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God of the Nations

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
July 8, 2020 8:00 am

God of the Nations

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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July 8, 2020 8:00 am

Taken captive and marched off to another country, Daniel and his friends have some amazing adventures in Babylonia. But through it all, they are faithful to God. As you enter into their story, you'll learn more about: the sovereignty of God, and why we must be holy and Christian living in a secular culture. In the latter half of this book, Daniel's own visions are recorded, and--in them--we catch glimpses of the future. How are these visions relevant to our lives?

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Welcome to the Bible study reviewing convincing featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Bortz for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our bearing you to think and act biblically the end of the first chapter of Daniel. We are told her it is suggested that God gave Daniel three things you gave them wisdom about said explicitly influence which flowed from his wisdom, and health which issued and long life is an interesting thing, however, that when we come to the second chapter of this book immediately. Each of those three things is either disregarded. On the one hand, or threatened, on the other. We presume that when Daniel finished his years of training. He was inducted in the company of wise men of Babylon.

Those whom the king refers to in verse two is the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers. We have to remember that he was still a very young man. He was taken away to Babylon. A particularly young age we guess that he may have been 15 or 16, then at this point in his life. Having finished his three years of training is only 18 or 19 and this means that the must obviously have been low man on the ball or a lot of people here among the company of these astrologers and magicians that had far more influence were much older and from a human point of view contained greater wisdom. But is all it was what we might call an apprentice wise man Junior Magi said in the story, of course, because when Nebuchadnezzar had his dream approached these astrologers to tell them the dream and interpreted Daniel and his friends are even mentioned. Matter fact I didn't even learn about the dream until later, after getting it already pronounced sentence on the wisemen of Daniel and his friends were about to be killed along with the other. So this stage in his life flow. God had blessed him though. He graduated from the Kings school. He nevertheless had no power, humanly speaking ends negligible influence over his life wasn't all that certain either. He wasn't in on the discussion that took place between the chief astrologers of Nebuchadnezzar.

But when the king got angry with the astrologers, he decided to do away with the entire company of them and that included Daniel and his friends although he done nothing and hadn't even achieved a position of importance was nevertheless a danger of losing his life was in a situation like this one last Daniel and brought them to the forefront of leadership in Babylon. I was important to see that to see that it was God who Daniel to the floor.

Daniel could never have done this himself, and if he had been able to do it himself meant nothing. His influence would have risen, but it would've fallen again. Justice was the case with the other wisemen but that wasn't that way God was with Daniel and God work in Daniel's life to bring them this position of great responsibility and leadership. Even though he was young.

As far as other astrologers were concerned.

It had no power, no influence, no wisdom, and he was even in danger of losing his life to God. Nevertheless, given them wisdom, God was going to prolong his life and it was through the circumstances of Nebuchadnezzar's dream that God was going to raise them to a position of great influence sleep really is the point that tires the first chapter of Daniel with the second, and indeed it's that point that buys the entire book together because the chief theme of Daniel is the sovereignty of God in the sovereignty of God means the sovereignty of God in circumstance. Sometimes things come into our lives are disquieting and if our God is not a God of circumstances, then those things are profoundly troubling because I mean that life is chaotic, that there is no order or through this order, there's no guarantee that we can continue and be part of it like this becomes meaningless where adrift on the sea of circumstances and subject to the waves of chance yet here is not God circumstances that directs life of Daniel and directs the circumstances of our lives as well. If you have a God like that God who is the God of circumstances plan for our lives and who can direct them, and most certainly will recommend preserve them to accomplish what he wants, then we can rest in that plan.

We may not know what the future holds.

Daniel certainly didn't know what the future held. But we can know that God holds the future and will hold us and enable us to serve him in the way that will bring honor to his name be a blessing to others, and that's Daniel's story chapter begins by saying in the second year of his reign. Nebuchadnezzar had dreams. His mind was troubled and he could not sleep. Nebuchadnezzar was not the first statesman who has been troubled by bad dreams or will he be the last statesman.

Many of them have bad memories of the past things that they have done rise up the hunt quiets watches of the night and most statesman why statement at least type forebodings about the future see the problems of the time.

