Summary: The stories of the Bible through the age of the patriarchs like Abraham, the Exodus, the wanderings in the wilderness, the conquest of Canaan, the period of the judges and Kings - eventually led to the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of God's p
It was May 1940. The allied French and British forces had been badly defeated by Germany in the Battle of France. Around three hundred fifty thousand men, including the entire British army, were backed up against the sea at the port of Dunkirk, on the coast of France. They were sitting ducks. Their days were numbered. They were certain to be wiped out at any moment.
Three hundred fifty thousand men. Far too many to evacuate by sea. And the Germans were certain to take advantage. German planes only had to bomb and strafe the troops from the sky.
The British commander at Dunkirk issued a cryptic three-word message to the people of England, he simply said: "But if not." People back then actually knew it was a reference to the three Hebrews in the book of Daniel, who refused to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar's image, saying, "The God we serve is able to save us … but if not, we will not bow." It was a message of courage and defiance against impossible odds.
The king of England issued a call for prayer, and a call for help. The weather forecast changed, often grounding German planes. And soon nearly eight hundred fishing boats, yachts, and merchant vessels joined the navy to ferry those soldiers to safety over the course of ten very tense days.
To this day, it is called the "Miracle at Dunkirk." It turned certain annihilation into a reason for hope. Apparent victims lived to fight another day … and eventually emerged victorious.
It's a story that still defines and inspires the British nation, as many of the stories of the Bible define and inspire us. They explain where we've come from. They shed light on who we are. They guide our steps as we move forward in life.
We have seen salvation in the previous weeks of our study, with stories that have foreshadowed the person and work of Jesus Christ. One story after another of how God takes us from death to life, from slavery to freedom, and now today from victims to victors.
The stories of the Bible through the age of the patriarchs like Abraham, the Exodus, the wanderings in the wilderness, the conquest of Canaan, the period of the judges and Kings - eventually led to the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of God's people in Babylon.
The entire nation was reduced to rubble, they were victims, and the Lord allowed it, even told about it years prior through his prophets. But God had a plan, as he does for every one of us. His plan was to work redemption in such a way as to turn them from victims to victors, and from exiles to evangelists. And the stories in the book of Daniel give us some inspiring insights into how God's great salvation changes us from victims to victors.
The book of Daniel is known well for its relationship to the book of Revelation and the prophecies, but it's also a story of one of the most faithful people in the Bible. He was at age 15, one of the exiles forcibly taken from his homeland after king Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah. If you want to know how bad it was read Jeremiah and his lamentations.