Introducing ‘the Gospel’ of Job

A Sermon by Brian Mann on Job 1:1-5

Introducing ‘the gospel’ of Job

Job 1:1–5

  1. Introduction
    Christopher Ash calls the book of Job, ‘The Wisdom of the Cross,’ In 1866, commentators Keil & Delitzsch wrote: “The real contents of the book of Job is the mystery of the Cross: the Cross on Golgotha is the solution of the enigma of every cross; and the book of Job is a prophecy of this ultimate solution.” But for there to be such an immense solution, there must be a very serious problem. We see this problem in what theologians call Theodicy. But most people just call it ‘the problem of evil and human suffering’. This problem began near the beginning of time as recorded in Genesis Chapter 3. In that chapter the first man and woman committed high treason against their Creator-King. As a result, the entire creation began to perish both spiritually and physically. Nevertheless, God their Creator-King immediately declared the solution to this theodicy would be the bringing forth and maturity of an offspring from the woman who would bruise Satan’s head.

The Book of Job is believed to be one of—if not the first book of the Bible ever written down. But even if that is not the case, the theolgoical solution met by teh first word of the Book of Job is striking. Job 1:1 begins in the Hebrew text with one simple word: ‘Man’. The ESV begins “There was a man…” The focus if read soon after Genesis 3:15 is that the prophesied redemption may be coming int he person of Job. Some even think Job’s name means ‘object of enmity’.1 This fits quite well with Genesis 3:15 which says, “I will put enmity between [the Serpent] and the woman and between [the Serpent’s] offspring and her offspring.” And it goes on to say, “[her offspring] shall bruise [the Serpent’s] head, and [the Serpent] shall bruise [the woman’s offspring’s] heel.” Any reading of the book fo Job would be expecting the Serpent-Bruiser to come. In Genesis 4:1, Eve’s hope appears in her voice as she exclaims “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” So we can already see how important the book of Job is in communicating the gospel. 

In fact, whole Book of Job is a sort of Gospel. The book of Job is a sort of gospel [or gospel-kind of book]:

  1. The first reason I believe the Book of Job is a sort of gospel is because the good news of the overall message of the book is this: “Genuine faith cannot be destroyed”2
    The Book of Job shows and testifies that Job is a genuine believer. God states this in Job 1:1, 1:8, 2:3. Master John Calvin proclaimed in the year 1554 these words about Job,

“The story written here shows us how we are in God’s hand, that it is he who orders our lives and disposes of them at his good pleasure, that our responsibility is to yield ourselves to him in all humility and obedience, that it is only right that we belong completely to him in both life and death.”

The Book of Job is good news supremely because it declares to us that in Christ we are completely His and that He is willing to go to any length to prove it! In other words, faith cannot be destroyed; and that is good news!

  1. The second reason I believe the Book of Job is a sort of gospel is because of the testimony of the Old Testament  was that Job was among three major foreshading gospel-like heroes.
    This is stated in Ezekiel 14:14 where Noah and Daniel are too mentioned as names which the Jews may be entrusted to provide deliverance for the people. So, it is clear that Job is not ‘the gospel’ but it is equally clear that it would be impossible to understand the full scope of the gospel without the book of Job.

By seeing only a part of a thing we are left vulnerable to bad interpretations and evil that results. In the English language this is called a half truth, which really means a 1ie. In Science this is called macroevolution where Darwin looked merely at parts of a species and determined that over long periods of time it is possible for one kind of animal can change into another. We can also see this by putting together a puzzle, the first rule is that you must have all of the pieces; Second, you must begin with the borders; third, you fill in the rest. 

But, let’s say you don’t have Job in your gospel understanding. Well, then you are missing a piece of God ordained beautific glorious material to see the light of the gospel of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We are laid open to the danger of getting it wrong or incomplete by not including the book of Job. And I am not talking about what we are prone to do by focus on the first and last chapters, but that we are missing something by not investigating the darker chapters. 

Job actually gives us a picture of what Job could not do, while at the same time helping us to see, smell, and taste the Lord’s goodness in Christ as experiences of Job mimics the suffering of our Savior Jesus Christ in both body and soul. In Job we see Christ in His sufferings in both body and soul in Gethsamane in his prayers, in Gabbatha in judgement by his supposed comfortors (see John 19:13), and on Golgotha where the world went dark for three hours at noonday, all can be understood better by knowing the whole of Job.