The magnitude of the problems they recognize at least a pairwise they recognize their own limitations in.

I suppose many dream troubled dreams Kaiser's dream was different than the dreams of most statesman most of our dreams arise out of our subconscious things that we remember that come back to mind in the night work, our subconscious fears, which we repress during the day which emerge like my mind is more relaxed trouble is, most dreams are like that. So with a stream of Nebuchadnezzar's dream that Nebuchadnezzar had was given to him by God, the true God. It was the God of Daniel because a stream was given to Nebuchadnezzar by God.

It was a sure thing was a revelation. It was a revelation of important events to come. The only problem was Nebuchadnezzar gotten three rapid rate and then forget you wake up in the morning and you remember that a significant drain. Remember what the dream was. This was Nebuchadnezzar's problem. Because this was a dream to be given to them by God. He was particularly we would say finally troubled so he did what Kings did in those days he called together the people that were there to help him after all can get to everything what you have magicians in chapters, torturers and astrologers around do this with this Congress and Senate, and he turned to these men as helpers and he said to them, I've had a dream that troubles me. I want to know what it means send the astrologers replied quite rationally. Okay include forever. Tell your servants the dream we will interpret before I go on to a parenthesis era.

Note that at this point in the book of Daniel, the language which in the first chapter has been Hebrew becomes Aramaic related different language. Aramaic section of the book, beginning with verse four impact immediately after the word Aramaic continues to the end of chapter 7 which point the book begins to be written in Hebrew, yet most of us know that the Old Testament of those parks is written in Hebrew. In the New Testament in Greek, there are a few exceptions, and this is one of these middle sections chapters of Daniel. That's an interesting thing. For one thing it tells us that God had a special concern for the Babylonians.

Here is portion of the book that deals chiefly with the things that happened. Daniel and his three friends and family and concerns the Babylonian emperors that we can answer Bill Shatzer Darius ones were going to come later in the book when Daniel writes down the portions of the book that have to do primarily with the Babylonians. He writes in Aramaic because Aramaic was the Babylonian language when in chapter 80 passes on to future things, things that concern the juices own people, especially those back to Hebrew so it this tells us nothing else, at least tells us that God who inspired the writing of the book was concerned with both peoples concerned with the Babylonians, one hand because portions of the book were written in their language for their understanding and he was concerned for the Jews portions of the book were written in the traditional language of their Scriptures.

But there's more to it than that. This is a great argument for the authenticity of the book I sent for this reason. After that, people had returned from Babylon to their own country following 70 years of exile language in Canaan was Aramaic because they have learned Aramaic when they were there babbling out what kind of a person is if this is said posture this book if it's not authentically written by Daniel what kind of a person is and who would write a book partly in one language, and partly in the other. This was written by an imposter. At a later date as a much later date. It would have been written entirely in Aramaic because that was the language of the people was something written by an imposter.

But at an earlier date. It would've been written in Hebrew kind of person as it would write part of anyone language and part of it and the other the only rational answer to that kind of question is that man exactly like Daniel is a man who was a Jew and who had been trained to speak Hebrew but who learned Aramaic during schooling is described for us in chapter 1, and who, when he wrote to the people among whom God placed him in for he was concerned about in Aramaic but who, when he wrote for his own people wrote in the traditional language of the Hebrew Scriptures is a very interesting sidelight that comes from the text of the book but as I say what the text tells us is that the astrologers answered the king and Aramaic and they said okay include forever. Tell your servants the dream we will interpret. I didn't satisfy Nebuchadnezzar because Nebuchadnezzar had forgotten the dream we wanted to put the obligation upon the astrologers, so he replied this is what I have firmly decided if you not tell me what my dream was interpret it.

