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Understanding the Great Commission – Part 1

The next few days include a study and reflection I have done over Matthew 28:18-20 – the Great Commission.

There are many places near where I grew up where hunting dogs are trained.  A good hunting dog is very active and very strong.  It is not hard to teach that hunting dog to go. What is difficult is to teach him stand still, to listen, and to obey.

I have done many things in my ministry and, especially, many things as a young minister.  Many of them were fruitless. If I could go back in time, I would spend more time praying, more time listening, more time being in the presence of God, and being transformed in His Word.  I would have trained a different way.

In the West, we have a culture of busyness and we have carried that over into our Christianity. We think that it is spiritual to do many things in the name of Christ.

But how many of those things actually bear fruit?

Your greatest need is conformity to Jesus Christ and to know His will.  It requires that you spend time with Him–in stillness, listening, and obeying.

It is that time with Christ Jesus that will make you a fruitful servant for the Great Commission in light of the Great Commandment.

Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV for all verses)

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) isn’t the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40).  Obedience to the Great Commission flows out of the Great Commandment. You must, first of all, be a person that loves the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Additionally, you must be a person that has been transformed, so that you love your neighbor as yourself.

To be a true witness of Christ Jesus, you must know God.  You must spend time with Him and be transformed.  The Great Commission was born in a context of worship. We come into greater revelation of our authority when we encounter His presence (Matthew 28:17).

And you must also know the authority of the One sending you!

THE AUTHORITY OF THE ONE SENDING

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…”

The Great Commission would accomplish nothing if not for the fact that Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth.

This is the missionary’s comfort and strength: Christ has been raised from the dead! And this Christ who was crucified “God has made him both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

Jesus is the king over the entire universe.  The whole of Scripture affirms the sovereignty and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. You should not think that one day Christ will reign. You should understand that Christ is reigning right now. All kingdom, power, and authority has been given to Him!

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Think about this for a second: You see a beautiful flower and you cut its stem.  It doesn’t die and wilt immediately.  It looks like it has life.  But it has been cut off from its source of life.  And, in a few days, it will wilt and turn to nothing.

That is the description of the greatest powers on the earth today. The nations, the great kings, and leaders of this world are like a cut flower.  Whether they are political, spiritual, humanistic, or demonic—they are a cut flower.  They have no life in themselves.  Their power is nothing. They are always being used for God’s purposes and will.

As the Bible says in Psalm 2:6 :

As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”

And that king is Jesus Christ!

He is the One that sends you out to evangelize and preach the Gospel.  He is the One that sends you out to all nations—as it says in Matthew 28:18-20—to all places.  No one has the authority to tell you cannot preach in a certain area—because Christ Himself has given you authority.

This is very important and encouraging! You see, in order to be a strong witness for Jesus Christ, you need a great vision of the power of the Savior who sends you. If you look at the nations by yourself, if you look at your unconverted family, friends, neighborhood, co-workers, etc. and compare them to yourself, they look giants and you look like a grasshopper.  They make you afraid.  But when you compare them to your God, they are like grasshoppers.

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Let’s say there are two men standing in front of me.  One is short and weighs about 90 pounds.  His arms are bigger than a wide pipe. Then there is the second man.  He is 7 feet tall and weighs 300 pounds.  He has muscle even in his ears! I look at the little guy and I am afraid of him.  I look at the big guy and I am even more afraid of him.

I have to make a decision. Am I am going to be afraid of those little men? Or, I am going to be afraid of God? Am I am going to fear these little men who can kill my body? Yes, I am afraid of them. But should I fear God that can kill my body and my soul in hell (Matthew 10:28)?

I fear both of them – but I fear Him more!

Fear should never stop you when it comes to sharing, preaching, or evangelizing the Gospel.  When you see how great God is, then all the nations of the world are like nothing before Him (Isaiah 40:17).  Then you have the boldness to evangelize the world!

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Would You Still Trust God If…?

Would you still trust God if…?

