John Bradshaw - A God You Can Trust
It's great to be with you today. It's good that we can get into the Word of God together. Before we open the Bible, let's pray and anticipate God's blessing. We've got a good message to look at. Let's pray before we do.
Our Father in heaven, we're grateful to be in Your presence, thankful to have the Bible in our possession, grateful to have access to Your throne of grace. We ask that You'd speak, that You'd be heard, that our hearts would be led and drawn, our lives would be molded to Yours. Please bless us now in Jesus' name. Amen.
Forty-five-year-old woman in Minnesota met a man on a dating website. She met a naval officer. The man was an Afghanistan veteran who was finishing his doctorate at the University of Minnesota. After the bad luck that she had had with men recently, this seemed too good to be true. He took care of her, paid bills for her. He even suggested that he could put her and her daughters on his insurance, and she thought, this couldn't possibly get much better. Well, things started to feel a little odd in that relationship. So one day she looked in his wallet and took out his driver's license. His picture... different name. She was being conned.
When she Googled the name on the license, she found out he was a serial conman with a history of deception. Before the story was over, she learned that he was lying to multiple other women at the same time. He'd worm his way into their lives, win their confidence, lie to them, and then steal from them, sometimes enormous amounts of money. Each woman had made the decision to trust him, and in each case, turned out to be a bad decision. It isn't always easy to know who you can trust. A man named Charles Ponzi made a killing financially in the 1920s by paying investors off with money from new investors. People love to make money, so the cash flowed in. Ponzi got rich. His investors, however, lost a ton of money. They made the mistake of trusting him.
Now, of course, in life you have to trust. So you take your car to the mechanic and hope for the best. You go to the doctor and trust that the advice you get is the best advice you can get, even though the third highest cause of death in the United States is medical errors. You put money in the bank, trusting that you'll be able to get it out when you want it. Most of the time our trust system works. You order something online; it normally arrives. You put something in the mail; it usually gets to where it's supposed to go. Payday is Thursday, and you typically get paid. You get the occasional rip-off, the occasional letdown. But more often than not, we trust, and it works out. But here's a question for you: Can God be trusted?
Now, be careful how you answer. Some people have a hard time with this, and you can understand why. For example, there's a death, and what do people say? They say, "Why, God"? You lose a job; you might wonder why God let that happen. You have a run of bad luck; you might think that God has turned His back on you. I want to say I don't believe in luck. You know, you know what I mean. You have a run of things go bad. "I believed in You, God. I trusted You. And now this". You might have been let down by so many human authority figures that you find it hard to trust God. Now, we want to look at this in the context of the Bible. If you're looking to get the most out of life, a fundamental question to ask is, "Is God someone I can trust"? Am I going to get the most out of life with God? Or maybe I'm better off without God, and if God cannot be trusted, surely you're better off without God.
You know, if you stop and think about it, the Bible makes some incredible claims. In fact, just the idea that there is a God, that's a big idea. When you look at the prophecies of the Bible, you read that Jesus is going to come back to the world. You read that we'll be reunited with our loved ones. You read that one day there'll be no more sin, no more death, no more sorrow. These are enormous claims. A politician tells you there's going to be no more war; you don't believe her or him. A politician says, "We're going to get rid of crime". You know better than that. They mean well, but that's a big claim to make, and this is a troubled world.
Does it make sense to trust a God you've never seen? To trust a Savior that you've never ever met on the street? The Bible begins with the words, "In the beginning God created," so you could say this is God's world, and if it is, it's in bad shape. Terrible crime, injustice, racism, terrorism, we could go on and on; you get the picture. What does the craziness in the world say about the God who owns the world? If you were a victim of the Holocaust or of ethnic cleansing in Rwanda or Bosnia, or if it was your home that was swept away by a hurricane or by a tornado that tore through your neighborhood, what would you think? Okay, let's find out. Can God be trusted? We'll look at the Bible, 66 books, 1,189 chapters, more than 31,000 verses. It's said to be the Word of God. If what the Bible says is true, everlasting life, heaven, no more tears, that would be great; that would be fabulous. But what leads us to believe that what the Bible says is actually true?
