The Lord of the Kings

This is my May magazine article. Enjoy!

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The king said to Daniel, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery." (Daniel 2:47 NIV)

Are you ever nervous or overwhelmed about the great and powerful groups that are ranged against Christians and Christian groups. As we read about the persecution of Christians by groups like ISIS and Boko Haram, we feel helpless – what could we say to Christians in that situation? In our own country, Christians increasingly feel a minority, and the prevalence, power and impressiveness of other religions and worldviews can make it feel that our faith is insignificant, our God is either weak or absent and that Christianity is a faith of the past.

It must have felt like that for Daniel and his friends. Judah, God's people, had been defeated and they had been taken into exile by the great power of the time – Babylon – ruled by the military genius King Nebuchadnezzar (see Daniel 1:1-7). To them it must have felt that either God had been defeated by the Babylonian gods or that he had deserted them. Despite their situation, Daniel and his friends chose to trust God and to live for him (Daniel 1:8). It was a brave decision that could have cost them their lives.

However, as you read Daniel, the point of the book is very clear. God uses Daniel and his friends to show how much greater God is than any false religion, any false god and any great king or empire.  That's why we find the great King Nebuchadnezzar admitting as much in Daniel 2:47. The Israelite God (and of course therefore the Christian God), is the God over all gods and the Lord over all kings.

It's that conviction that causes Daniel and his friends to trust God and to live for him, whatever the consequences. As Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego say, when they're facing the punishment of Nebuchadnezzar for refusing to worship his idol:

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty's hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. (Daniel 3:17-18 NIV)

Of course we see this courage in Jesus, who lives out his Father's plan despite the temptations of Satan, opposition from the Jewish leaders and a terrible death on the cross. He did it because he knew that God was ultimately in control and would bring him to joy. The writer of Hebrews tells us:

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:2b-3 NIV)

What can we say to Christians facing terrible and powerful persecutors? Have courage. Don't grow weary or lose heart. The Lord is in control and you have joy set before you like Jesus - “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade...kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:4) When we feel overwhelmed or insignificant, we can say the same to ourselves. In the end, nothing and no-one need intimidate us if we are trusting in Christ, for the God of the Bible is the God of gods and the Lord of the kings.

Why not ask yourself these questions?

1. What stops you trusting God is in control and why?

2. Are you courageous in your faith? Why or why not?

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