Would you still trust God if He called you to take your family and travel half way around the world to do His will and work?

Would you still trust God if you followed His call and all of your plans for serving Him failed?

Would you still trust Him in that moment?

Would you trust God if you ended up being abandoned and alone?

What if you died a miserable, slow, and horrible death? What then?

Would you still trust God if you lost everything you loved in life, including life itself?

On September 7, 1850, a group of seven committed Christian missionaries set sail from the English city of Liverpool.  Under the leadership of Captain Alan Gardner, the missionaries were headed to the southernmost tip of South American to start missionary work.

They had planned, prepared, and packed 6 months’ worth supplies. The group had very high expectations for the work of the Gospel among the native people there.  They believed their calling would both serve the kingdom of God and advance it.

Yet, their trip ended in total failure.

The inhabitants were hostile. The weather and climate were harsh and rough. The ground was unforgiving.  The second ship with further supplies failed to arrive until it was much too late. So, sadly and unfortunately, the missionaries died one after another of starvation.

Richard Williams was one of the missionaries on the journey and the surgeon on the ship.  When his dead body was later found and recovered, the search party also found his personal diary. The last entry on the last page of the diary was his dying testimony to his unending faith in Jesus Christ.

Can you see in your mind’s eye the good doctor huddled in the hull of the small ship suffering from many ailments and writing the following words as his last testament?

Should anything prevent my ever adding to this…let my beloved ones at home rest assured that I was happy beyond all expression the night I wrote these lines and would not have exchanged situations with any living.

Let them also be assured that my hopes were full with immortality, that heaven and love and Christ, which really mean one and the same thing, these things were my soul, that the hope of glory filled my whole heart with joy and gladness and that to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.

What faith! Nothing in life or death would ever compel him to abandon his faith.

Perhaps this is why the apostle James wrote in the first chapter of his epistle (verses 2-5):

 Count it all joy, my brother when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Despite the popular understanding of verse 5, “if any of you lacks wisdom,” we need to understand that the phrase isn’t meant to be a change of a topic from verses 2-4.  No, verse 5 is, in essence, is asking what the introduction asked, “Would you still trust God if…?”

James is still talking about trials here. He is saying that God will take you to places and put you in situations where you haven’t planned to go to create in you what you couldn’t achieve on your own. In His divine, sovereign, and providential will, God is seeking to drive you beyond your normal routine of strength and abilities.  In doing so, you reach out in humility and cry for His help alone. Trials—the “Would you still trust God if…” situations of life—are meant to release you from the slavery of self-reliance.

Truth be told, all we are all there.  We each think we are wiser than we actually are.  We think we are stronger than we actually are.  We each think we are more righteous than we actually are.

Yet, praise be to God, the biblical Gospel is for weak—to those who know themselves as they should know themselves. The Gospel is for the unable (see Romans 3:10-19!). The Gospel is a welcome truth to people who say, “I can’t,” but who run to a Redeemer who can. That is the Gospel!

Friend, God wants you to come to the end of yourself. Your self-made righteousness is in the way of His amazing, never-ending grace that Richard Williams experienced. Your strength is in the way of His grace. God wants you to be driven where you no longer rely on so-called strong self. You now are left with nothing else but to rely on Him—first for salvation and second for daily dependence (Psalm 68:19).

Like Richard Williams, I am comforted in my deepest and darkest trials, not because I understand what is going on, but because my Lord is wise, generous, and near. There is hope for you and me!

Father, thank you for the beauty and the practicality of this passage for everyone reading this. Thank you for the comfort and call of the Gospel as a continual reminder of who I am and who You are. Lord, I pray that in our struggles, in our divided hearts, and in our daily, sinful foolishness that we would run to You and not from You to receive the grace that can only be found in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

His Banner Over Me Was Love

His Banner Over Me Was Love

This blog was written by fellow devotion writer, Bryan Peters.