Let's think about a few things here. Book of Proverbs, written by King Solomon, it says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths". Proverbs 3:5 and 6. Trust Him with all your heart. Think about this. Easy enough if you were raised going to church. Easier if your life is going well. But if not? You know, God knew we might have struggles trusting Him. I'm sure God knows it's a big world, and we have a lot of options, and there's nothing forcing us to turn in His direction. So why should we? Well, I'll give you a very good reason, and then I'll back it up. One reason why we should turn in God's direction is that in the Bible God actually puts Himself on the line. He puts His reputation on the line.
Look at this from the book of Isaiah, chapter 46. It says, "Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done". Did you see what God says? He says, "One of the reasons you can trust me is that I tell you things are going to happen before they happen. When they happen, your ability to trust me ought to increase," God says. How many things has God predicted that have actually happened? You know, when I was a teenager, a friend of mine told me that God is just like the tooth fairy, nothing more, not real. All the stories about God? Fairy tales. We can find out. And let me say this: If you've had that thought, I understand. As I said, the Bible makes some bold claims.
So are the stories in the Bible fairy tales or not? Well, all we have to do is look. We have, at least I do right now, a Bible in my hand. So let's start with the easy and the obvious. In the book of Micah, chapter 5, verse 2, we read the following: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from... old, from everlasting". Now, that's God predicting that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. And notice: Bethlehem Ephrathah in case you thought it was Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Is that what happened? It's precisely what happened. In Matthew chapter 2, wise men came from the East, and they asked where they would find the Messiah. "So they said to him, 'In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"
That's Matthew 2, verses 5 and 6. God predicted it hundreds of years before, and it happened just as He said it would. The Bible said that Jesus would be born of a virgin, Isaiah 7:14. That's precisely what happened. God promised Jacob a son. What God promised actually came to pass. Through Noah, God told the people living on Planet Earth that the earth would be destroyed by a flood, and that's what took place. Hosea 11, verse 1 said that the Messiah would go into Egypt. You might remember that not long after He was born, Jesus' parents took Him into Egypt. That's recorded in Matthew chapter 2. God predicted that there would be a forerunner prior to Jesus' ministry. John the Baptist was that person. Isaiah said Jesus would be despised and rejected. He was certainly that. The Bible predicted that Jesus would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.
Look at Zechariah 11, verses 12 and 13. "Then I said to them, 'If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.' So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, 'Throw it to the potter', that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter". Psalm 22:15 said years before that the Messiah would suffer thirst as He hung on the cross. A small detail, interesting that God brings it up ahead of time, that's precisely what occurred. One verse later in Psalm 22, God said the Messiah's hands and feet would be pierced. Same chapter. They oddly cast lots for Jesus' clothing. And there are many others, all the way down to Psalm 22, verse 1, which says, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me"?
Those words were repeated by Jesus in Matthew 27:46. God predicted Jesus would be put to death. You read about it in Isaiah 53. We know Jesus was crucified between two thieves; the Bible even alluded to that. Isaiah said that Jesus would make His grave with the rich at His death. And we know Jesus was buried in the tomb of the very wealthy Joseph of Arimathea. And we could go on and on and on and on. The Bible named the man who led the overthrow of the kingdom of Babylon years before it happened. It named him by name before he was born: Cyrus. Start to add these up and you realize you've got a choice to make. Either the Bible is actually God's book and can be trusted, or...well, what's the alternative? Can anyone get that lucky? Is it even possible you could have that many predictions written by numerous different people in different ages and that they all come to pass? Either this book represents the most incredible stroke of luck in history, or maybe it tells you that there is a God that you can trust.
