No power of hell no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till he returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!
— In Christ Alone, Keith Getty & Stuart Townend.
Tonight I had the privilege of ministering from the book of Daniel again. This time I was looking at chapters 3 and 4. Chapter 3 is the account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and chapter 4 is the account of the vision of the great tree and Nebuchadnezzar's fall and restoration.
Although it isn't mentioned explicitly in the text, chapter 3 is all about how God is sovereign, even over the activities of Satan himself. The Satanic influence can be seen by the direct comparison to Revelation 13 (worship the statue or die) and the fact that what is portrayed is a complete distortion of the plan of God. The golden statue is a false God, the music of all kinds of instruments is false worship, the decree is a false law, the sentence of the righteous is a false judgement, and finally the fiery furnace is a false hell! Yet through it all, even in this overt Satanic scheme, God turns that which was intended for evil and to destroy and works it for good: to advance his purpose and strengthen his people. It's wonderfully reassuring to know that the enemy cannot prevail, even his worst schemes cannot succeed, and that it is God who is working all things out for his glory. No matter what we go through, he goes through it with us, and he brings us out the other side into a greater blessing.
Chapter 4 shows God's sovereignty over the nations: "The Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes" Even the mightiest of nations and the most powerful of kings is in the hands of the Lord and he can depose them in an instant. Once again, even though they seek their own glory, it is ultimately God's purpose and his will that prevails. We need not feel intimidated by being a lone voice in a big secular nation, for all things are in the hands of the Lord and he will always see that his kingdom advances and his people are blessed.
Taken together these chapters are a powerful message: God is in control! We need fear no power of hell, nor any scheme of man!
[If this has whet you appetite, you might want to check out my notes.]
Be blessed, and sleep well — our God is in control!