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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Desiring Mercy of God

Dan 2:1 And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, by which his spirit was troubled, and his sleep went from him.

It's around 602 BC. This king is very powerful. He rules the most powerful nation in the world at this time. His ego was such, as with many other kings, that any male who stood in his court, who worked closely with him, was made a eunuch. He would brook no competition in any way in his realm. He's successful, determined to make Babylon the greatest nation in the world. Now, he's having bad dreams that confuse him, trouble him and he can't really remember them when he wakes up. Still, he remains troubled enough to call for the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers and Chaldeans.
The magicians were considered sacred scribes who acted as interpreters of omens or revealed secrets. In the Hebrew the word for magicians means one who writes, engraves occult symbols, a horoscopist, and engraver, especially of occult material. The astrologers conjure, practice enchantments, including necromancy which is an attempt to communicate with the dead. They observe the stars and planets in the heavens, using these to foretell future events. They believe the stars and planets have influence on earthly events, for good or evil. This led to worship of the heavenly bodies, such as the sun, the moon, and stars which is highly offensive in the sight of God. It robs Him of His rightful glory for He alone created these things and they exist as He placed them-hanging in space on nothing but His Word. The sorcerers cast spells, use enchantments, practice magic and all kinds of witchcraft. They also used the spells and incantations written by the magicians and astrologers to call upon or seek out spirits of the dead-i.e. resorting to, inquiring of Satan and his demons who pretend to be the spirits of dead men.

Magic itself and all these areas were included as part of the government counsel of Babylon. These black arts are merely Satan's attempt to imitate God's true power. Magic and sorcery are satanic imitations of the power of the true God-which is why we must never touch these things. To do so is one of the greatest insults to the Almighty. By our choice we are affirming a love for darkness over light, of the lie instead of the truth, evil instead of righteousness. Consider for a moment the movies and books that are full of these things-the Twilight series, vampire movies, and books; Harry Potter, all of this witchcraft is glorifying Satan's attempt to imitate God with supernatural fakes. It will defile us and put us on dangerous ground. You open the door to him by dabbling in or entertaining these things and don't think it won't get a grip on you that will take a miracle of God to break. The Chaldeans, whose very name means demons, robbers who waste and destroy, were educated as priests of the magicians and astronomers. They descended from a warlike people who came from the mountains north of Assyria. Hab_1:6-11 gives a very good and graphic description of these people. By this time the Chaldeans had become synonymous with Babylonians.

These were king Nebuchadnezzar's counselors. He's given a dream by God and calls for demon possessed people to explain it-and they can't. He is very agitated, concerned. His peace has been disturbed. He wants to remember and understand this dream. These counselors came and appeared before the king and heard his request. He'd dreamed this dream, and he wanted them to tell him what the dream was and what it meant. He threatened them with a brutal death if they couldn't make known to him the answers he sought-an indication of how upset he was. He wouldn't give them time to consider this matter, because in Dan_2:9 he reveals he really doesn't trust these men to tell him the truth. He thought if they could tell him what he dreamed, then he could trust their interpretation. I believe that this reveals Daniel, with his position in the king's court, was already having great influence. A mental comparison was likely being made here. These were Nebuchadnezzar's chosen counselors but he puts them to a test they can't possibly pass. Was he too proud to call for a captive to enquire of him? I think so. Don't you just love how God orchestrates things? He was the One who sent this dream to Nebuchadnezzar. He knew how this king would react to the dream, and how it would ultimately cause three of His servants to go through a very fiery trial. But there is something here we need to learn. God wanted to show this king the thoughts of his own heart.