“He brought me to the banqueting hall, and his banner over me was love.”
(Song of Solomon 2:4)

Dear believer, if you are Christ’s, what a banner of love he has unfurled over you.  Consider how you stand before your prince,

I served other masters,
yet his banner over me was love.

I rejected his commands and served him as I desired,
yet his banner over me was love.

I dragged his name through the mud,
yet his banner over me was love.

I avoided his audiences for the sake of my own pleasures and endeavors,
yet his banner over me was love.

I rebelled against the authority of his deputies,
yet his banner over me was love.

I vandalized and assaulted his likeness,
yet his banner over me was love.

I sought comfort in the arms of strange lovers,
yet his banner over me was love.

I rejected his gifts to me and took what he gave others,
yet his banner over me was love.

I twisted his decrees and offended him with my lies,
yet his banner over me was love.

I wanted everything… but him.
Yet his banner over me was love.

If you have been taken into the household of our Lord Jesus Christ, there are a thousand accusations which might arise against your bond with him.  In every one of these ten areas of his rule, you have rebelled against his sovereign reign and you continue to insult him with your disobedience in thought, word, and deed.

Yet there is one word extended so that every eye may see above the bowed and bedraggled head of the blood-bought rebel:  LOVE.

Precious Savior and Beloved King, thy love is better than life.  Make me to feel the weight of my continued offenses and insults committed under the glorious banner of thy sovereign and free love.  Bring the reality of thy love home to my soul that I would desire thee alone and none other.  Let thy love dwell in my soul as a blazing fire which nothing may soothe but the sight of thy face in glory.

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5 Lessons I’ve Re-Learned About Prayer

Dr. Michael Horton once said:

“People ask me, ‘Why pray if God is sovereign?’ I respond, ‘Why pray if He isn’t?”

As I have reflected on my prayer and devotional life and this statement, I am reminded that it isn’t that we “should” pray as in a duty, but we “must” pray as in a relationship. You and I can no more attempt to live this thing called the “Christian life” without prayer than we can live each second and day without breath.

I have jotted down several “faith lessons” the Lord has reminded recently from the Scripture concerning prayer.  I pray that these are helpful to you as they have been to me.

(All Bible verses are from the English Standard Version and sourced from www.BIBLEGATEWAY.com)

1. When we least desire prayer is when most need prayer.

Isn’t this why Habakkuk cried, “O Lord, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O Lord, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy” (Hab. 3:2).

There is little doubt that our flesh and the enemy, Satan, hate prayer and will do everything to thwart it. As in the winter as ice forms quickly, when we sense our prayer life “cooling off,” we must rush to our knees.

I encourage you to arise early tomorrow and seek the triune God’s face. There is great reward in communion and intercession. God is faithful and His mercies are new every day (Lam. 3:23)!

2. Prayer is often a fight.

Luke’s commentary on Jesus’ prayer of the “persistent widow” says: “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).

Remember: Never think that true, biblical, and God-honoring prayer is easy for anyone. All who fight in prayer, must first learn to fight to pray. If your heart is cold, you must pray until you can pray and then pray until you have prayed.

The less we feel inspired and emboldened to pray, the more we need to pray. The less we think our prayers are effective in God’s sovereign will and plan, the more we need to pray!

If anything, the Lord has taught me repeatedly that an apparently ineffective hour of prayer is extremely better than no prayer at all.  We must learn to persevere in prayer and not give up hope and faint (1 Thess. 5:17).

3. The “weakest” prayers yield the most grace.

I know this to be true by the Word and personal experience. The “return,” if you will, on our prayers and our time of prayer is far greater than the investment made.  One day, heaven will reveal all that has transpired in God’s providence.

Notice I didn’t say the “shortest” prayers yield the most grace. Certainly, the Bible is full of short prayers that God answered (Gen. 24:12-14; 1 Kings 18:36-37; 1 Chron. 4:10; 2 Chron. 14:11; Matt. 14:30; 15:22, 25; Mark 10:51; Luke 17:13; 18:13; 23:43, etc.).