That's a little threat at this point, but a big threat. I will have you cut into pieces and your house is turned into piles of rubble. You tell me the dream and explain that you receive from the gifts and rewards in great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me. Have you ever been in a conversation that just didn't go well seem to be starting off well, but that it just went from bad to worse. Everything that said makes the situation more rigid and less productive is what happened here. You see, each of these groups. Nebuchadnezzar, on the one hand of the astrologers on the other had a certain amount of reason beyond what they were saying the astrologers were saying we are glad to tell you the meaning of the dream. Obviously, first we have to know what the dream once rational and Nebuchadnezzar was saying what you're the astrologers you're the magicians you're the sorcerers you're the enchanters why that is your business to be able to tell what dreams are so with your authentic magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers you want to be able to tell me what the dream is yourself and that interpret and yet a certain amount of reason on his side to what is there was a conversation that was going nowhere quickly. Astrologers reply has stated the first time let the king tell his servants the dream we will interpret it. And the king replied, as he had the first time I am certain that you're trying to gain time because you realize this is what I have firmly decided if you do not tell me the dream, just one penalty for you. You conspired to tell me miss leading and wicked things. Hoping the situation will change so that tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me. This point the astrologers have the most significant answer is for the sake of this answer that the long dialogue is included in the second chapter. The astrologers say to the king.

There is not a man on earth who can do with the king asks okay however great and mighty is ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter, or astrologers what the king asked is too difficult though one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men met interesting. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, they were entirely accurate.

They should of said except God is the one true God. But there was one true God and risen one true God, yet is man man was Daniel Louis determines not to the file himself. Things relating to the Babylonians, but live for God and serve him and God had raised up Daniel for precisely this moment about God is going to speak Daniel reveal not only the dream but also its interpretation when this man area rock the commander of the King's guard came to Daniel and his three friends take them to death row. Daniel wanted to know what was going on.

Situation was explains Daniel ask why the king issued such a harsh, great. Apparently he was in good standing with Marriott because he received permission to go to the king asking for time so that he might interpret the dream for really interesting is there was this young out slot to live with the Lord as we would say for 40 or 50 or 60 years.

This is a very young man is 18 or 19 years old young man goes to the king month to gain time. That's what the astrologers were doing.

Go to the kingdom to gain a reprieve from the executions until God should reveal to him dream's meaning.

Daniel get a faith like that been anything like that before that it was a very devout young man he had undoubtedly been trained in his youth in the Scriptures of the Jewish people certainly of no Genesis he would've known the story of Joseph matter-of-fact during these years of his training in Babel and I am sure, his mind went back to that story of Joseph in Egypt, many, many times, and Joseph, what have become something like a pattern for Daniel here was a young man carried away to a foreign capital who by the providence of God, rose to a position of great power to serve God in the midst of all kinds of godless temptation and Daniel would've said as he talked this over with his friend Shadrach me shack in the bed to go. You know are our situation is like that where like Joseph, only Babel and his is our Egypt and he would've known of course Joseph had been an interpreter of dreams matter-of-fact I detect an echo of the Joseph story later on in the second chapter when Daniel finally appears before Nebuchadnezzar and answers almost exactly as Joseph answered when he appeared before Pharaoh.

Daniel said no wise man enchanter magician or diviner could explain to the King the mystery is asked about, but there is a God in heaven who can reveal mystery.

That's exactly what Joseph said would Joseph appear before Pharaoh. He said I can't interpret your dream, but God will give Pharaoh the interpretation we desire say there was a similarity was also a tremendous difference because nowhere in Genesis is never suggested to us that Joseph had. First of all, to discover what the dream once and then interpret here is Daniel apparently without batting an eye young man would not want with the Lord would experience as we was a very few miraculous things in his life. Daniel just says well now give us 24 hours and God is going to reveal to us your dream and its interpretation is nicely worded.

Daniel get a faith like that. You got his faith by keeping his eyes on God.

Simple as that.

Daniel kept his eyes on God because he was looking to God. He knew what God was like God if he was worth the name of God is sovereign God all the astrologers say what you're asking is impossible. No man can do that is true. Certainly was impossible from a human point of view, but with God all things are possible is what Jesus said and that's what Daniel Newman so he said well now really doesn't make a lot of difference from God's point of view, doesn't it, dream is known and God provides the interpretation of the dream is not known.