  1. The third reason I believe that Job is a sort of gospel is because of the New Testament witness to it being such.
     In James 5:11 The Holy Spirit says, “…You have heard of the steadfastness of job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” The chief purpose of the Gospel is to show us the glory of God. That is what Jesus came to do according to John 1:18 “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, He has made him known.” James says that Job’s account is both historical and reliable foc Christian porseverance because in it we get to see our Savior Jesus Christ. What need do we have for any more witnesses, save one, Job himself…
  2. The fourth reason I believe that Job is a sort of gospel is because of Job’s emphasis on heart religion ending the first five verses of the book.
    In particular, after Job is described as a genuine believer (v.1).3 This is true even though he is likely a descendant of Esau living during the times of the patriarchs prior to the law in the Edomite territory of Uz according to Lamentations 4:21. 

Moreover, Job had an ideal family by the standards of that time (v.2) and was being extremeley wealthy (v.3), and with children who pleasantly get along and gather (v.4),—in other words everything on the outside in the words of Christopher Ash, is a ‘Well-run Life’. Job demonstrates that there is a need for religion that goes beyond the skin and deep into the heart, and there is possibility for this grace to extend to those most hated of peoples like that of Esau’s line.

But, I think the stress on heart religion is even further proven by the last two verses of this section (vv.4–5) in particular v.5 which says, “For Job said, ” It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” (Job 1:5b) Literally as Calvin translates this vers at the end “…did not bless God in their hearts”, To not bless is equivalent to curse Him. “Now the point is that we must consider how we are to glorify God in the whole of our lives, for that is why we were crcated and why we live,” says Calvin.  Job demonstrated that though everything on the outside seemed altogether perfoct, that only atoning sacrifice stood any chance of doing the necessary work of inward righteousness that the outward works could never porform. 

Job demonstrates that there is a necessity of external or alien righteousness that must come from God alone by personal appropriation and faith in atoning blood. This sounds like gospel language, doesn’t it? In Ash’s words “There is something dark in human hearts, and Job knows it. Job knows that by nature we do not honor God as God or give thanks to him (cf. Romans 1:21). Only sacrifice can cover such sin in the heart.” 

This whole gospel or good news that one can be made right with God by sacrifice (ultimately the sacrifice of God’s only Son) runs counter to the sham-prosperity gospel. I mean that is what is illustrated in contrast here. Were it not for verses 4-5 we might be tempted to think of good news in terms of health and wealth, or when we have a good amount of that, perhaps feeling–fill me up gospel.4 But no. Job here saves us from such sham gospels. God tells us that Job is a genuine Christian before he loses everything, and afterwards as well

(Job 42; James 5:11)! We learn thus, that only grace that works in the heart can save a sinner. Man’s fundamental problem is, in the heart, and can only be solved by grace.

  1. Conclusion
    So we have thus seen that Job 1:1–5 and other references that Job is indeed a sort of gospel. Job is not the gospel, but Job foreshadows the gospel in a very necesssary way. 

(1) Genuine faith cannot be destroyed, God wi11 prove every believer to be a genuine believer. Although not likely at the extreme of Job, God will be glorified over the Satan and go to great lengths to show us who He truly is, and can save us fully. 

(2) Together with Daniel and Noah, Job serves a necessary part of our understanding on the gospel; 

(3) We learn by considering  James 5:11 that Job serves to show us God in the Old Testament, similar to how Jesus showed us God more fully in the New Testament; 

(4) Job’s demonstration of the need for sacrifice for not hitting the mark of God’s glory! 

It is good news that the Jesus is foreshadowed in the book of Job. God has saw fit to give us a much needed testimony for our souls. Let us then pray that God may grant us to grow in His grace by if it pleases him continuing on next week in the same manner. God be praised in Christ and in His Church forever, amen.

Photo: Gilbert Lennox

Final Hopes for Persevering to the End

A Sermon by Brian Mann on Daniel 12:1-13

Notes

Daniel 12:1–13

  1. Introduction
    Read 1 Peter 1:10–12

Daniel 1–6 is about being faithful in light of God’s sovereignty; Daniel 7–12 are about trusting God in spite of things you can’t understand. Chapter 12 in particular brings both together in summary. The first four verses are about hopes that you can be sure of; the last nine verses are about trusting God in areas that you can’t understand completely. These all form a single message that God will bless His people who persevere. God will bless those who by clinging to final hopes and letting go of certain mysteries persevere in Him.

