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Creepy Barnyards and Trusting God

February 27, 2012

There is a big difference between actual trust and the passive assumptions that many of us walk in.  For instance, most of us don’t exercise any trust when we are driving down the road at seventy miles an hour…we’re really just assuming that the other drivers who are passing won’t run into us.  We’re assuming the tires won’t blow out, or the bridge give way…it’s not actual trust…it’s not faith.

Take a moment…it’ll take just a moment…and read through Daniel 8.

Daniel has strange visions.  And in this one particularly, we see what can only be described at face value as a terribly creepy barnyard scene.  And it’s important to note that Daniel didn’t open his eyes and have an understanding of what it was all about.  He was just as confused as you or I would have been.

This vision, like the other visions thus far in this book, is a glimpse of the future.  You can read the interpretation given by Gabriel to Daniel in verses 13-26, but the details are strikingly accurate.  The Medes and the Persians are going to destroy Babylon.  The Greeks, led by Alexander are going to sweep across the face of civilization and exert their will upon mankind.  And out of that Empire, after Alexander dies in 323BC, there would arise a divided empire.  And out of one of those four kings will come one who will attack the “glorious land”…Jerusalem…and who will “destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints.”  We know from history that Antiochus IV, who ruled from 171-164 BC actually desecrated the temple by entering the holy of holies.

And listen…Daniel was troubled by what he heard.  Not only was it a creepy dream, the interpretation meant great trouble and instability.  In verse 27, Daniel says, “And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days.  Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.”  Why was he so troubled?

Alister McGrath, professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University says that most people have three questions.  How did everything begin?  What are we all here for?  What is the point of living?  These are questions of both function and purpose.  For the Christian, these questions often get more specific.  Is God real?  Does He care about me?  Does He have a plan…is He in control?

This vision, recorded by Daniel, didn’t make sense to Daniel.  This vision was for you.  This vision was for me.  This vision is for us a confirmation.  It’s a confirmation that God is God and that God is in control.  Because you and I have the benefit of seeing that God not only said what was going to happen…but those things actually happened.  This is God displaying Himself.  He isn’t staying hidden in the shadows…he’s stepping into the frame of vision.  And more than that, we can look back and see where God stepped into the frame of history.  Daniel was troubled because the vision made it clear that things were going to get bad.  And things got extremely bad for the saints of old.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is that He is making things right.  And if we can trust that God is God, and that He is doing what he said He would do, we can trust Paul when he writes to the church in Philippi that at the name of Jesus, “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  We don’t have to assume salvation…we can trust in the Savior.

And it’s more than just a passive assumption…this is something we can trust in…something we can put our faith in…and it’s not blind…because God has made Himself known.

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