It can be argued, perhaps, that general prayer is better than no prayer at all. However, specific requests lead to specific answers that greatly increase our faith in God’s character and faithfulness.

In prayer, the most common trash collector that empties your garbage bin becomes a mighty warrior warring battles of eternal significance and glory.  Rank and social standing do not matter.

God has used a variety of people throughout the millennia. Most of these faithful ones had little in common except an uncompromising commitment to the biblical Gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-8) and a life of prayer.

Are you committed to prayer even if God tarries in answering or seems distant?

4. Prayer is a necessity as we plow through the monotonous, mundane of life.

Our culture is one of death by entertainment.  We jump from one channel to the next and must constantly know what is going on in others’ lives via social media.

Prayer is not “exciting” (whatever that means) by the world’s standards.  Yet, our lives will have a sense of the supernatural presence of God only to the degree that we remain before the Bible and live a life of prayer on a daily basis (Psalms 63 and 119).

Even today, in the midst of another 8-5, I began prayer this morning with a heart as cold as a stone in Greenland in winter. Yet, after what seemed like an eternity, God began to warm my heart and set it aflame.

Friend, God is eternally gracious to honor the feeble, worn-out prayers of His saints. This truth encourages us to pray all the more. Do not faint!

5. When you wake up each morning, make secret prayer your first item of the day.

Read any part of Christian history and it is not uncommon to hear of the saints of old to spend hours in prayer.  While that it not always possible, we need such examples.  We should all seek to leave a legacy of prayer for our family, church, and other believers!

The Gospels show us that our Savior spent time alone in prayer with His Father (cf. Matt. 14:13; Mark 1:35, etc.). For Paul, prayer was the foundation of his life (Philemon 1:4; 1 Thess. 1:2; etc.). He knew that his effectiveness in the ministry was directly related to the time he spent before God in prayer.

If you haven’t yet prayed today, take the first opportunity available to fellowship and cry out to God.  Make sure that that you don’t overlook “the” priority of prayer for lesser things in life.

What about in the evening? Perhaps, in the moments before you go to sleep, watch that your thoughts don’t stray.  Pray and seek to train your heart to meditate upon God and His character.

What if you find any extra time today? Linger in the Word of God and prayer. No one has ever regretted spending too much time in these devotions.  God is the Rewarder of those who seek Him. Devote yourself to prayer. He is faithful!

In all my years as believer, I constantly amazed at how weak I am apart from prayer.  But don’t all our weaknesses and all of life’s inconveniences drive and lead us to Christ?

May we give ourselves to prayer, investigate prayer, and explore prayer. May we learn the importance and power of prayer.

Indeed, no matter how great or noble, anything in this life that can be achieved without prayer is not worth chasing after.

 

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5 Faith Lessons from the World Series

What a run by the Kansas City Royals!

As a sports fan—and especially a KC sports fan—this was easily the most exciting run by the “Boys in Blue.” Although we lost and I wish we would have won, hats off to the Royals for a great season. No one expected them to come this far!

As a Christian and a pastor, I couldn’t help but notice comparisons between our faith and the Royals’ season. Yes, I am “over-spiritualizing” this to some degree, but they are good reminders.

For instance:

1. The social media buzz for Royals fans was ‪#‎TakeTheCrown‬ … I am glad only Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead to once-and-for-all show why He deserves the crown (1 Cor. 15).

2. “MadBum’s” ERA was nearly flawless … Yet, Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, is the only perfect One to live on the earth (1 Pet. 2:22).

3. Tickets to the game were hard-to-find and expensive (think “Marlins Man” and his $8,000 tickets) … Yet, for “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23b) for all who turn to Him by faith alone.

4. The Giants are only world champions in baseball this year—they may or may not be next year … The triune God is the “eternal king, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever! (1 Tim. 1:17)

5. What amazing athletes play baseball! In 20 years (or less), these great athletes will have bodies that hurt more than they ever know … A reminder that we are “destined to die once” (Heb. 9:27) and we are a “mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14) – but the Word of God lasts forever (1 Pet.1:24-25).

