 5 Daniel interprets handwriting on the wall for king Belshazzar. Verse 29 Then Belshazzar gave orders, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a necklace of gold around his neck, and issued a proclamation concerning him that he now had authority as the third ruler in the kingdom.
Daniel 6 Edict prohibiting prayer except to the king. Daniel is cast into the lion’s den. Edict that men glorify God.
Daniel 6: 28 So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
God uses individuals today.
David Livingstone "Many a morning have I stood on the porch of my house, and looking northward, have seen the smoke arise from villages that have never heard of Jesus Christ. I have seen, at different times, the smoke of a thousand villages —villages whose people are without Christ, without God, and without hope in the world. . . The smoke of a thousand villages. " Thus spoke the South African pioneer, Robert Moffat. The meeting closed, and out of the door of the hall went a young man—a young medical student, David Livingstone; but with him went the words of Moffat—"The smoke of a thousand villages whose people have never heard. . . The smoke of a thousand villages. "
He could not sleep that night. The lure of Africa had caught him—the lure of a work worth doing, the biggest work that a young man who strives to follow Christ can attempt. "The smoke of a thousand villages. " Moffat's words sang on in his ears. Why should not he become the spiritual father of nations of the future? Dimly Livingstone saw Africa's millions waiting in the shadows —saw the smoke arising from their camp and hearth fires —"The smoke of a thousand villages. "
He left England, and arrived unheralded in Africa —he who had few gifts but will-power to make his own future and the success of his life. How little did the Committee of the London Missionary Society realize when they accepted this young man as a missionary, that after forty-three years he would be buried in Westminster Abbey, and that his tomb in the Abbey would be visited by more people from the ends of the earth than any other tomb in that mausoleum of the mighty!
Missionaries Paul Kee in Africa Randay Matheny in Brazil Missionaries Around the World
Fanny Crosby was probably the most prolific hymnist in history. Though blinded by an incompetent doc tor at six weeks of age, she wrote over 8, 000 hymns. About her blindness, she said: “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me. ”
In her lifetime, Fanny Crosby was one of the best known women in the United States. To this day, the vast majority of American hymnals contain her work. When Fanny died, her tombstone carried the words “Blessed assur ance, Jesus is mine. Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine. ”
God will use me. God’s plan is being carried out today everywhere. He uses everyone and anyone who is willing. Are you part of His plan?