God's sovereign Control of History
God’s Sovereign Control of History
“In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel observed in the books of the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolation of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.”
Jeremiah was a prophet that pronounced the coming judgment upon Israel. Because they refused to obey God’s law, God brought judgment upon them. However, in Jeremiah 25:11,12, and 29:10, God promised that he would again bring the people back to the land of Israel. Scholars estimate (we do not know for certain) that he was around fifteen when he was taken captive in 605 B.C. Thus he would be over eighty years old when Darius became ruler of Babylon in 538 B.C. Consequently, Daniel recognized that the prophecy was coming to the time of its fulfillment. Thus, he began to pray both for God’s fulfillment of the prophecy and to offer a prayer of repentance for the people of Israel. In his prayer, Daniel affirmed the sin of the people and the justice of God in bringing his discipline upon the people. He also grounds his prayer in the forgiveness and salvation of God. The fact that God had delivered the people through the leadership of Moses was his confidence. If God did it once, he would do it again.
In response to his prayer, God sent Gabriel to provide the answer. In his response, Gabriel foretold of another 70 weeks of years that God decreed for the nation of Israel. While there is some debate regarding the exact timing of the start of this 70 week's prophecy (some start with the return of Ezra in 457 B.C.; others begin with the decree of Nehemiah 2 in 450 B.C.), Gabriel prophecies that at the end of 69 weeks (7 weeks plus 62 weeks in verse 25), the Messiah would be cut off. Using Nehemiah's date, this places the event in A.D.33, which would have been the year of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his death on the cross. Thus which pinpoint accuracy, Daniel prophesied the coming of Christ and his subsequent death. However, the then prophecies a period of 1 week of years (7 years) that would come sometime after the end of Christ, and this last period has become known as the great tribulation.
The knowledge of God assures us that he knows the future. Just as he knew the nations that would arise and dominate the Ancient Near East from the time of Daniel to the arrival of Christ, he also knew the future events in our modern-day history. The sovereignty of God assures us that he controls all things. Just as he guided the nations during the time of Daniel, he continues to guide the nations today. Furthermore, he knows and determines the outcome of history. God is working today to show the events on the earth to reach his predetermined outcome. This outcome is the return of Christ when he establishes his kingdom.
However, God’s knowledge and sovereignty are not just manifested in the movements of history and nations; it is also at work in our lives. Because he is infinitely wise, we know that he not only knows the outcome, but he also knows the best way to achieve his purpose in our lives. We can still rest in his knowledge, wisdom, and sovereignty when we encounter events we do not understand or perceive. We do not know what will happen tomorrow. We make our plans with no assurance that those plans will materialize. But God does. He knows and guides our life to achieve his purpose. Thus the best way to start a day is not to list what needs to be done but to surrender our plans to God and ask him to achieve his purpose. When that becomes our attitude, we know the outcome will always be perfect.