Now, I want to share with you a prophecy that makes the point like no other prophecy in the Bible. It's found in the book of Daniel, Daniel chapter 2. Let me give you some background. Daniel grew up in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was attacked by Babylon in 605 BC, and Daniel and many others were, were captured and taken into slavery in Babylon. Now, while he was in Babylon, he impressed the king so much the king made him and three of his friends advisers to the king. They were captives, foreigners, slaves, but they were part of the king's inner circle. There's a lesson there. You don't have to be restricted by your state, by your station in life. No matter where you were born, no matter who your parents are, no matter what side of the tracks you lived on, God can use you for His glory. He can elevate you. He can lift you up. He can promote you. He can bless you. That's what God does. Don't ever think that your circumstances dictate to you who you have to be and what you have to be.
So we'll turn in the Bible to the book of Daniel; we'll turn to Daniel chapter 2, and...we're going to pick up on this incredible story. As we do, I'd like you to think about what we're doing. What we're actually doing is testing to see if there's a God you can trust, and if there is, think of the implications. It means you can believe God; it means you can believe the Bible; it means you can expect what the Bible says to be true. You can expect what the Bible says is going to happen will actually happen. And perhaps most importantly of all, means you can trust God with your life. Daniel chapter 2, we start in verse 1: "Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him. Then the king gave...command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said to them, 'I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.' Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, 'O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.'"
This is one of history's most famous cases of insomnia. The king had a dream. It woke him up. He couldn't sleep, couldn't remember what the dream was, couldn't remember what it meant. Made a profound impression on Nebuchadnezzar. Dreams were important to the people like him back then because it was believed the gods revealed their will to the ancient rulers by dreams. Records of ancient Mesopotamia tell of many important royal dreams. The king employed counselors to help him with such mysteries. But here they ask King Nebuchadnezzar to tell them what he had dreamed so they could then interpret. Verse 5: "The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, 'My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap. However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.'"
Nebuchadnezzar meant what he said. It's impossible to underestimate how powerful this man was. Anything that happened in Babylon was merely the echo of his royal will. So let me ask you this. Can people read the future? Uh, I'll tell you this. This is something I want, want to say to you here. I read recently...that a shocking amount of Christians believe in the New Age. Now, maybe not lock, stock, and barrel, but a huge amount of Christians have one or two or more New Age beliefs. For example, dealing with crystals, which are said to promote healing. Uh, look, that's bunk. It's New Age-y, it's not biblical, and it's not science. But even Christians get crystals because, you know, you just never know. And there are many other beliefs such as reincarnation, it's a New Age belief, a Hindu belief, but it's crept into the New Age. This isn't biblical.
So, let me ask you if people can read the future, because there are people today who will go to palm readers and mediums and fortune tellers and psychics, who cannot read the future at all. That's not God's way of doing business. You know something? You do not need a psychic to tell you what to do in the future. Fortune tellers themselves have admitted that what they do is fakery. You might say, "It's not all fake". No, I, I agree with that. Either it's fakery, or it's the devil lying to people through mediums. God has already said that He knows and can reveal the future. What did we read before? "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths". No need to consult a spirit medium or the horoscopes or a palm reader to get some sort of sense of security about the direction of your life. You can go to God. You can trust Him. You can commit yourself to following the leading of the One who made you. You can sleep at night knowing you're getting the best direction you possibly could.
Now, these Babylonian wise men, they probably were practiced in the art of astrology, predicting the future based on the movement of the stars, and they likely practiced extispicy, where they... this is quite, quite amazing, they'd inspect the internal organs of slaughtered animals and check for patterns and certain anomalies. No surprise they weren't able to tell the king what his dream was. So they said to Nebuchadnezzar, and we pick it up in verse 7: "'Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation.' The king answered and said, 'I know for certain that you would gain time, because you see that my decision is firm.'" You know why they asked the king to tell them his dream? So they could make something up. These wise men were only as wise as their best stories. So they started stalling for time, and it didn't work out too well.
