There Is No Authority Except That Which Is Established By God
19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
Have you ever had a mystery in your life that neither you nor no one else could figure out? Daniel was in that exact same place. The king had asked a question of the wise men of his time that no one had ever asked before – to rightly divine what the king’s dream had been, and its proper interpretation. In previous times, the king would reveal the dream and ask for the interpretation. However, being clever, the king asked the wise men not only the interpretation to the dream, but also the dream itself. For only the truly wise person would be able to divine both the interpretation as well as the dream.
The Lord God Almighty knows all things. What is done in darkness is as clear as light to Him. He is omniscient – knowing all things. Nothing is withheld from God. In order for God to be sovereign over all of creation, He would need to know everything that was going on in creation all of the time. And this time was no exception. When Daniel and his three friends prayed to the One who knows all things, God was faithful and provided the knowledge to Daniel, His chosen instrument, to deliver the message to the king.
Daniel then prayed a prayer that glorified God and reveals some interesting aspects of the character of God. Daniel rightly proclaims that it is God who removes people from positions of authority. While the reasons for this are the purview of God for His plan, this revelation should give us hope and assurance.
When faced with unholy rulers who oppress people rather than serving them in submission to the Lord God Almighty, those who are faithful to God should bend their knees in fervent prayer that God would remove such a one from office. When the true disciples of God cry out for justice and Godly leadership over them, repenting of their sins and the sins of their nation, turning their faces back towards God and away from sin (in that order), humbling themselves in prayer and fasting, God will hear their prayers and heal their land.
It is God and God alone that places leaders in their positions of power. For God and God alone has all authority, and He delegates that authority to whomever He chooses. For some, He delegates it in righteousness for His glory. For others, He delegates it to bring about the discipline of His people.
Habakkuk, in an apparent prayer of despair, cried out to God in an attempt to understand why the righteous were held back, and the wicked prospered on Earth. God said to Habakkuk,
See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright — but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness
We must remember that it is God’s purview and His alone that allows the wicked to prosper and to be in leadership over others. While we have every obligation to ensure that we are living righteously and living in a just manner before God, it is God and God alone who will raise up leaders and lay them low. This is a divine attribute of God, that He and He alone has all authority and can do with it what He wants for His purposes.
Since God is all-knowing, it is God’s responsibility to provide that knowledge to others. Many try to seek wisdom and knowledge through other channels, such as divination (tarot cards, Ouija boards, palm reading, tea leaves, and any number of other methods including seeking out those who traffic with Demonic beings. Any method of revelation of true hidden knowledge is through God and God alone. Others may guess at the nature of truth, but only God knows it for sure.
The sad aspect of the seeking of wisdom and knowledge outside of God is that these methods lead a person down a very dark path away from God. Whether it be Saul and the medium of Endor trying to (and from what scripture says, apparently successfully at the attempt) channel the spirit of Samuel from the dead, or others who traffic in demons, any attempt at divination is evil and hated by God.
When someone goes to a real medium (a person who is being imparted with knowledge from demonic beings impersonating the dearly departed), they may get some real information that no one else could possibly know because no other human being was present. However angels and demons are among us. And they communicate with each other. The knowledge that you get may have just enough truth in it to hook you into believing that the person you consulted really does know the future. Once a person is hooked, they will depend more and more upon the medium or method of divination rather than depending upon God for knowledge and assistance. Our God is a jealous God, and will not allow us to serve two masters. Free will has been given to us, and we can choose whom we will serve. We can choose to serve God, or serve anyone or anything else. The choice is ours. And every choice has its consequences.
The one who goes to a medium to see if they got the job after the interview may very well be told the truth. A demon may have been present when the HR official authorized the paperwork or verbally approved the hiring. Perhaps there is something that only the mark knows (the person seeking information from mediums) that is told to the mark. After all, if no other human being had been present, how could this medium know the truth of the situation (such as where the serial killer buries the bodies or disposes of them, etc.)?
For the spiritual safety of God’s people, God and God alone should be consulted for wisdom and truth. If it is to the glory of God that it not be revealed, so be it. If we need to wait upon God’s timing for it, so be it. It is the impatience of man that leads us to seek knowledge and wisdom apart from God and His word. If you are ever presented with that temptation, remember what happened to king Saul because of his impatience with God’s timing (offering up the burnt offering to God, and seeking out the medium of Endor).
Daniel welcomed the wisdom that God had provided, as should we. Regardless of the word of knowledge that we are given by God, we should treasure it and act upon it, for God has seen fit to provide us with understanding and wisdom. God loves it when we move in obedience to His revealed word.
And when we have received the answer to our prayer, we should praise the Lord God Almighty for what He has done. God is worthy of all praise, honor, glory, power, strength, and dominion. Let us give great praise to the One who provides for our every need, and gives us that which we have requested.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I able to be content when waiting for God to act upon my requests (especially with the outcomes of who is in authority over the nation I live in)?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You have revealed Yourself to us through Your Son, Jesus Christ. You have given us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and to lead us into the way everlasting. Give me patience this day as I wait for You to act, and help me to be content with the outcome that You have decreed. Regardless of my circumstances, help me to never take my eyes off of You. Grant me peace in my heart, and bring me around to Your way of thinking so that I can be better prepared when difficulties occur in my life. Help me to live by faith and faith alone in You when You send wicked rulers to be over us, and help me to rejoice when You relent and send leaders that will follow You to be over us. This I ask in the glorious name of Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?