The Lord Gave Them Over
Daniel 1:2 (ESV) -- And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god.
There are many Christians today who have a small view of God, even though they don’t realize it or admit it. The reason I say that is because they limit God’s activity in the world to only things that feel “Christian.” Hungry people are being fed—God’s in it. The gospel is preached to unreached people—God’s in it. Churches are planted among people groups without the gospel—God’s in it. These things we grant. But is God involved in other activities happening in the world outside the clearly “Christian” ones?
Our passage today gives us a peek at God’s actions in ways we typically forget in our modern context. We read in Daniel 1:2, “And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god.”
We read that the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into “his” hand.” Who is the “his” in this verse? It is Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonians. He is a pagan ruler. God gives Judah’s king into Nebuchadnezzar’s hands. What does that mean? It means that the Lord has not only inclined the king’s heart to go after Judah’s territory, but he’s given him the victory. The Lord is not going to stop him or subdue him.
Why is this so significant? Because if you are King Nebuchadnezzar’s best friend and confidant, and you’re hearing him discuss the idea of invading Israel, and then you watch him do it successfully, you likely think it is all his doing. What you don’t see is what is happening behind the scenes. God is at work. I love how texts like today’s give us this insight.
What this teaches us is that God is always at work in the movements of men and nations. Nothing is happening outside of His decrees and will. We don’t have to understand—and most of the time we won’t—God’s plan or actions, but we can trust He is in control. The Lord gave Judah and its king over to Babylon.
Be encouraged that the Lord our God is over all people and places. Also, remember that the rebellion of Israel brought about this judgment. Live holy and pleasing to the Lord. Don’t turn to the right or left.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is it important to recognize God’s control over Nebuchadnezzar?
- What does this passage teach us about the sovereignty of God over all things?
- What does it mean for someone or something to be given over?
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