January 21, 2024

There is a day coming when…

“…the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed… It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever (Daniel 2:44).”

Daniel and his friends needed this reminder during the time of their exile in Babylon. God had handed his people over in judgment to the Babylonians, the consequence of their perpetual covenant unfaithfulness. During these seventy years of exile they would see the rise and fall of many powerful kings. But through Daniel and his friends, the Lord would reassure his people that “He removes and sets up kings (Daniel 2:21)” and “the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will (Daniel 4:17).”

In the meantime, Israel had been given these instructions.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare (Jeremiah 29:4–7).’”

As God’s people today, awaiting Jesus’ return, we need these same reminders. Unlike Israel we have not been sent into exile as an act of divine judgment. We have been commissioned to scatter to the ends of the earth to make disciples of all nations. And yet, we are still like exiles in a way, for “here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come (Hebrews 13:14).”

Which is why the apostle Peter urges us:

“Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:10–12).”

Bless without blending in.

Our series in Daniel will focus on the narratives of chapters 1-6 and conclude with Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9 as he sees their tie of exile coming to an end. This Sunday will be our reading service. Laurie Wilson and Andy Draycott will our readers and Kenny Clark will be leading our sung worship. Please pray for each as they prepare.

See you Sunday, Grace. Let’s come hungry!

 

SONG OF THE WEEK

Ancient of Days by CityAlight

Though the nations rage
Kingdoms rise and fall
There is still one king reigning over all
So I will not fear For this truth remains
That my God is, the Ancient of Days