Friday 2nd October
There are a lot of questions being asked at this time. The Prime Minister has just come on TV for his weekly Covid-19 briefing. He will face questions again and he didn’t do too well the last time. It all came out as very confusing. Christians also ask questions, but the sad thing is that their discussion and praying is also about Covid-19 issues. Maybe it should be about the Gospel!
Why the Gospel? Because it reassures us that God is sovereign. Nothing catches Him out or takes Him by surprise, no matter how chaotic life seems to be. What God revealed to Nebuchadnezzar through Daniel was His bigger picture of history where nothing is out of His control. “Your majesty...the God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory” (Dan.2:37). Luke records in Acts that Jesus was handed over to the Jewish authorities by “God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge” (Acts 2:23). God doesn’t need a Covid-19 ‘update’! This Biblical view of history is vital if we are to get our circumstances into true perspective.
When Daniel got his appointment with the king he immediately went back to his Jewish friends and urged them to pray “for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery” (Dan.2:17) of the king’s dream. Then he went to bed with the confidence that God would sort this problem. As we have seen, He did.
Now, the key issue in this dream was “the rock cut out without human hands.” It was probably good news for Nebuchadnezzar.
Babylon was not going to collapse on his watch. The “rock” didn’t actually mean a lot to Daniel and friends, nor for a few centuries. However, when Jesus identified Himself as the “Rock” and the Holy Spirit was given to the church, believers began to understand that the rock which “became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth” (Dan.2:35) was in fact Jesus and His forever kingdom (Dan.2:44).
This is the confidence of God’s people in every age. When the apostles were threatened, they understood themselves to be that growing mountain and their commission was to fill the whole earth through the Gospel. They did not pray about opposition or persecution but that they would be like Daniel and do what Jesus commanded, “They spoke the word of God boldly”(Acts 4:29).
So what are true believers to do? To recognise that the true need of our times is Spirit-filled, Christ-centred boldness! We need to pray for courage to declare that our problem is not physical but spiritual; to clearly, without apology, let it be known that Jesus did not come to improve our circumstances but to die for sinful people and call them to follow Him. That’s the Gospel!
The Bible makes it clear that the whole church is to take the whole Gospel to the whole world. Whatever we do in life we are to speak the Gospel boldly. And before we begin to focus on whether we should be “in the building” or not, let’s not forget that for the vibrant church in Acts the question never arose; they were focused on going rather than coming. Where is our focus?
This may well be a God-moment in history when the Gospel begins to take hold, lives are changed and the “mountain fills the whole earth.” Let’s make sure that we do not miss the opportunity.
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