  1. If we are going to persevere to the end, we must cling to these final hopes (1–4). #FinalGlories
    These final hopes may be called final glories. They are certain truths that are main and plain in the Scriptures and are certain to come to pass. They must be our concern if we are to persevere and be blessed by God in the end. Do not forget the context is “at that time” What time? The time of the worst persecution known to man. If it is true here, then these things will be true now in less perilous times.

    1. The elect will be saved (1). #Election
      God is going to save his people, every one of them. In Daniel 3:29 and in Daniel 6:27 the kings proclaimed it; the first after three went into a fiery furnace; and the second after Daniel representative of God’s people, went into a lion’s den. There will be no angel, demon, or any other thing that will be able to keep God’s people from being saved (Romans 8:33). Who can bring an effective charge against God’s elect—none. So, Daniel writes that just as Israel has a registry of names on earth in their genealogical fashion (Numbers 1:18), God has a registry in heaven with even greater certainty. Perhaps this is what upset God so about David numbering Israel; perhaps because it is a clear truth to be believed more than one to try to assess ourselves. How do you know you are elect? If you believe and persevere in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ to the end, then you are elect. And the elect, according to Daniel’s words here, which is the Word of God, will all be saved. The doctrine of election has prime place in our perseverance.
    2. Everyone will be raised: Life goes on in either heaven or hell (2). #Resurrection
      There is a resurrection for both the saved and the lost. Everyone goes on to live somewhere. This is a glorious thing. We can’t say its just for the elect. God’s elect will go on living in heaven or a new earth. God’s enemies will go on living in hell. Biblical scholars like John Stott came to believe in the annihilation of the wicked contra this text. It was believed by him in his latter years out of pure emotionalism. But the latter supports the former. The judgment of the damned only gives glory to the reward of the righteous. Without the dark side of the matter if you will, you cannot so much as appreciate the equal fact of the glorious bright side of things. At least that is the way Daniel put it here. He did not speak in terms of only the righteous dead being raised and blessed.  But it is the fact of both being raised, one blessed and the others cursed that are required in our thinking here. The doctrine of an ongoing life in heaven or hell has prime place in our perseverance.
    3. Your sanctification will be complete if your sanctification has begun in this life (3). #FinalSanctification
      I lament that this verse is used to speak of evangelism by great commission institutions where there purpose statement has usurped the meaning of Scripture. It is so easy to let our personal vision to dictate a text, but it should be God’s vision by His Spirit. Now to be sure the righteous are described as evangelistic in this verse “those who turn many to righteousness” but they are also described as “wise.” I think it is hardly what some call soul winning today. The truth is that soul winning is persuading any soul, lost or saved to turn to God in repentance. We win souls when we speak to men’s hearts by the gospel of grace. I pray that is what happens in this point; because the point here is that believers who have had sanctification begin in this life will enjoy its completeness in the next! The emphasis is not on who they are, but what they can hope to become here based on who they already are. It is not a call to become evangelistic, that is too little, that is who they already are. Don’t you see what God is saying here is that you are going to become vastly more of what you are already here on earth as His people. The doctrine of sanctification has prime place in our perseverance.
    4. Believers, you will receive all of the information you need to persevere, that you could not obtain on your own (4). #GraciousInformation
      This verse quotes Amos 8:12 [read]. The idea is that there will be people in the last days going to look for God’s word and gospel like it is obtainable through a google search, but it will not be found by them. The gospel does not come at the demands of people, it comes at the supernatural movement of God in a person’s heart and life when he or she hears the Word proclaimed among the people of God. Similarly Matthew Anderson writes: ““Searching for information on the Internet is easy; pursuing understanding is hard. The former meets a felt need quickly and without effort. But the latter enables us to live well and flows from our living well. Google may solve a gap in our information, but the question of how we shall live, of what sort of friends we should seek, whether we should give our money to a charity in Africa or to the homeless man on the street—those are questions that will seize our attention when we place ourselves in environments where they arise.” Most American Christians think they can set the terms on salvation, and get saved when they want where they want, but God has ordained the church as the pillar and buttress of truth. The last days will be characterized by people seeking to find the Word on their terms, but they will not find it. Be sure you find it now on God’s terms. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit & the Church has prime place in our perseverance.

That is the only way you and me are going to persevere to the end, by holding to the glory of God’s salvation of the elect, the resurrection of the dead, final sanctification for all who experience it first here, and the undeserved gift of salvation on God’s terms. In other words, the doctrines of election, heaven & hell (including the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead), sanctification, the Holy Spirit & the Church, all have prime place in our perseverance in the last days. Moreover….

