Wednesday Morning Devotion – 1/31/07 (The Beasts Just Keep Coming At You)

(13) As I was watching the night visions, the scene changed and one like human being was coming, and he went to the Ancient One, and was presented to him. (14) And to him were given dominion and glory and royal power, and all peoples, nations and languages worshiped him. His sovereignty is eternal, it won’t run out. His royal power is the sort that will not cease. — Daniel 7:13-14

I’ve been taking my texts from Daniel for the last couple of days, and talking about looking far enough into the future. Daniel speaks of a time when things were very bad for the Jewish people. They were in exile in Babylon. Their homeland was in ruins after successive invasions. The problems just kept coming at them.

Now from the point of view of prediction, Daniel 2 and 7 talk about similar topics—a succession of kingdoms that ends finally with God’s intervention (Daniel 2:34-35/Daniel 7:13-14). But there is a big difference in the lesson taught. I can’t resist “Bible teacher mode” for a moment. We often look at prophecy as a way to satisfy our own curiosity about what is going to happen next. But when the Biblical prophets made predictions, they were always trying to give a bigger message. The events they predicted just helped to carry that message forward.

One “bigger message” of Daniel 2 is simply that God is the one who is in control of history. No matter how powerful Nebuchadnezzar thought he was, he was not the one who was in control. He tried to claim the control through building his golden image in chapter 3, but that didn’t work.

The bigger message of Daniel 7 is this: The beasts may just keep coming at you, but God is the one who gets the last word. A great deal of the book of Daniel is dedicated to this message.

In the first chapter we find that even though God’s people may be taken into exile in a foreign land, God is still the one who guides and blesses their lives. In the second chapter we learn that it is God who knows and controls the flow of history. The third teaches us that no matter how much effort we go to in order to avoid that lesson, God will still get in the last word. The fourth chapter tells us that God not only rules in the kingdoms of men, but he pursues those he loves implacably, even when he has to make it quite hard on them! The fifth chapter, we saw, shows God getting the last word on a king who refused to see what God was doing. In the sixth God prospers his servant who stands for him in the face of death. Here in the seventh chapter we see that no matter how many beasts Satan sends, God will have the last word.

Do you get the repetition? Do you sense the importance of this message?

Does your life feel as though you’re standing on the shore of the sea in Daniel seven, and beast after terrifying beast comes out of the sea? Is the beast you’re facing right now one that is “terrible, powerful, and very strong, with great iron teeth that it uses to devour and shatter, and feet with which it stamps the rest into the ground?”

Am I being melodramatic? I suspect for some people out there, that’s a pretty good description of your life! If it is, know this: Just around the corner, there’s one who looks like a human being—he was tested in all ways like us, but without sin—who really has control. The beast with the gnashing teeth and stomping feet looks like it’s in control, and thinks it’s in control, but it’s not.

The God of heaven is about to act. Wait for him!

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