When the king's magicians, astrologers, sorcerers and Chaldeans couldn't answer him, he got so angry he ordered that the wise men through out his kingdom be killed. His soldiers went out, seeking Daniel and his friends to be killed as well. But in Dan_2:14 we can see that Arioch, whose name means 'the mighty lion who serves the moon god sin' finds Daniel but doesn't seem all that anxious to kill Daniel. He takes time to talk with Daniel and answer Daniel's questions. Daniel knows something has happened to upset this king he's served for about 2 years now. He asks Arioch "Why is his decree so severe? Why is he in such a hurry to have all the wise men killed now?" When Arioch explains the situation to Daniel, he disobeys the king's order, allows Daniel to go into the king. He asked the king for a little time and assured him that he would show the king the meaning of the dream. He buys time for the wise men of Babylon and for himself and his friends. Nebuchadnezzar wouldn't give his own counselors time to do this, but he granted Daniel's request-a sure sign he had more confidence and faith in Daniel's honesty.

Daniel knew that God had given him the ability to understand visions and dreams. But he goes to his house, and speaks with Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. These three Hebrews would be his companions in prayer and seeking God for the answers needed here. They sought the compassion of God concerning this thing, so they would not be killed with those wise men of Babylon. God had given Daniel and his friends favor even in the eyes of the captain of Nebuchadnezzar's guard. He didn't immediately strike out at Daniel. He talked with him and spared him. How God watches carefully over His own.

Dan 2:17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:
Dan 2:18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
Dan 2:19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
Dan 2:20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

Trouble was here. Daniel went to his friends, those he knew were consecrated to God-not the other children of the captivity, just these three who were consecrated to God as he was. God answers their prayer, revealing the dream and the meaning to Daniel. He sent the dream to Nebuchadnezzar knowing He would reveal it and the meaning of it to Daniel. The next morning he goes in and Arioch hurriedly brings him in before the king. The one ordered by the king to destroy the wise men goes in before the king with one of the Judean captives, and says he's found someone that can make known the dream and its meaning. Daniel uses this situation to glorify God-and Him alone before this powerful king.

Dan 2:21 And he changes the times and the seasons: he removes kings, and sets up kings: he gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
Dan 2:22 He reveals the deep and secret things: he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.
Dan 2:23 I thank you, and praise you, O God of my fathers, who has given me wisdom and might, and has made known unto me now what we desired of you: for you have now made known unto us the king's matter.
Dan 2:24 Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will show unto the king the interpretation.

A couple things here caught my attention. Daniel privately glorified God, affirmed God answered his prayer because of HIS OWN purposes. He took time to praise and thank God. He tarried in God's presence after the answer came. He was in no hurry to leave the presence and communion with God. He was grateful, understanding that what wisdom and might he had was God's, and he himself just a steward, a vessel that contained it. Another thing that caught my attention, and this we so desperately need to apply to our own lives, especially in these last days. In verse 24, Daniel is standing in the gap for wicked, demon possessed counselors of Babylon. They promoted everything that Daniel was against. They sought to powers of darkness while Daniel went to Truth and Light. But see him here saying, 'don't destroy them.' Religion is so misguided today. People are so foolish, because they do not know God, they bring reproach on Him, they cause Him to be spoken and thought evil of by the world He died to save.

I read in the newspaper yesterday a certain church has been picketing a nearby strip club for years. So the owner of the strip club got tired of this and decided on some payback. He gets his strippers dressed up in bikinis and they go picket the church. My heart was so grieved when I read this. Why isn't this church, if they are truly offended by the sin, why aren't they on their face seeking direction on how to deal with this? Why aren't they moved with the compassion of Jesus for the lost souls of these strippers and folks who go to this club? Instead, they are using flesh to war against this. They stand with signs and cameras in the parking lot, taking pictures of patrons license plates and then publish them on the internet. And we wonder why the world mocks the church? Oh, God, forgive us, rise up in mercy oh, Lord, and work, for we have made void Thy law...we've made it empty words because we've traded a form of godliness which flesh can achieve, but we have no power. All that is on display is powerless people spouting a dead letter and no one even stops to consider where are the signs HE said would follow the believers? A true believer would never disgrace the Almighty this way.

See Daniel as an example here-one who was so awed by GOD HIMSELF he would never dare glory in being used by Him. He didn't gloat over being able to do what the king's counselors could not. See the spirit, the attitude on display in this child of God and you will catch a glimpse of the heart of God Himself. You will see the kind of vessel the Lord is pleased to work through.

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