  1. If we are going to persevere to the end, we must let go of certain mysteries (5–13). #EnigmaticMysteries
    Twice Daniel is told here to “Go [his] way” meaning, “Get on with your life Daniel!”

    1. We must not be concerned with the time of the end, but that there is a definite end (5–7). #NotTiming BUT #TheEndsExistence
      God tells us here simply that things will end at the right time, and in the right way. There is gravity, certainty, and mystery here. The 3 1/2 year period mentioned here is likely not to be used to pinpoint exact time, but is rather here enigmatic for God setting a limit on the anguish. As Sidney Greidanus says of this text: “God will not let it go one day longer than prescribed”! We can take comfort in the limits described by our Lord in Matthew 24:21–22 [read].
    2. We must not be concerned with being eschatological experts but with spiritual growth (8–10). #NotEndTimes BUT #SpiritualGrowth
      The wise will make themselves concerned with holiness, the wicked will get consumed with the planet and other things; they will build their houses on sand, God’s people on the Rock, all on the account of God’s grace!
    3. We must not be concerned with our time of final retirement, but simply that it will certainly come when it is best (1290 days) so be patient a little longer (1335 days) because that is what we all need to do (11–13). #NotWhenCanWeRetire BUT #SupernaturalPatience
      Alistair Begg says, “Being a man of faith doesn’t mean we understand everything. So beware of people who understand everything. Especially when it comes to these things….But the fact that we don’t understand anything, doesn’t mean we can’t understand anything. But the life faith in Daniel’s case is lived inevitably in the realm of unanswered questions. Otherwise it wouldn’t be the life of faith, would it?…so the life of faith is lived in the realm of unanswered questions.”

    

These are things you don’t need to understand Daniel. These are things that we don’t need to understand. You just need to know that I understand, teaches the Lord. Daniel, your old now, keep doing what you are doing, “get on with your life!”, you are going to die, but death won’t be the end, keep believing the glories of vv.1–4 (The doctrines of election, heaven & hell, sanctification, the Holy Spirit & the Church) and go on with your life accepting the enigmatic mysteries of vv.5–13; Remember: God will bless those who by clinging to final hopes and letting go of certain mysteries persevere in Him.

And He has blessed this pastor. Thanks be to God for enabling me to preach through an otherwise daunting book. He has been gloriously faithful to me and to His whole church. Amen.

The Necessity of Evil in the Scope of God’s Glory

A Sermon by Brian Mann on Daniel 11:1-45

Photo Credit: Gilbert Lennox

The Necessity of Evil in the Scope of God’s Glory

[I.e. The Necessity of Evil Kingdoms in the Full Scope of the Glory of God]

Daniel 11:1–45

  1. Introduction – A Difficult Chapter to Understand, but That is the Point.
    I heard a sermon this week where the statement was that God is in control of evil. God is glorified by evil in the world in how he overcomes it. If evil did not exist, God would not be as glorified (John MacArthur). Job 38 gives illustration of this where Job is shown to be ridiculous in seeking the Creator to answer to him the creation. So, God answers him in the form of rapid fire questions, helping Job finally “see” that God actually knows what He is doing. We may wish that evil did not exist, but before we do, we need to understand why evil must exist for the glory of God. Evil exists so that God will be ultimately glorified by all people and things for defeating evil.  God is all wise over Satan, Plagues, False gods, Pharaoh, Judas, and Antichrist, and any other evil in permitting their existance for His glory in overcoming them all. And He is sovereign in appointing kingdoms both good and evil for the good of His people and the glory of His Name forever. 

     Daniel 11 falls within the second half of Daniel which has as its purpose to encourage the exiles of that time to trust in God in spite of their lack of understanding. If there is anything that would give them “lack of understanding” it would be what is contained written in Daniel 11, at least the activities of this chapter. 

     Foremost, what would cause the exiles to not understand is the fact that these things haven’t yet happened yet (for the exiles), and we understand things much better after they happen. So, all that is written in this text is speaking of the future. As Sinclair Ferguson plainly says of this chapter: “What is at stake then is a vital issue: Does God so rule history and can He so communicate with us that His future purposes may be disclosed to us before the events?” So, its really difficult to understand things that haven’t happened yet.

