Summary: Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. However, not only did he not know what it meant, neither could he remember it. His advisors could not tell him what I the dream was, much less what it meant. Finally, Daniel was summoned and did both. Four great kingdoms were d
SERMON God Has His Hand on History
Text: "And ... shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever" (Dan. 2:44).
Scripture Reading: Daniel 2:1 -49
Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. However, not only did he not know what it meant, neither could he remember it. His advisors could not tell him what I the dream was, much less what it meant. Finally, Daniel was summoned and did both. Four great kingdoms were decreed, including Babylon, and after that would come an everlasting kingdom that would consume the others and stand forever.
In this message we shall not go into the controversial interpretations but rather confine ourselves to one great spiritual teaching that emerges and that all people, regardless of eschatological position, must agree on: God has his hand on history. Someone has said that the correct rendering of the word should be "His story," for this is what history truly is—the record of how God deals with nations and, of course, individuals.
I. Civilizations have a way of decaying.
Survey the centuries and you will discover a great truth. Humans, left to their own devices, simply cannot make it. They do not have the moral control nor the inner resources to live in such a way as to guarantee longevity or perpetuity. Dictators arise and strut across the page of history, but they pass into oblivion. The nations and empires they establish suffer the same fate.
The reason for this is, of course, that they lack the moral consistency that comes with a godly life; people turn away not only from high standards but It from any standards at all. Charlemagne, though he seemed to possess some Christian principles, was a cruel and ruthless person. When he was buried, he was placed in a vault, and a statue of him was set up with a sword in hand. At the base was an open Bible. Years later, on entering the vault, men discovered that die sword had fallen and the point of it, coincidentally or perhaps provi¬dentially, rested on the New Testament verse that says, "For what is a man prof¬ited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Matt. 16:26).
II. God always works toward a goal.
The Greeks taught that history travels in cycles. They believed that that which has been is that which shall be, and that which shall be is that which has been. The Hebrews, on the other hand, guided by divine inspiration, felt that history moved toward a goal. Actually, of course, both are true. History does indeed move in cycles, but as it does so, it also moves toward a goal,
God, when he saw the world once more become sinful after the flood, decided on a different approach. Rather than destroy the world this time, he would choose a person from it and through his seed bring redemption to the world. Abraham was his choice, and Jesus came through Abraham’s seed. While it is incorrect to say that God literally "turned his back" on the Gentile nations during Old Testament days, it does seem safe to say that God worked in a unique way among the Jewish people, giving them a fuller revelation of himself and producing the Savior through them. Now Christianity is a worldwide reli¬gion, and as always all people may come directly to Christ. The glorious gospel is for everyone! This was, of course, in the mind of God from the beginning!
III. God’s kingdom will never die.
Since Jesus has come, a new era has been inaugurated in the world. We are now living in the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. Jesus said that no one could come to the Father except by him (John 14:6). Not only is it impos¬sible to know what God is like without Jesus; we cannot have forgiveness with¬out coming to the old rugged cross where the Lamb of God was slain, who also rose again from the dead. Nothing will ever defeat nor destroy the fresh movement that began in Jesus.
Conquerors have come and gone. The Caesars, Alexander’s, and Sennacheribs have come and gone, but the Lord Jesus Christ still lives. People have tried to stamp out the Bible, God’s Word, but the anvil of his truth has worn out the hammers of skepticism. One poet put it beautifully:
The kingdoms of the world go by
In purple and in gold.
They rise, they triumph, and they die,
And all their tale is told.
One kingdom only is divine;
One banner triumphs still;
Its king is a servant, and its sign
A cross upon a hill.