10 November 2015

BSF 2015-2016: God’s Kingdom

As we continue in Revelation, we will learn about the kingdom of God. But the theme of the kingdom of God is seen throughout the Bible. The Kingdom of God is God’s sovereign rule and reign throughout the course of history.

Today, the expansion of God’s kingdom happens through the Holy Spirit working through believers. And His future kingdom will endure forever. God is the ruler of all. He rules as King over heaven, earth, and our lives. He is a loving and gracious God who is fully in charge of everything.

Daniel, a godly man in the Old Testament, was focused on God’s kingdom. He showed respect and honor to earthly authorities while remaining faithful to God and His kingdom. Daniel shows us how to live as a citizen of the kingdom of God in a secular, ungodly environment.

Daniel and his three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were captive Israelites in Babylon. They probably were about 15 to 17 years old in Daniel chapter 1. They knew God and His commands well. They were committed to obeying Him.

King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to change everything about these four men – diet, culture, names, etc. Daniel and the other three refused to eat the king’s food. This food could have been sacrificed to idols, which was forbidden by God. This food could have been food that God had forbidden them to eat.

These four men asked that they have a different diet and be tested against the other officials. Ten days later, the four were found to be healthier and more nourished than anyone else. These four were devoted to God and were committed to His principles. God blessed their obedience with wisdom, knowledge, and earthly success. King Nebuchadnezzar found them to be ten times better than his other wise men.

Later King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. He demanded that his wise men tell him what he dreamt and then interpret it. They could not, so the king ordered that all of his wise men be executed. When the commander of the army approached Daniel to kill him, Daniel questioned him then asked the king for some time to interpret his dream.

Daniel asked Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to join him in prayer, asking God to reveal the dream and its interpretation to them. That very night, God revealed the dream in a vision to Daniel. Daniel praised God for His wisdom and for answered prayer.

Daniel explained the dream to King Nebuchadnezzar – three kingdoms will destroy King Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom of Babylon. And God’s kingdom will destroy all other kingdoms and will endure forever.

Daniel submitted to the authority God placed over him, even though it was a pagan king. Daniel was placed in high positions because he was faithful to God and was willing to submit to the authorities God placed over him.

Later, Daniel served under King Darius. His administrators were jealous of Daniel and wanted to destroy him and his authority. They convinced King Darius to decree that all people in the kingdom bow down to him only for 30 days. Anyone who breaks the decree would be thrown into the lions’ den.

Daniel continued to pray to God three times a day, even in places where he knew others would see him. The administrators saw Daniel and reported him to King Darius. King Darius had no choice but to throw Daniel into the lions’ den. God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions and delivered Daniel from the lions’ den. Again, God rewarded Daniel’s obedience with power and authority.

In another episode from Daniel’s life, God showed him a terrifying dream full of kings and kingdoms. Through the dream, God showed that He will intervene on behalf of His people. Suffering will occur for a time, but eventually it will end. One day, God’s people will inherit these kingdoms. Daniel is speechless and troubled by the dream. We will learn more about this dream later in our study of Revelation.

Things to Think About
  • Do I willingly join others in their prayers as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego prayed together?
  • God ordains the rise and fall of earth’s kingdoms, but His kingdom endures forever.
  • How am I loyal to God while serving the earthly authority figures in my life?
  • The administrators and their families were thrown into the lions’ den. How is my sin affecting my family?
  • Loyalty to God comes at a personal cost. What does it cost me to be a faithful servant in God’s kingdom?

This Week’s Memory Verse
“But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever – yes, for ever and ever.” Daniel 7:18 NIV