Verse 9: "'If you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the time has changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.' The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, 'There is not a man on earth who can tell the king's matter; therefore no [lord, king], or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean. It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.' For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon".
That was it. They were doomed. And the problem for Daniel was that he and his three friends were considered to be among the wise men of Babylon. Not because they were magicians and fortune tellers or looked at internal organs of animals, but because of the way they'd proven themselves in Daniel chapter 1 when they first arrived in Babylon. So when Nebuchadnezzar sentenced the wise men to death, that included Daniel and his friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. We know them better as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Their lives were on the line, too. So they did what everyone should do when confronted with a crisis like this. And what's that? They prayed. They prayed, and look what happened. "Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon".
That's verses 17 and 18. If you need answers, you can be sure you can get your answers from God. He's always ready to answer prayer. I want to encourage you to be in the habit of praying, of talking with God. Take your cares to God. Peter wrote that we can cast all our cares upon Him because He cares for us. Isn't that something when you stop and think about it? This universe is vast. It's huge. Our Milky Way galaxy is at least 100,000 light years across, which means that if Adam started traveling at the speed of light when he was created 6,000 or so years ago, 186,000 miles a second, he'd only be 100 1/20th of the way across the Milky Way by now. Huh? Adam, if he started at creation and was traveling at the speed of light, would by now be 1/20th of the way across the Milky Way. Huge, isn't it? And the Milky Way is just one of billions of galaxies that exist. The universe is that vast. Yet when Daniel and his friends prayed, the God who made it all heard them and answered their prayer. Isn't God great, amen?
Daniel 2:19, the Bible says that "the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven". God reveals the dream to Daniel, and he comes now, Daniel, to the fabulous courts of the planet's greatest monarch and reveals his great dream, Nebuchadnezzar's great dream, to him. Daniel 2, let's pick it up in verse...31: "You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king".
"We". Notice that? "We". Daniel is saying, "It's not me; it's we, God working through me". Imagine his astonishment as Nebuchadnezzar heard described the very dream that so troubled him. "Yes, that's it," I imagine. "Yes! Yes, that's it". The lights were coming on; his eyes were getting big. "It's exactly what I dreamed". But knowing the dream wasn't all he wanted. He wanted to know what it meant. So now Daniel tells the king not only what it was he dreamed, but what the king what the dream meant. In a few verses, God reveals to us what will take place over the next 2,500 years of human history and beyond. Now, realize this: God puts Himself on the line here. If what God says isn't true, I encourage you to walk away from the Bible and not look back. But this prophecy actually provides the basis for the major apocalyptic prophecies of the Bible. Daniel and Revelation are based on Daniel 2. It's the foundation. So if Daniel 2 isn't reliable, the whole Bible collapses like a house of cards.
So let's look at that dream. Let me turn back to Daniel chapter 2, here it is, and we'll pick it up in verse 37. "You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all, you are this head of gold". Babylon, great kingdom, it ruled from around 605 BC to 539 BC. It was known as the golden kingdom. Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar, "Hey, king, you are this head of gold". In other words, the head of gold is Babylon. Big city, bigger than Rome, bigger than Athens, 10 miles around. There was an altar and throne there made from, they tell us, 8 1/2 tons of solid gold. Nebuchadnezzar said of Babylon, and this was, this was recovered, discovered: "The whole earth was prostrate at Babylon's feet". He wrote, "Babylon, the city which is the delight of my eyes, which I have glorified, may it last forever".
Interestingly, one might assume or even deduce that he wrote that after Daniel had interpreted this dream. "May it last forever". But for all that, verse 39: "But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours". This was the kingdom of Medo-Persia, a joint kingdom of two peoples or nations, ruled from 539 to 331 BC. Silver is inferior to gold; Medo-Persia was inferior to Babylon. Represented by the, the chest and arms. Now, now you see what's happening here? The Bible interprets itself. We're not guessing what it means. Elsewhere the Word of God refers to the Medo-Persians; elsewhere the Bible runs through these four kingdoms; elsewhere, some of these symbols and signs are interpreted. You let the Bible interpret itself, let the Bible be its, be its own expositor, its own interpreter, and you'll be standing on solid ground.
