As you think through the last month and year, I wonder if you feel like it's just not been that great!
It's important to have a similar perspective as we continue in our new series in the book of Daniel. It's not been a great few years for Daniel or for the Israelites either.
Jerusalem, the city of God: invaded.
Followed by: National humiliation - anyone who is anyone ends up being deported to Babylon.
The temple of God is sacked and its contents end up in the treasure house of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon and the most powerful man in the ancient near eastern world.
As our book begins then, it seems that not simply has a nation failed, their God seems to have failed too. If he has let all of this happen, disaster upon disaster, he can't be much of a God, can he?
It's a long reading today, but take time to read the account before moving on.
Read: Daniel 2
The King has a dream, so he calls for his advisors. Just the one problem, he's not letting them in on the dream. He's asking for something impossible! So, they stall for time.
O King if you’ve dreamed you’re falling, or have forgotten to revise for an exam the next day, or have found yourself in an out of control chariot with no brakes, we can look these things up for you in our manuals O King and tell you what they mean.
But Nebuchadnezzar is having none of it.
And so they summarise the situation in verse 10,
“There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans.”
Daniel and his friends have been carted off to Babylon. It seems that everything has gone wrong for them. The big question at the beginning of the book is that it seems their God has also failed them. How and why would they continue to live for his God...when he doesn't seem able to do anything for them?
Only as they come to see that all other 'gods' are no gods at all.
They’ve come to Babylon, they’re learning about the gods of Babylon, but when the going gets tough, those in charge of the university admit that it’s all a sham. Their gods are good for nothing, there’s no point enquiring of them.
For us, today, my question is - what is it that, should it already have gone wrong for YOU in 2016 or were it to go wrong for you in 2017, would cause you to drift away from wholehearted worship of the one true God? What 'disaster' would tempt you to think - surely my God has failed?
We must continue to remind ourselves that by nature we worship and we can be quick to substitute worship of God for worship of other things.
If a human relationship becomes your god, your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend will always be a disappointment to you. You will find yourself longing for another.
If happiness becomes your god, you will sacrifice at it’s altar and try to fit God in around the periphery.
If comfort becomes your god you will never experience the sort of life that God desires for you Because comfort has become important to you than sacrifice.
We must remember this: all other gods are no gods at all. The empty promises of love, money and power will always let you down.