November 30, 2023
The world is wanting for lack of prophets … men of God who understand the times and boldly proclaim the larger picture from heaven’s perspective. There are some, for which we are thankful. But where are the men of God who help us see ahead?
THE MAKING OF A MAN OF GOD
Daniel was such a man in Nebuchadnezzar’s day. Israel had been conquered by the Babylonians and taken into exile in a foreign land. The king had rescued the best young Israelite men to train them as leaders. But there were four men who were different.
They did not instantly become usable men. But they were made so by determined choices under the leadership of their God.
But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials. (Daniel 1:8-9)
Daniel could have acquiesced to Babylonian pressure. It would have been easier and seemingly safer. But Daniel knew that his God’s way was better. He “made up his mind,” which indicates a pre-determination … a deliberate decision, a resolve, a settled heart. He refused the subtle substitutes of the world, knowing they would corrupt his mind and body. His momentary choices were driven by a higher desire for future usefulness.
He was not arrogant about it. His decisions didn’t carry the pushy hypocrisy of the Pharisees who would come later. It was a gracious but strong determination to obey God and resist the world, regardless of the cost.
This purity kept the channel open to hear God. Only the pure in heart see God, the Messiah would one day proclaim. And Daniel was living proof.
A DETERMINED DEPENDENCY
When the time came for the King to discover answers to a disturbing dream, no one could give him an interpretation. Daniel did not assume that he had the answers. In fact, just the opposite. He realized he didn’t have what was necessary, but he knew Someone who did.
And so, he prayed. (What a simple, but profound response). He cried out to God in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and asked for Divine assistance. God loves to help those who look to Him and will give Him all the glory and He found in young Daniel just such a man. When God gave Daniel clarity, he immediately gave God glory.
Daniel said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. It is He who changes the times and the epochs. He removes kings and establishes kings. He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things. He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for You have given me wisdom and power. Even now, You have made known to me what we requested of You, for You have made known to us the king’s matter.” (Daniel 2:20-23)
A DETAILED EXPLANATION
When he stood before the King and gave the interpretation of the dream, God spoke through Daniel to give a panorama of history straight to the end of time. He spoke of multiple kingdoms that would rise and their fate. But then he prophesied of the Kingdom of God that would exist eternally, overcoming all others. This view from heaven was not primarily for the current king, but to give generations to follow an understanding of the overarching theme of history. Man’s kingdoms would rise and fall, but God’s would outlast them all.
“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.” (Daniel 2:44)
This is the mark of a true man of God. He sees beyond. His relationship with heaven gives him the ability to look above the muddle of current events and the endless drone of the world’s pitiful, short-sighted explanations. His interpretations of all that is happening look forward to eternal issues and eternal realities. He brings heaven down into our thinking and lifts our gaze upward.
These are the men we should listen to. Tozer said we should pay no attention to a man who will pay no attention to God. Find men who read the Word of God voraciously and obey the Spirit aggressively. Men who pray and enter frequently into the throne room of heaven. Men with determined purity and unrelenting dependency. Humble men who give God all the glory when they see and proclaim the greater picture. These men understand the times and will lead us to live for the transcendent cause.
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