Daniel 2:39: "Then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth". Third kingdom of brass, next world-ruling power? Greece, which ruled from 331 to 168. Alexander the Great of Greece conquered the world. But then, "And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others". Vanquished by the armies of Rome, depicted in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, the legs of iron. Historians refer to Rome as "the iron kingdom". It vanquished everything before it, ruled from 168, the demise of Greece, down to 476 AD. And you know what we're seeing here? We're seeing something that was predicted 600 years before the birth of Christ. And everything that God said would unfold, has unfolded exactly as God said it would. God predicted the rise of four world-ruling kingdoms: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome.
And notice what verse 41 says: "Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay". God says Rome will not be conquered; Rome will be divided. So what happened to Rome? It wasn't subjugated by another great power; it wasn't overthrown by another nation. It was repeatedly attacked by barbarian tribes that swept down from the North, and Rome, instead of being conquered and another kingdom in its place, was divided into 10 nations, many of which became the nations of Europe recognizable today. Rome was finally and irrevocably divided in the year 476 AD. It's incredible; God pictured Rome dividing into 10 nations, showing that after the legs of iron of Rome would come the feet of iron and clay, the 10 toes representing the 10 divisions into which Rome fell.
Now, wait right there, because I've heard people say, "Bible doesn't say anything about 10 toes, and here you are, preacher, saying 10 nations, and you're saying it's 10 nations because of the 10 toes". No, the Bible doesn't say anything about 10 toes, but there are two points to consider. It says something about two feet. Actually, it doesn't, does it? It says feet. So maybe there were 10 feet. No, there were two feet because there were legs in iron; it was a statue of a man. If there were two feet, how many toes were there? Of course there were 10 toes. I remember somebody saying, "Well, there would have been three toes on each feet, so there was..." Good night. And when you get over to Daniel chapter 7, same...flow, different symbols, 10 horns on the head.
So it's 10. There's no question. And notice that God says although people would again try to reunite the European empire, that it would never happen. God promised. The Bible says, and I want to read this to you: "[Just] as you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay", this is verse 43, "they will mingle [themselves] with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay". The King James says they will "not cleave one to another". Over the years, many people have tried. You, you go to Paris and all, and all the, so much you see that makes it very, very clear. Napoleon was on a quest to become the European emperor. Hitler tried to reunite Europe. Kaiser Wilhelm tried. All of them were on a quest to put back together what God had divided. Queen Victoria was known as the "grandmother of Europe," owing to the fact that so many of her descendants rose to high places in royal families across Europe. King Christian IX of Denmark was known as the "father-in-Law of Europe".
Eight European monarchs were grandchildren of one or the other of those two. But the Bible said that the nations of Europe would not cleave one to another. And look what's happening in Europe today. Well, I know the news can change any time, but the Eurozone has been in some chaos for years. Economies are tanking. There's disunity. God has said, "They shall not cleave one to another". Let me share a story with you. You may even have heard this story. It's a great story. And it dictates how reli... no, shouldn't say dictates, it reveals how reliable this book, the Bible, is, and in particular, uh, how trustworthy Daniel chapter 2 is. I've a friend whose grandfather was in the German army during World War II. He was a committed Christian. So life in the German military was difficult for him, but in spite of frequent ridicule and antagonism, he maintained his faith in God and his belief that the Bible was truly God's Word. One day Franz Hasel, and you can read about this in a wonderful book called "A Thousand Shall Fall".
