This is my favorite Christmas message…
God provides… protects… and blesses His children. He does this in ways we can’t comprehend. He’s never late, He’s always on time, with exactly what’s needed. This is seen in the first part of the Christmas narrative FROM DANIEL. (Pause) Let me explain what I mean…
Daniel. Babylon conquered Judea and deported the best and brightest of their youth. They moved them from their home and family to indoctrinate them in Babylonian culture and philosophy. But 4 teenage boys didn’t give in… Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego. (Aside: Never too young!!)
(Dan 2) For context, The King had a dream and he couldn’t sleep. He called for the astronomers, astrologers, and enchanters & demanded they tell him what he dreamed and THEN give the interpretation.
They were used to hearing about a dream THEN giving an interpretation. But not this time… and they couldn’t do it! The magi and sorcerers said only God could do what the king asked (2:10-11). This so angered the king that he decreed to kill ALL the magi… including Daniel and his friends (2:12, 18).
Daniel’s response was to ask people to pray (Hmm) for God to reveal the dream and it’s meaning (2:17-18). God answered their prayer & Daniel answered the King (Statue as kingdoms was the dream).
The dream isn’t the point today. But rather what the king did as a result of Daniel interpreting the dream. 2:48… “Then the king gave Daniel high honors & many great gifts, & made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon & chief prefect over ALL the wise men of Babylon.”
Who was Daniel put in charge of? The wise men… Magi! Heard of them before?
Daniel was devoted to God. He would not defile himself (1:8) even though he lived in Babylon. Daniel honored Jehovah God his entire life. Here’s why that is important…
It is reasonable to say that Daniel, being over all the wise men (Magi) of Babylon, made sure to teach them HIS doctrine and theology about Jehovah God & the coming Messiah. Num 24:17…
I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel… (This is part of what Daniel taught the Magi in Babylon…)
Daniel’s teachings were passed down thru generations of magi until what Daniel taught came true in a star the Magi followed from Babylon to a house in Bethlehem! The arrival of Wise Men from the east was not a cosmic coincidence… it was the fruit of God working thru Daniel!
Dan didn’t know how what He taught would play in the birth of The Messiah. Those who passed on what they’d been taught and didn’t understand either. The magi that came to Jerusalem centuries later didn’t grasp it either. But God was at work the whole the time in ways none of them weren’t aware of!
Aside. God is always working! His plan is being carried out! Just because we don’t see it… don’t understand it… and don’t grasp what is going on does not mean He’s not working OR not using us!
God used what we’d call adversity in Daniel’s life (Exile) to take the message of salvation to people that otherwise never would have heard it (Babylonians). Through Daniel’s ministry in Babylon the king became a believer AND worshiped Jehovah God (Dan 4:34-37).
POINT. There are times we are taken from a place of security, comfort, and ease by God to be in a place of hardship, problems, and difficulty for His glory. DON’T say Satan is attacking or working against us… certainly that wasn’t what was happening with Dan (1:1-2)! God willed the deportation to add to the events surrounding Jesus’ birth… and ultimately our salvation! (Stay w/ me)
Aside: Ro 8:28. God works on so many levels at one time we can’t comprehend it. In an event we discern less than one trillion trillionth of what He is doing.
Now fast forward hundreds of years to Jerusalem. Turn to Mt 2:1-15… (Read it!)
The reason the “wise men” (Magi) came to Jerusalem was as a result of Dan’s teaching about the Messiah. They didn’t know where to go, but Herod called the Jewish leaders and found out the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem (Mt 2:5-6). So they went with that information… by faith…
They followed the star until it rested over where Jesus was (Mt 2:9). At this point remember what the gifts were the Magi gave Jesus. Gold… frankincense… and myrrh. All three were expensive… AND providentially important. Let me explain…
Herod was an evil man who murdered anyone who was a threat to his throne. He didn’t want to worship the Messiah (Mt 2:8), he intended to kill him… as we read he attempted to do in 2:16.
Now… what was the financial condition of Mary and Joseph? They were poor. In Lk 2:24 they presented the offering to God reserved for the poorest of Jews. When an angel told Joseph in Mt 2:13 to flee to Egypt, they didn’t have the money to make the trip or sustain themselves while in Egypt.
Well… they didn’t UNTIL the wise men came! God provided financially for Mary, Joseph, & Jesus to travel to Egypt… live there… & return thru the gifts given by the wise men! And it all began when a teenager named Daniel was exiled from his home to Babylon! THAT is Ro 8:28…
Point. Where God leads, He provides! When God calls a person or people or family to a place… whether to Babylon from Israel OR Egypt from Bethlehem OR in our life HE PROVIDES! Mt 6:25…
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, & the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, & yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive & tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, & your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, & all these things will be added to you.
Think! What does God say about His ability to provide? Is there ever a situation, event, or circumstance God can’t provide in? Is there any person, government, or system that God cannot use for His purposes FOR those who are His? Your view of God will mold your attitude…
Second: God is in control. God guiding & directing boys from Israel to Babylon… the wise men to Bethlehem w/ gifts… Mary and Joseph to Egypt and back to Nazareth are examples FOR US[i]!
“God Is Able.” Whatever you face… God IS Able! Consider Eph 3:20-21 (NIV)…
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be glory in the church & in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
God has given THE greatest gift there is… His Son. Thus there is NOTHING greater He can give. If He never gives another thing, we already have one more thing than we deserve. Yet He continues to provide each and every day of our life. Look at Mt 7:11 again!
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
There is not one thing we need that we don’t or won’t have when it is needed as one of God’s children. If we need it… we’ll get it. If we don’t get it… we don’t need it. And GOD determines the difference btwn the two! TRUST HIM! PUT HIM FIRST REGARDLESS!
Remember… GOD IS IN CHARGE! Quote from NAC… page 105… (Southern Baptist Convention Commentary)…
If God does not control our lives… from the actions of kings & others in positions of power to the most minute circumstances… then everything in life is uncertain. We are victims of circumstances, & whatever happens will happen. Que sera, sera! But if God is sovereign, as the Bible declares Him to be, & if He is our God… if the promises He makes & the actions He takes are certain (to be fulfilled)… then we can be confident of the future & know that we will be able to live our lives in a way that will please God…[ii]
We don’t know what God is doing! We don’t know how He’ll work things out! We don’t know what the end result will be of the events transpiring in our life generations from now! So trust God! No matter what happens or takes place… TRUST GOD!
God is as involved in your life as He was in Daniel’s, The Magi, Mary & Joseph. They didn’t see it at the time. They didn’t sense God in the moment. They didn’t get text messages, emails, or voice mails either. “Just because we aren’t aware God is working doesn’t mean He isn’t!”
You may be like the shepherds not expecting God to reveal Himself… you may be like Daniel who’s been deported to a place you never thought you’d be… you may be like the Magi, called to a place w/out knowing the eventual outcome… you may be in a “desert” and just need to keep moving until God reveals His will.
God’s will & desire is for you to be saved from His wrath. That’s why Jesus died for you. Trust Him, repenting of your sin so as to be saved. Christian… trust God (Invitation).
[ii] Boice, J.M., Daniel: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989), pg 29.