I am sure there are many more…just some morning thoughts.

Go, ‪#‎Royals‬!

But praise God those who trust in Him will never be disappointed, both now and for eternity!

Billy Butler

Are You Losing Hope Like the Royals’ Fans?

Have Kansas City Royals baseball fans lost hope?

This has been the topic of conversation the past two days as local baseball fans have struggled with the dire reality of possibly losing the Royals first World Series bid in 29 years.

Their backs are against the wall, but it’s not the first time this season that the Kansas City Royals seem on the brink of postseason elimination.

I mean, how can we win with these circumstances?

Well, the baseball future is yet to be determined.  However, as I have debated with many locals on the pros and cons of whether the Royals will win, it reminded me of a famous passage from Daniel 2:20-23:

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,

to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
for you have made known to us the king’s matter.

You see, many were asking in Daniel’s day (in a much more serious tone than a routine World Series game):

Lord, our people have lost hope.  How can we win with these circumstances? How will we survive, Lord?

Through the prophet Daniel, there is the reason for our hope.  These are the theological underpinnings as to why it is that we can hope in God in spite of our circumstances.  This is why it is we can hope as we look to what for us is an uncertain future.

No, I am not talking about your favorite sports team.  But, rather, about your faith in the midst of extreme difficulty.

The text gives us three reasons why we can hope in God in spite of our circumstances:

  1. All wisdom belongs to God (Daniel 2:20)

In chapter one of Daniel, the question is, “Who is the wisest when it comes to how one should eat and maintain his/her body?”

The broader question was, “Where does wisdom come from?”

Well, you can chalk up a point for God and His power! Daniel and his boys end up doing 10 times better than the Babylonians and their men.

Why were they better? Because they were quick studies?

No, because the wisdom of God always outshines the wisdom of man.  Apart from God there is no wisdom.

Proverbs 2:6

For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;

In an age of wide skepticism, technical advances, and so-called “modern miracles,” let the believer be reminded that God is the source of all true wisdom.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that men or women who do not know God do not know anything. Clearly, there are smart individuals who don’t know God. Go to Florida and go to NASA and talk to, literally, rocket scientists, engineers, and astrophysicists who can spout information to you that will immediately have you wondering why their heads are not larger than they actually are!

And yet, according to Romans 3, if they say in their heart that there is no God, they are no more than educated fools, completely lacking in wisdom that matters.

There is such a thing as common grace.  It is this grace that allows people to learn and to conduct themselves successfully.

In Daniel, it was common grace that allowed Nebuchadnezzar to be at the head of a nation that had culture, architecture, food, wine, entertainment, and art.  His culture was based on a man-centered foundation that saw man as the center of the universe.  In light of God’s wisdom, it was nothing more than a house of cards, ready to fall or be blown down by the slightest of movements.

Christian, in your hard times, remember: True wisdom begins with God.

Why does that give hope to you and to me in hard times? Because we know God. I may not have as much information as the rocket scientist, but here is what I know:

True wisdom begins with God!

In your hard times, seek, by God’s strength, to magnify the wisdom of God, to magnify the mercy of God, and to magnify the redemptive acts of God.  If you don’t, all of the sudden everything man-centered will become your focal point and not God’s wisdom—the only wisdom that matters.

  1. God is sovereign over the dealings of mankind (Daniel 2:21)

Notice again verse 21:

He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;

And also take a look at verse 28:

But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these:

How can God make known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days?

Notice Daniel doesn’t say, “God gave you a dream, Nebuchadnezzar so that you can make a choice, O king.  What say you? If you pick this choice, this is what will happen.  If you go here, that is what will happen.”

That is not what Daniel is saying.  Rather, Daniel says, “God gave you a dream so you would know what is going to happen.”

If you read in Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar rebels against the dream.  He builds a statue of himself completely out of gold.