If you've not read it, read it. If you don't have it, buy it. It's wonderful. One day Franz Hasel was invited by a superior officer to bring his Bible to a morning meeting, and he was surprised to find two other officers present at the meeting, including a lieutenant who'd been hostile to Franz and his faith in God. So during this discussion, Franz took the opportunity to ask the gentlemen a few questions of his own. Remembering that in civilian life the captain had been a history professor, Franz asked him if he could check the historical accuracy of some of the Bible's prophecies. The captain was very gracious, and so he agreed. While the men listened in rapt attention, Franz detailed the prophecy from Daniel 2, and he interpreted it for the German army officers, explaining from history that after Babylon came the kingdoms of Medo-Persia, then Greece, and finally the iron monarchy of Rome.
Now, the former history professor was impressed. "Everything is accurate," he said. "I've never heard anything so amazing in my life". But then Franz Hasel explained the rest of the dream. He actually took his life into his own hands when he explained to them that the 10 toes on the feet of the image represented the 10 nations into which the Roman Empire dissolved. Many, many miles from Germany, during the, the white hot heat of World War II, this young man explained to his superiors that in spite of the best efforts on the part of military and political leaders, the divided Roman Empire could never be brought back together. In other words, he was telling them that the Bible made clear that Hitler was doomed to fail, and if Hitler was doomed to fail, then this young man's company over a thousand miles from home on Russia's eastern front would certainly fail, too. It was...remarkable for them, because if what this young man was saying was true, the likelihood of any of the men in the room that morning ever making it home to safety was extremely remote.
If Hitler was going to fail, they'd fail. And way over there in Russia, failure was not an option you wanted to think too much about. For Franz to even suggest that Hitler might not win the war was a punishable offense. But based on the prophecies of this remarkable book, the military men knew that they were involved in plans for the world far greater than those of Adolf Hitler. They realized that based on what they'd recognized to be true from the Bible, that they were involved in the outworking of the purposes of God Himself. So this young man chose his words carefully. "Sir, the Bible's predictions have been proved accurate again and again, and if they're accurate here, it means that we're fighting a losing battle". The captain abruptly dismissed the meeting and asked Franz if he could borrow his Bible.
A week later, he approached the man and gave him an order that would prove ultimately to save their lives. He told Franz to begin stockpiling gasoline so that when the end of the war came, they'd have enough fuel to make it back home. When Hitler was defeated and the time came for German troops to withdraw from Russia and flee home to Germany and safety, Franz's company, Pioneer Park Company 699, had all the fuel it needed to travel the long distance and make it safely home. Amen. God said, "Four kingdoms, then they'll divide". It all happened exactly as predicted. You see, if you're a skeptic, you've got to be seriously considering the Bible now. This isn't good luck on the part of the Bible writer. If your faith is wavering, you've got to admit that there is something amazing not only about this book but about its Author. Can you trust a God like that? Oh, yes, you can. How can a person have hope in a world that seems to be spinning out of control?
The same Bible that paints an accurate picture of our day reveals to us that there is a God who holds the future in His hands. Prophecy reveals that God knows where this world is headed, and that He has a perfect future prepared for you as well. You see, friend, it's true that forces much larger than us are propelling this world in a catastrophic direction. There is One who knows. There is One who has a plan to prevent this world from self-destructing entirely. Will peace come? Ultimately, yes, God will bring it. Is there a future for our children and our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren? Yes, there is. How do we know that? Because the prophecies of the Bible tell us. These prophecies have been so reliable, so accurate, given centuries before their fulfillment. These prophecies tell us that in spite of the madness around us, the best is yet to come.
Let's go back and complete that great prophecy in Daniel chapter 2, starting in verse 44: "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure". Here the Bible tells us that Jesus hasn't forgotten you wherever you are, whatever you're going through. You have no faith in the world? That's okay. Jesus is coming back to make all things right. He'll set up a kingdom that will never pass away.
