Summary: In spite of present appearances, the kingdom of God rocks on – forever – toppling the nations and bringing hope to god’s people. Therefore, in spite of current conditions we need to rock on – God is in charge!
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Scripture is taken from the New Living Translation.
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On Friday morning terrorists threw grenades into a group of Christian nurses in Pakistan as they emerged from chapel. Three died and 23 were injured.
This is just the latest attack by Islamic terrorists on Christian targets in Pakistan. Earlier during the week six died in an attack on a Christian school in Pakistan.
Of course, the frustrating thing is that all of the victims of these attacks have absolutely nothing to do with the war in Afghanistan. But the perception on the part of many Muslims in that part of the world is that the United States is a Christian nation – in the same way that Saudi Arabia or Pakistan are Muslim nations. Therefore, anything that can be done to Christians will be a blow to the evil American empire.
None of this makes sense to us because we don’t exactly see ourselves as a Christian nation. To the contrary, we Christians are deeply concerned about the moral direction of our nation. The US has become an extremely secular nation.
But in the Eastern world view you can’t separate religion from government. Thus, since there was a lot of Christian influence in the founding of the US we are a Christian nation.
So, in their minds when the US attacks an Islamic nation it is a Christian attack on Islam -- a new crusade.
When US culture – including the raunchy movies and the pornography – make their way into the Islamic world – these things which we perceive as anti-Christian -- are perceived in the East as being the fruit of Christianity.
So people are rising up to hit Christian targets, to make a statement, hoping to get back at the evil crusading American empire which just took over Afghanistan.
Again, this doesn’t make sense to us and really there is no way we can understand it.
As a matter of fact when we see acts of terrorism like the attacks in Pakistan or the attacks of 9-11, we get the sense that the world is spinning out of control. Nothing is making sense. A the future is a lot less
stable than we originally thought.
When the Iron Curtain unraveled we had this sense of WOW! We really are on top of the world. We’ve won -- peace, stability, security...
And when the economy grew like crazy in the 90’s we thought that maybe in this new world order would be unstoppable.
Now, though, our bubble has burst and we’re a bit more reserved and even anxious about the future. We are not unlike the Hebrew people who had been exiled in Babylonia. Things had gone from good to bad for them.
Jerusalem had fallen. Many people had been carted off as prisoners in a foreign place. They were in grief and they were wondering if God was still on the throne.
Well, the book of Daniel seeks to answer that question for them – and subsequent generations of troubled believers.
Two weeks ago we heard how Daniel and his Hebrew friends were chosen for the king’s executive training program – which they aced – even though they were only eating veggies and drinking water – a God thing!
Last week, all of this good fortune turned a bit sour as King Nebuchadnezzar had a terrible dream. And he demanded that his executive advisors tell him not only what the dream meant but what was actually in the dream. And if they couldn’t do so – the king would execute the whole lot of them -- including Daniel and his three friends!
So the four of them prayed and God revealed in a vision to Daniel what the King had dreamt and what it all meant.
In our text this week Daniel goes to the king with the interpretation of the dream. Verse 24, “Then Daniel went in to see Arioch, who had been ordered to execute the wise men of Babylon. Daniel said to him, ’Don’t kill the wise men. Take me to the king, and I will tell him the meaning of his dream.’
"Then Arioch quickly took Daniel to the king and said, ’I have found one of the captives from Judah who will tell Your Majesty the meaning of your dream!’
"The king said to Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar), ’Is this true? Can you tell me what my dream was and what it means?’
Daniel replied, ’There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune-tellers who can tell the king such things. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future.