And God provides for small dream and then the interpretation of same to God, so Daniel said whether childlike faith right sense said it was 24 hours and got a review meeting. Well, I was his faith was an arrogant and I guess some of us in a situation like that would say well okay, put God to the test, will God do it welding and we went on to do it. If you then. It wasn't like that. He had faith that God would do it but he also understood the benefits of prevailing prayer, so he got his friends together and he said now look plead for mercy from the God of heaven that he will reveal this mystery that we might not be executed with the rest of the wise men got together and they had a prayer meeting didn't go all night because Daniel went to sleep at some point during the night mystery was revealed to them the vision to see what happens. The effectual fervent prayer of these four righteous men availed much God was a giver of dreams as well is interpretation of them gave the dream Daniel as well as the interpretation now at this point we were telling the story we would pass on immediately to the dream way there we had a magnificent buildup Nebuchadnezzar dream.

The dream is or forgot the dream because it was going to execute the matter couldn't tell them the meaning or the nature of the dream.

Daniel intervenes God reveals the dream to Daniel. Next question is all right.

What is the dream was right at that white what we have here in the middle of this chapter between the first part creates a situation of the second part that resolves it is a gray prayer. Daniel stood God, prayer of adoration and thanksgiving for what God done is that they're under probably a couple reasons. For one reason is historical happened. Calvin says that this point of this study that when God gives a person a great blessing this natural response of the Christian to praise God for that. Certainly what Daniel did you trust in God. But when God acted he didn't say well that's just the way it is being God. He was grateful for what God had done so. He immediately broke into this great praise is great prayer is one reason why it's there but you know I think it's there for another reason. Well, when we begin to study this prayer we discover that it's great theme is the theme that we been looking at all along is the theme of God's sovereignty thing that ties this all together and it's an explanation of why Daniel had the confidence he did what he could say give us time and God will reveal and keep that confidence because he knew that God was sovereign over dreams as well as everything else and explain what is going to come later because the great contest of his early portion of the book is between Nebuchadnezzar and God over the subject which of them is sovereign Daniels prayer falls into three parts.

First of all, the subscription price adoration which is appropriate to all true prayer, praise be to the name of God, for ever and ever. Wisdom and power. His neck portion of our prayers are with adoration. We praise God for his attributes herein. This prayer appropriate to the context Daniel praises God for two things was wisdom. The first attribute and for his power. That's the second wisdom courses theme fits the context here was Babel in the center of the world's wisdom in that day there was Daniel who had been trained in all wisdom of the Babylonians and here with the astrologers, the epitome of the man who understood the wisdom of this great center of world wisdom in the context of the story, the wisdom of the astrologers seem to be woefully inadequate.

They can't tell the king's dream now. Daniel Cobb said in his prayer, he says wisdom belongs to go in a bit closer in the knowledge of the holy has a chapter on the wisdom of God which he says this wisely, the idea of God as infinitely wise is at the root of all truth is a datum of belief necessary to the soundness of all other beliefs about God. Wisdom, among other things, is the ability to devise perfect ends and to achieve those ends play the most perfect means sees the end from the beginning so there can be no need to guess or conjecture. Wisdom sees everything in focus each and proper relation to all and is thus able to work toward predestined goals with flawless precision all God's acts are done in perfect wisdom, first for his own glory and then for the highest good of the greatest number for the longest time all the facts are as pure as they are wise and as good as they are wise and pure only good his acts not be better done a better way to do them cannot even be imagines infinitely wise God must work in a manner not to be improved upon by finite creatures. Overlords manifold are thy works.

Wisdom has to make them all the earth is full of thy riches. Second attribute, for which Daniel praises God's power, which as I indicated, was the issue with Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar considered himself to be sovereign. After all, human terms. He was the sovereign and he didn't want to acknowledge anybody else and certainly not God as being sovereign over him. But, of course, is what you will.

I don't like the doctrine of sovereignty because we each have a little Nebuchadnezzar in her heart.

We don't want to bow down before God we don't want God to direct our lives to determine the outcome of the goals we want to do it ourselves. We we want to be little potentates ensconced upon our own little throne struggle between Nebuchadnezzar and God is the struggle that has to take place in the chart as a battered woman. By the grace of God comes eventually to submit the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ was the king of kings and Lord of lords. We have to let go are sovereignty, we have to recognize his sovereignty because it's his Lord as well as Savior that the Lord Jesus Christ redeems rescues us from our sin.

