Read Daniel 8:1, 15-19
I. Meeting the Interpreter. In the Sunday School material Daniel talks about having a vision in the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign. Gabriel is appointed to help Daniel understand the vision.
Gabriel has to get Daniel up on his feet to understand the vision, in light of Daniel being so frightened (i.e., some suggest that Daniel may have fainted).
- God’s word for today. Notice in vs. 1 of our Sunday School material that God sent a word to Daniel. In like manner, God still sends a word. Thankfully, the best way to know what word God is sending today is to prayerfully study and obey God’s word.
Instead of looking for a vision or something else, we should be trying to discern God’s will based on God’s word, the Bible. If God speaks by way of a vision or some other means, we can rest in knowing that the message will not contradict the Bible.
Thus, we need to study the Bible to make sure we can tell when visions come from God and not from the devil. Let’s study the Bible as the authoritative truth that it is.
- Understanding and obeying God’s word. Notice in vss. 15, 26 of our Sunday School material that God wants us to understand and obey His word. First, as Gabriel was sent to help Daniel understand, God sends Pastors to help His people understand.
A chief duty of the Pastor is to feed the people of God, by way of preaching, teaching, and often training. Lay teachers and others are to assist the Pastor with Christian education.
Second, God expects us to obey. In Daniel’s case, he was to seal up the vision because of how far away the prophesy was in regard to time. Today, God wants us to tell people about the goodness of Jesus, because time is running out.
Let’s work on understanding what God is teaching us through the Pastors that He sends and then obey what is being said. There are too many who rarely come to hear what God is saying through Pastoral teaching and even fewer who obey what is being said.
- Proper reverence for God’s servants. Notice in vss. 17-18 of our Sunday School material that Daniel had too much fear.
On one hand, it is good to have a certain amount of reverence for those whom God use for special assignments. We miss out on our blessings, by being too familiar with the man or woman of God.
But on the other hand, when we are so reverent and fearful that we cannot hear then we are too fearful or reverent. Let’s work on having the right amount of reverence/respect for those whom God use for special assignments.
In the Black Baptist tradition, some of the ways that we try to show a reasonable amount of reverence/respect for the man of God is by calling him “Pastor,” standing as he enters the pulpit, and perhaps most importantly following his leadership.
Read Daniel 8:20-26
II. Receiving the Interpretation. In our Sunday School material Gabriel explains the vision. The animals represent kings who will conquer one another. God is still in control, because He controls the strongest King. The vision is to be sealed, because it is for the distant future.
- God of international affairs. Notice in vss. 20-23 of our Sunday School material that God knows and is involved in international affairs. God is not restricted to church affairs. His knowledge base and power reaches beyond choirs, ushers, and Deacon meetings.
Consequently, we don’t have to panic, when we hear about terrible things happening in countries on the other side of the world. God is omnipresent - everywhere at the same time.
Let’s live like we believe that God is omnipresent. Such living should be known for a calm assurance and obedience to God’s will, in spite of conflicts and tension around the world.
- God’s plan and timing. Notice in vs. 25 that God has a plan and time for things to happen. As there was a time for the King to rule and a time for him to fall, in our text, God is still working all things out for His people.
“All things” include what appears to be evil people getting away with all kinds of wicked deeds. Let’s live like we believe that God is working all things out for the good of His people. This kind of living should be known for obeying God’s will with a certain calmness and assurance that God is still ultimately in charge.
The Sunday School commentator try to make sure that God was not held responsible for the wickedness of the wicked king in our text, even though the text suggests that God put him in power.
The truth is, no matter who is responsible for what, we have no better choice than to trust God is working things out. If we allow ourselves to think that God is not working things out then our pain has not purpose and life begins to spiral out of control.
Conclusion: Let’s work on trusting that God knows what is best for His people and when it is best for them. God has much for those who obey His will.
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