Study 4 THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN
STUDIES IN THE LIFE OF DANIEL
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portions: Psalm 91; Hebrews 1:1-14)
The six words of this title are found in Daniel 2:28. Daniel was addressing King Nebuchadnezzar and emphasising the fact that there are certain things man cannot do, and then he said, “But…there is a God in heaven…” These words constitute one of the key-phrases of his prophecy and, incidentally, if any so-called atheist or agnostic should read these lines let him read the book of Daniel, the Gospel of John and then Hebrews 1:1-2, for this surely is a prescription for the banishment of atheism, agnosticism and infidelity.
How are we so sure there is a God in heaven – and what is He like? For a full answer we must turn to the whole Bible, but we will confine ourselves in this study to the Book of Daniel.
1. THE GOD WHO IS IN HEAVEN IS A GOD WHO IS SOVEREIGN IN THE LIVES OF MEN AND OF NATIONS
This is the thing which impresses us most when we read this book: that God is high over all, all-powerful, active and has the last word in “the affairs of men”, nations and in the lives of His own children. This is aptly summed up in Daniel 4:25 The Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men. Consider these weighty words by J.N. Darby:
God’s ways are behind the scenes: but He moves all the scenes which He is behind. We have to learn this and let Him work and not think much of man’s busy movements: they will accomplish God’s. The rest of them all perish and disappear…
See this truth emphasised in the following: Daniel 1:1,2,9; 2:20,21,36-38; 4:1-3; 5:17-21 (notice the “but” in verse 20). The most comforting truth of all is that God is sovereign in the lives of His own people – see Romans 8:28.
2. THE GOD WHO IS IN HEAVEN IS A GOD WHO REVEALS HIMSELF AND HIS WAYS TO THOSE WHO SEEK AND SERVE HIM
This truth is illustrated in the experience of Daniel and his friends. Look up Daniel 1:17; 2:16-18,22-23,27-28. Here we discover that God often revealed Himself and His truth to His servant, and from this fact we learn three things:
- In ourselves and of ourselves we are completely in the dark about God, His ways and His will, nor can we by our own searching discover Him. Look up and compare Job 11:7; Jeremiah 10:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14.
- God, in His infinite mercy, reveals Himself to men and women, and unless He does so they can never find or know Him or His will. It was God who sought Adam (Genesis 3:9), the Shepherd who sought the sheep, the woman who sought the silver and the Father who was on the lookout for the returning son (Luke 15). Read Acts chapters 8-10, and see God at work behind each of the three conversion stories recorded there.
- The supreme revelation of God has been made in Christ, who is God manifest in the flesh.Look up John 1:1-3,14.
3. THE GOD WHO IS IN HEAVEN IS A GOD WHO HEARS AND ANSWERS THE PRAYERS OF THOSE WHO CALL UPON HIM IN SINCERITY
Anyone wanting practical instruction and inspiration upon the subject of prayer should read the Book of Daniel to discover the power, the possibilities and the procedure of prayer. This book is an inspired compendium on prayer; it is full of illustrations of what prayer can do and of God’s willingness to hear and answer the prayers of His people.
Chapter 1: we read of Daniel’s testing and of his firm purpose to be true to the Lord. What did he do? He prayed – and God answered his prayer.
Chapter 2: we read of the king’s dream, his request to Daniel to tell him the contents and the interpretation of the dream. What did Daniel do? He prayed – and God answered his prayer.
Chapter 3: we read of his friends in the fiery furnace. What did they do? They prayed – and God answered their prayers.
Chapters 4 and 5: We read of more answers to prayer.
Chapter 6: Daniel was cast into the lion’s den; but God was listening and answered the prayers of His servant.
So we might go on through the Book of Daniel and the whole Bible, and through the experience of God’s people down the ages. Our God is a God who delights to hear and answer the prayers of His people. Look up Jeremiah 33:3; Matthew 6:6; 18:19; Mark 11:24; John 14:13-14; James 5:16.
4. THE GOD WHO IS IN HEAVEN IS A GOD WHO ALWAYS HONOURS THOSE WHO SEEK TO HONOUR HIM
Have you noticed 1 Samuel 2:30? In chapter 1, when Daniel sought to honour God, did He honour him? In chapter 2, as he and his friends sought to honour the Lord, did He honour them? In chapter 3, as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego sought to honour the Lord, did He honour them? In chapter 6, as Daniel sought to honour his Lord, did the God of Heaven honour him? If we stand firm for the Lord, He may lead us along a hard pathway which involves suffering, but He will always honour us if we seek to honour Him – look up Matthew 6:33; John 16:33 – and compare Proverbs 16:7.
5. THE GOD WHO IS IN HEAVEN IS A GOD WHO SUSTAINS HIS PEOPLE IN TIMES OF FIERCE TRIAL AND TESTING
Daniel’s long life was filled with terrific testings and trials – but did the Lord sustain him through them all? The answer is an unqualified “Yes!” What does the Lord, the God of Heaven, give to His children at all times, especially when they are tested and tried? He gives to them the special realisation of:
- His presence. Read again Daniel 3:22-25, and compare Hebrews 13:5-6.
- His protection. Read again Daniel 6:18-23. Does God use angels today? Read Psalm 91:1-12, and compare Hebrews 1:13-14.
- His peace. The Lord never promises us deliverance from trouble, but He guarantees that we may have peace in the midst of trouble if we will put our whole trust in Him – Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:6-7.
“There is a God in heaven” – a great, a holy and loving God. In this study we have caught only a glimpse of Him. We have said little about His holiness, His mercy, His saving grace, His glorious Son, His Holy Spirit. As you conclude this study answer this question: Is this God your God – John 20:28?