My women's group is talking about God's sovereignty. We are on a break from our study and I asked them to read the book of Daniel in the Bible because the theme of the book of Daniel is God's sovereignty.
The book of Daniel begins when the nation of Judah (the Southern Kingdom of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin) were taken into exile to Babylon. The book of Daniel was written about 530 B.C.
I sent these notes to the women in my group covering chapters 1 and 2 of Daniel. We were specifically looking for verses that show God's sovereignty. I thought I would share them with you - especially in light of the political situation in our country right now.
The Lord gave the nation of Judah into Nebuchadnezzar’s hand. Nebuchadnezzar was the pagan king of Babylonia.
Note in 1:7 the four were renamed. This is a frequent Bible trivia question. Not sure why.
Daniel was renamed Belteshazzar
Hananiah to Shadrach
Missile to Meshach
Azariah to Abednego
1:8 Daniel didn’t want to defile himself - Israelites considered food from Nebuchadnezzar’s table to be contaminated because the first portion of it was offered to idols. Likewise a portion of the wine was poured out on a pagan altar. Ceremonially unclean animals were used and were neither slaughtered nor prepared according to the regulations of the law. (Source - text note from 1984 NIV Study Bible.)
1:9 God granted Daniel favor and compassion And in verses 10-16, the four gained weight even if eating vegetables. God had them covered. God controlled the situation.
1:17 God gave them knowledge and intelligence. Even gave Daniel the ability to understand visions and dreams. God is in control.
1:21 This verse mentions Cyrus. Cyrus was a Persian king. Later Persia defeats Babylonia and takes over as a world power. This verse is just saying Daniel served under the Babylonians and later under Persia.
Daniel 2:4 The language of normal communication in multiracial Babylon was Aramaic. Since the astrologers were of various racial backgrounds, they communicated in Aramaic, the language everyone understood. From here to the end of chapter 7 the entire narrative is in Aramaic. These six chapters deal with matters of importance to the Gentile (non-Jewish) nations of the Near East and were written in a language understandable to all. (Source - text note from 1984 NIV Study Bible.)
Why do I mention this? More for interest. The Jewish manuscripts that we get our Old Testament from were written entirely in Hebrew EXCEPT for half of Daniel – Daniel 2:4-7:28 - and two passages in Ezra. Aramaic is a sister language to Hebrew. Aramaic differs from Hebrew in vocabulary and grammatical peculiarities. Jesus spoke Aramaic in His every day language.
2:18 So that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery. They prayed!
2:19 God revealed the mystery to Daniel. What did Daniel do? He gave thanks to God.
2:20-23 Look what God does! God gave Daniel wisdom and power. God answered their prayers. God is sovereign.
2:25 “a man among the exiles from Judah”
2:28 There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.
2:37 Again, God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory to Nebuchadnezzar. God controls the fate of the nations.
2:39-44 Unless you understand the history of the world powers - you really aren’t going to understand these verses. But this is very specific prophesy!!!! Exactly 4 kingdoms were world powers until the kingdom of God was established. This truly makes the book of Daniel incredible. God so has a plan for world history!
1st Empire/ Kingdom - Babylonian under King Nebuchadnezzar
2nd Empire/ Kingdom - Medo-Persian
3rd Empire/ Kingdom - Greek (Alexander the Great came into power in the time period between the Old Testament and New Testament. He united everyone to Greek language which is why the manuscripts of the New Testament were written in Greek)
4th Empire/ Kingdom - Rome which came into power just before Jesus was born. Rome was as strong as iron.
5th Kingdom - the one Jesus brought in! The kingdom of God is a key phrase found throughout the New Testament. It will endure forever.
This came to pass! Don’t forget Daniel was written over 500 years before our Savior was born!
Yes, God is sovereign over the nations!
Does that not just blow you away?
And doesn’t it give you peace about our political situation today? God is in control of it. Completely.
2:48 Daniel being able to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream led to Daniel being promoted. God positioned Daniel where He wanted him.
Getting a sense of how Big, Almighty, Sovereign our God is?
He controls the nations.
He controls our lives.