Nebuchadnezzar says to God, “You are not sovereign in the affairs of men. You can’t take me out. I am not just the top part of the statue, God, I am the statue! I am the kingdom that will live forever.”

But Daniel doesn’t say, “God is issuing a challenge to you to see if you can outlast him.” Daniel says, “God is showing you what will come to pass.”

Scripture is unapologetic that God is sovereign in the affairs of men (Psalm 135:6; Isaiah 43:12, etc.). Nebuchadnezzar can’t prevent the march of history and the fall of this kingdom, just as much as Daniel couldn’t prevent captivity.

Sovereignty is about authority. This means that there is no authority higher than the authority of God. Is this not why Nebuchadnezzar later said in 4:35:

All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”

God is not in competition. God has absolute rule and reign and whatever He does is right—because He is God.

It gives us great hope as Christians to know this!  But, if you are reading this today and don’t, you have no hope.

It is a terrible thing at times because there are things that happen to us that are awful. There are things that happen to us, to those around us, and people who we love that are absolutely unthinkable.

But here is what I know:

God is good and He can’t help but be good. And whatever has come to pass was for His glory. Ultimately, because I am God’s, it is for my good. I believe that because I trust the sovereign God.

Friend, this is the only way that you have hope in the midst of terrible, dire circumstances. This is not some “pie-in-the-sky” theology.  This is immensely practical.

Daniel was in the midst of exile. Daniel had probably seen members of his family killed. He had been hauled off in chains and as a slave.  During the time of the book’s writing, Daniel was in the midst of a pagan culture serving a pagan king and reading ungodly literature that probably made his skin crawl.  He was despised. He was not a big or important person. He was a slave. Daniel was not even free to sing the songs of his youth to the one true God.

By God’s governance and authority, this was Daniel’s lot in life.  And, yet, God used Daniel and his circumstances to say there is hope.

Do you know what gives you hope when you are in the valley? God is good. God is in control. God is sovereign over the affairs of men.

  1. Man cannot know God apart from special revelation (Daniel 2:22)

Verse 22 again:

He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.

What a beautiful verse! God knows what is in the darkness and the light dwells with Him. The dark, the sinful, and the awful—God knows what is there and the remedy for it dwells with Him.

And, notice verse 27:

No wise men, enchanters, magicians, orastrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked

Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t a fool, but he couldn’t interpret his own dreams. God shows him that you need special revelation. The king was absolutely helpless and he loses control over it.

In 2:10-11, Nebuchadnezzar sent his wise people to do their thing, to interpret the dream.  They went to school for it and still couldn’t figure it out!

But Daniel, in spite of the fact that 1:17 says he has the ability to interpret dreams, he couldn’t do it.

But, hold on, he did.

Daniel goes to Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah and he says, “guys, here is what is going on. Pray!”

Pray for what? Read 2:18:

And told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Daniel doesn’t say to them, “Pray that I can exercise my gift.” Daniel says, “Pray that God will be merciful.”

Again, Daniel couldn’t do it.  It wasn’t possible apart from special revelation of God. You can’t know the mind of God apart from special revelation, and we have that today finalized in His Word.

Christian, during your hard time, you need God’s Word.  Hebrews 1:1-2 makes this very clear.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Friend, God’s special revelation is a completed act. The final ultimate revelation of God is the person and work of Jesus Christ. We don’t trust in the vision of the night.

We have God’s Word and it is utterly sufficient.  Have you sought God’s wisdom through prayer of the Scripture?

Are you lacking hope today? The reason for your hope is not because of how much you or I impress God—because we don’t.

The reason for your hope is the same as the reason for Daniel’s hope that we see in this section of Scripture.

The reason for your hope is the fact that all wisdom comes from God, that God is sovereign over the dealings of mankind, and that you have absolutely no hope of comprehending what is in the mind of God apart from God’s revelation.

But, praise be to God, he has revealed himself and that is an act of mercy.