Nebuchadnezzar was the famous king of Babylon who reigned during part of the Neo-Babylonian period spanning from 626-539 BC. He was known for impressive architecture such as the hanging gardens of Babylon which are one of the seven wonders of the world, and for his military might. He was also the king that destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem and brought the children of Israel into captivity in Babylon.
Although such a powerful king would seem unstoppable on earth, he was led to a situation where he needed to realize that actually it was the heavens that rule. In his ignorance to a warning given to him in a dream, he had to suffer losing his kingdom temporarily and was made to live with the beasts with his nails as birds’ claws and hair as eagles’ feathers, eating grass on all fours for seven periods of time. William Blakes painting portrays his experience. It was promised to him that his kingdom will be assured to him after he had “known that the heavens do rule” – Dan 4:26 (ASV).
Eventually in Dan 4: 34 he lifted his eyes up to heaven and blessed the Most High and praised God. I sometimes wish that the rulers on the earth today would lift up their eyes and recognize like Nebuchadnezzar that the heavens do rule. This experience must have been sobering to the utmost for Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel who interpreted his dream was one who knew this regarding the heavens already; he lived with the healthy fear and subjective knowledge that the heavens do rule. This governed his living and it gave God a way to work through him and to eventually have His people return to Jerusalem.
Knowing that the heavens rule had an effect on Daniels living. For one, when he was in captivity, he wouldn’t eat the unclean food of the Babylonians. He was also one who diligently read the scriptures and by doing so he knew what was on God’s heart and could therefore pray for what God wanted.
He had read the book of Jeremiah and saw that the children of Israel would be in captivity for 70 years; having read this he fasted and prayed and joined his desire to God’s desire for His people. When he read Leviticus he stopped eating unclean food. It amazes me that Daniel saw what God desired in the scriptures and then he either acted on it or prayed for it, and then God did something.
It seems that by Daniels being under the heavens’ rule, he wanted God’s will to be done on the earth and not the will of those merely in human government.
Daniel 6:10 says that he knelt down and prayed 3 times daily with his windows open towards Jerusalem. In the same chapter he got thrown into the lion’s den but didn’t fear for his life; that means that he really believed in God’s word and in his prayer to God. In chapter 9:3 he said “I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications.” It’s interesting how he didn’t pray for his own things like we so often do and get disappointed when they don’t get ‘answered’. To me it looks like Daniel was actually concerned for what God wanted to do on earth and so he prayed for it. I believe this was Daniel’s heart because in verse 17 he said “cause Your face to shine upon Your sanctuary that has been desolated, for the Lord’s sake.” He prayed for God’s sake, not his own.
Some of the prophetic visions that we have today concerning the ending of this current age and Christ’s second coming are a result of Daniels prayer here. Imagine if Daniel had never prayed, then God probably wouldn’t have revealed to him these prophecies.
I think the principle is clear. God rules in the heavens. At some point we all need this humbling realization. Even someone like the great Nebuchadnezzar would need to learn this. But in God’s rule, He also wants to do things on the earth that concern people. So he needs those like Daniel to see through the word what He desires to do, and then diligently pray for what God wants. I think this is the way God operates; He obviously has the power to carry out whatever He wants to do on earth, but as in the case with Daniel, He needs people to pray His will into being.
Another thing that Daniel saw was a vision in Chapter 7:13-14 of the Son of Man receiving dominion and a kingdom. That’s referring to Jesus who received His kingdom in Luke 19:12+15. But in the famous prayer in Matthew 6:10 “Your kingdom come, Your will be done” (which many of us have probably recited before not fully knowing the significance) the Lord Jesus is asking us to pray in such a way as to bring the Kingdom down. Not to wait for the kingdom, not to wait to go to heaven, but to pray the kingdom in.
He wants the kingdom (and outside of time has already received it), but He asked MAN to pray for His Kingdom to come. I think this is a Daniel moment here. We can see in the scriptures what God wants, just like Daniel did.
The Lord doesn’t just want people to attend services on Sundays or try to live a happy Christian life in name only. He wants His kingdom to come and be set up on earth. The heavens do rule. I believe that He wants His Church (whom He rules within in a hidden way) to pray His kingdom down and end this age. If people have gone so far as to believe in Jesus Christ and be born again, why would we cheat ourselves of a main reason that we got saved for, and cheat the Lord who wants His kingdom to come. We have to go on from our previous ways. God rules in the heavens but in order to carry out this rule on earth we have to give Him our co-operation in prayer specifically for the things that He wants to do on earth. Then He will do it.
(Post written by Robbie Dickinson, @havinglife | havinglife.wordpress.com)
Amen – praise the Lord, heavens rule.
Wow. Daniel prayed for God’s will, not his own. While he was in captivity all he wanted was God’s will to be done. May we all take the pattern of Daniel in our prayer life.
Amen, Robbie! You’re right! God does rule! Prayer is the key to God’s victory in our lives and the spread of his Word.
I read this post just after reading Matthew 21:21,22. Thanks for the additional insight to what I was thinking about. We must believe our prayers will be answered, but also focus our prayers on what will bring God glory.
Praise the Lord we have the prophetic word made more firm. May we give heed to what is spoken through Daniel and the prophets and at last in His Son Jesus Christ. His word is good for food.
That’s a good post.Thanks for sharing.
I want to be ruled by God. But to be ruled by God, there is the need to dive into the word. The Lord’s speaking will govern us, our daily living here on earth. ‘O Lord, reveal Yourself more into us everyday that Your speaking will be our prayer.’
May we all dive into His word and be open to His ruling us from within.