Let's first part of Daniel's prayer. The second part is the acknowledgment that although wisdom and power. Godsey nevertheless his grace grants wisdom and power demand grants power because verse 21 he changes times and seasons, he sets up kings and poses them grants wisdom because verse 20 1B, verse 22. He gives wisdom to the wise knowledge to the discerning reveals deep and hidden things he knows what lies in darkness and light wells with him.

The same is true that the unsaved world does not possess the fullness of spiritual wisdom. The kind of thing that the apostle Paul later was to write about.

First Corinthians world's wisdom says Paul knew not God, and the reason for that is that the natural man does not understand the things of the spirit of God, because her foolishness underwent neither can he know them, because there spiritually discerned. It takes spiritual insight to understand spiritual things.

That doesn't mean that there is not general wisdom which God imparts to those who do not know Christ as Savior, just as it does not mean that there is not a kind of general power to rule the God does not impart unbelieving rulers. This is evidence of the general grace general benevolence of God.

And just as Nebuchadnezzar had power that we did not know God, so men have wisdom low is not a saving wisdom get the point. You see, is that in both cases is limited and has or had great power, but it was not absolute power and he was not saved by his power, astrologers had great wisdom.

But it was not absolute wisdom, and they were not saved by their wisdom. Nebuchadnezzar the astrologers are Daniel or anyone else including you and I are to be saved, it must be by the impartation of that which is spiritual from God to us. We need power in our lives and we need wisdom to know what we should believe and why we should believe very end of this Daniel speaking for himself turns and praises God for wisdom and power.

He had been given there is a great change. There you see between the kind of wisdom and the kind of power that is gone before. Daniel speaking now is a man who knows God says so. I thank and praise you oh God of my fathers, you have given me wisdom power you have made known to me what we asked of you may known to us the dreams of the king you're a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Your situation is similar to that of Daniel. You may not be able to interpret dreams is no need for us to do that today because God is spoken now in his word God is giving you the wisdom to understand that word is understood spiritually foolish.

It must be a believer in Jesus Christ and God is given you his spirit to provide a kind of wisdom and the knowledge of his word that goes beyond even the wisdom of this great man. Daniel help foolish it is.

That's what got us done with you for you to neglect that word, think lightly about wisdom or to put it the other way around to be enamored of the wisdom of the world.

I'm not pleading for ignorance. Daniel was instructed in all of the things that the Babylonians knew Moses knew all of the wisdom of the Egyptians. The apostle Paul knew all of the wisdom of the Hebrew, Greek and Roman worlds of his day were highly educated, recognize that apart from God's spirit. All of this wisdom runs foolishness. They came God and sought wisdom that he alone provides your Christian you have not only great privilege great responsibility to do that so that you like Daniel and those who have gone before us in the faith during all of the centuries of church history. Might be able to speak this confused vacillating world those things which pertain to godliness, you're not a Christian on a believer in Christ. Yet, what shall I you may have a great deal of knowledge, you may be highly educated one or another fields you know if that's all you have is going to perish with you one day. The only thing really is going to matter in that day. Knowledge of the holy one, without which there is no salvation of foolish or say to be wise is the world is wise to neglect wisdom which God provides that wisdom is found in Jesus Christ as the focal point of it all, even for Daniel. He anticipates as we go on in the book were going to see that he anticipates the coming of Christ you know of Christ to has come there is a place to which you must go find she turned to him. God opens your eyes to see things that you would never and could never have perceived before lead you to the integration of knowledge to the praise of his glorious grace. The spray father, we thank you for all the wonders wisdom. Revelation sanctification and knowledge that are found in Jesus Christ, rented those who were here by your grace might be found of him so common to the knowledge of that which in the final analysis is what matters. So know you Jesus Christ sent a man you have been listening to the Bible study our production of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals the alliance of confessing Evangelicals exist to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of Reformation theologians from decades, even centuries gone by. We seek to provide contemporary Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place.

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