Look at what the Bible said: "The dream is certain. The interpretation is sure". Here's something you can have confidence in. Jesus is coming again. By showing that He has the ability to predict future events before they happen, God shows us that there is a God you can trust. Now, there's one more that I want to show you, a, a prediction. It's Genesis 3:15, and it says this: "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel". That's a prediction that Jesus' ministry would destroy the works of the devil, even the devil himself. You can trust that. If this is true, and it has to be, then you know what you need to do in order to secure your future, in order to get the most out of life. Don't leave God out. Include God. Don't turn away from God. Turn towards God. Make room in your life for God. Look forward into the future with confidence.
There's a better day coming. Jesus is coming back. We are going to a better land, a place where the flowers never fade, where the streets are made of gold, where the river of life flows, and where the tree of life grows. We're going to a place where there'll never be sin ever again. There won't be pain or sorrow. You won't even remember the hardships that you endured on this earth. What a wonderful future. Why does God even do it? You know, in the Psalms, David asked the question, he says, "What is man that You are mindful of him, ...the son of man that You visit him"? What a good question. In other words, he was saying, "God, why do You bother? Why do You bother"? The answer is given to us in John 3, verse 16: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life". Because God loves you. God loves the people of this world. God has a perfect plan in store for you, a perfect future.
Yeah, it's true; from day to day we go through some things on this earth that we'd rather avoid. But one day, joy forever. One day, no sin. One day, no death. One day, only peace. One day. O friend, are you getting ready for that one day? That one day when Jesus comes back in the clouds of heaven, and the heavens depart as a scroll, and we see Him, and we say, "Lo, this is our God, we have waited for Him, and He will save us". Are you getting ready for that one day? Are you ready for that one day? Oh, I know the road is long sometimes, but if you take hold of Jesus' hand, He'll carry you through. I know sometimes your patience is tried. I know sometimes it just seems as though the ball bounces the wrong way for you every single time. But are you hanging on to Jesus and drawing faith and confidence from Him? Are you reading the Word of God and familiarizing yourself with the precious promises in the Word of God, and with the wonderful character of a God who is only good and who is only love?
He's coming back soon, Jesus is; He's coming back for you. You can trust Him. Daniel chapter 2 shows us the Bible is remarkable and wonderful, trustworthy. Lean on it. Lean on God's Word. Can you do that? I know you can. "Pastor, I'm weak". Yes, you are, but God's strength "is made perfect in weakness," the Bible says. "Pastor, I don't know enough". Oh, sure, that's true for all of us. But the Bible says wisdom will be given to us. God will give it to us. "Pastor, I fail". Yeah, the Bible speaks about Jesus, who is the One "who can keep you from falling". "Ah, but, Pastor, I've been falling and falling". Yeah, sure, but that Jesus is the One who can give you a way of escape.
The Bible says so in 1 Corinthians chapter 10. He's the way of escape. Crowd Him into your life; crowd Him into your heart. This amazing book, get it in here, and in, and in here, your head and your heart. And trust God. He is a God you can trust. Let's tell Him now we purpose to trust Him. Pray with me, would you? Bow your head, please.
Father in heaven, we want to trust You. I, I feel like saying, as the person in the Bible said, "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief". Oh, grow us, Lord, would You, please? Don't let us go, and... give us the grace and the good sense to not let You go. We thank You for Daniel chapter 2, which shows us, reveals to us so much. We believe it. We want to trust You.
Friend, do you want to trust God? I don't quite know what that looks like in your life and your context, but you do.
Lord, I want to trust You with my marriage. I want to trust You with my children. I want to trust You with my education. I want to trust You with my employment situation. I want to trust You with my heart. I trust You that You'll forgive me of my sin. I trust You... that You'll raise me up to walk in newness of life. I trust You that Jesus will come back to get me and take me home.
Friend, raise your hand if your prayer is, I want to trust You, Lord. I want to trust You. Come on, do that. Life up your hand. Act on this thing.
Lord, we raise our hands and our hearts. We trust You. We believe You. Thank You that You are a God we can trust. In Jesus' name. Please say...amen. Amen and amen.