Summary: Four things you can count on in times of uncertainty. Step by step through chapter seven. Use in series
FINDING CERTAINTY IN UNCERTAIN TIMES
Daniel Ch. 7
Pastor Bob Hunter
Intro: Daniel lived through some pretty uncertain times as an exile in Babylon. Death threats, idol worship, temperamental kings, backbiting officials, puzzling dreams, difficult problems, etc. These were just a few of things that Daniel had to face during his 70 year exile. Under King Belshazzar’s reign Daniel faced probably the greatest amount of uncertainty that he had ever faced. Belshazzar’s reign was marked with volatility. Amid the uncertainty, God gave Daniel a dream, Daniel Ch. 7.
Like Daniel, we’re living through a time of uncertainty. Economically, politically, socially, morally. America is awash in uncertainty. Since the attacks on our nation 4 years ago (9-11-2001) a whole new dimension of uncertainty has emerged. Words like Al Quaida, Bin Laden, Al Zarqawi, were hardly a part of our vocabulary. Today these names are common knowledge. Everything has changed. On a personal level we face uncertainty on a daily basis. Unemployment, the rising cost of health care, higher taxes, affordable housing, volatile relationships, unexpected bills, etc. There’s a measure of uncertainty that abounds.
The great American hero, Benjamin Franklin once said, “There is nothing for certain but death and taxes.” Old Benny had it right. You can count on very little these days. Much of life is unpredictable.
So I ask you, in this world of uncertainty, where will you turn for answers? Who will you trust? What will you hold onto?
The world is changing at a ever so fast pace, and we like Daniel need something to hold onto in our time of uncertainty. In Daniel Ch. 7 God gave Daniel a dream. The dream represented future hope for all generations. Amid a time of great uncertainty in Babylon, God moved on Daniel’s heart and gave him a hope that he could count on.
The dream was a bit troubling at first. The first image that appeared was that of a churning sea. (Vs. 1-2) Imagine the Devil’s punchbowl on the Oregon coast filled with ferocious waves. The water is stirred up and the waves are pounding away at the sides. This is the image that comes to mind in Daniel’s dream. The unleashed power of the ocean. The sea is often used in the Bible to symbolically describe the troubled status of the world. It represents the world in a state of chaos and confusion.
The churning sea serves as a backdrop for the prophetic hope that God gives Daniel. Daniel’s vision was a hopeful one. All God given prophecy is hopeful. Our God is a God of hope, not one of doom and despair. In the dream, God gives Daniel a confident hope in the future. Amid the turmoil and confusion, God spoke. What God said to Daniel that night, I want to share with you. I’ve broken the dream up into four principle components. Each have a relevant application to us.
FOUR THINGS I CAN COUNT ON IN MY TIME OF UNCERTAINTY:
1. EARTHLY KINGS AND KINGDOMS WILL ALL PASS AWAY. (But God’s kingdom will never)
Nothing last forever, unless it belongs to God. God causes the rising up and falling down of Kings and Kingdoms. Take Nebuchadnezzar for example. God humbled the proud King and made him to live like a wild beast in the wilderness for Seven years. The moral of the story: Don’t mess with God! All power is God given, and it can easily be taken away. The Lord gives an the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. Incidently, Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity was restored the moment he acknowledged that God was in control and not him.
Interestingly, the Bablyonian beliefs were inconsistent with reality. They believed the Kings were eternal. The common salutation found in Daniel for the King is as follows: “O King live forever.” The sad reality: none of them lived forever. They all passed on and eventually left the kingdom in worse shape than they found it. After Belshazzar’s tumultuous reign, the Persians came in and took over. Little did Belshazzar know, the Persian’s were anxious to see the downfall of Babylon. They would never again retake a position of prominence in the world. The Babylonian hey days were over. Daniel lived through this whole ordeal and took it in stride.
Out of the churning sea emerges four beasts. Each one successively rises to power and then falls. This dark and uncertain image served as an ominous warning to the nations. God causes the rising up and falling down of earthly kings and kingdoms.
More recently, who would have thought 25 years ago that the Soviet Union would have crumbled into many smaller nations? Who would have thought? Who would have thought some 200 years ago that a small fledgling nation known as the United States of America would one day become a world super power? And where will America be 100 years from now? I don’t know? Will America’s strength remain? You can decide...