     But, what it isn’t just hard to understand for the exiles before these things happened. It is difficult for us to understand accepting that historically many of these things did happen before we were born. And the reason they are difficult to understand is because they happened before we were born and we are relying on history books to tell us these things happened. It is different from the gospel in that the gospel is written to have happened before we were born but it is also explained in the same inspired book. But when dealing with history outside of the Bible, we are dealt with some inability to piece together everything with perfect accuracy, making it very difficult to understand.

    Another thing that makes it hard to understand is that not all of the things recorded in chapter 11 appear to have happened even yet! Conservative scholars largely agree that vv.36–45 are speaking of the antiChrist a culmniation of the evil that existed in the rulers and kingdoms of many including Antiochus Ephiphanes, the Grecian leader, taking place in a figure predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4 and Revelation 13:5–8. For example, the ESV Study Bible makes this note: 

“One striking difference between Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the Antichrist lies in the events surrounding the king’s death, which do not fit what is known of the death of Antiochus IV. He met his end during a relatively minor campaign against Persia in 164 B.C., not between the sea and Jerusalem after a grand and successful assault on Egypt. When compared to the precision of fulfillment of the previous verses of ch. 11, these verses may be looking for a greater fulfillment that is yet to come at the time of the end. 


So, there are all of these unknowns, and that is the point. The point is that when we lack understanding of events past, present, and future we must trust that God is in control of evil as well as good. Or to put it another way, as much as evil appears to be in control, God is glorified by how he overcomes [mystifying, inscrutable, inconceivable, unfathomable, undescipherable, bewildering, baffling] evil in all places and for all times. Satan knows and believes this truth, but it must be more for you. James tells me that Satan believes the things I am going to preach today, but he does not delight in it, nor does He trust in Jesus. So, I am adding these words to preface the point: Let us delight in God, for…

  1. Let us delight in God, for God is glorified by how he overcomes inscrutable evil among the nations in biblical times (1–20).
    The first twenty verses covers rule over Medo-Persia (1–2a), Greece (2b–4), Egypt (5–12), and Syria (13–20) (Akin). These twenty verses cover a period of over 355 years (Begg). It is a huge period of time in comparison with vv.21–35 which follow. Nevertheless among this large period of time, kingdoms come and go, different one’s arise (E.g. vv.19–20) but every one of them fails (E.g. Dan 11:4, 14, 17, 19, 20). What is conspicious about this period of time is that “the glorious land” understood as Jerusalem, Israel, the Land of God’s people is ultimately unable to be taken (Dan 11:17).

It helps at times in viewing the history of the world to get a bigger picture rather than a smaller one. It is easy to misjudge many things like global warming by looking merely at a small period of time. Some scientiests have spoken out of knowing too little, instead of too much. In the same way, historians do very little good when they do not see the big picture.

We need a big picture view of kingdoms coming and going to see how futile they are. Whether it be the Chinese dynasty, Brittain, or America, these are all temporary in the whole of history. Kingdoms come and go. There is futility and tansience in every Kingdom except the Lord’s final Kingdom. Today’s superpower will be tomorrow’s history lesson in the bigger picture. God is still in control. That is what is being said here.

  1. Let us delight in God, for God is glorified by how he overcomes inscrutable evil among the people of God in a certain time (21–35) EMPHASIS.
    In these fifteen verses, twelve years are covered. Alistair Begg notes that this is significant because not having highlighters or ways to bold the text, slowing down here means emphasis. We know this section is about God’s people because “the holy covenant” is mentioned repeatedly in this text (28, 30, 32). Conspiciously, God’s people have “understanding” enough of their Lord to be strong, take action, and instruct others in spite of what comes against them (Dan 11:32–33. And even those who get caught up in the matter, will stumble only “so that they may be refined, purifed, and made white” (35). In other words, God is even in control of the evil that comes against His people, and it will not break them, but it will make them!

Much can and will be done against God’s people (36), but what God does in this emphatic portion of the text, is to show us that all that is done against God’s people will serve to make God’s people distinct from the world, and like His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28–40).

  1. Let us delight in God, for God is glorified by how he overcomes inscrutable evil in the world finally and forever (36–45).
    V.36 continues the section with a new period of time. In fact, the KJV translates the word “And” in the ESV as “Then.” No matter, the text reaches backward to Daniel 11:31 and forward into the future (cf. Christ’s use of this verse in Mark 13:14). Many of the items are indeed fulfilled by a figure in history called Antiochus Ephiphanes, however, not all. One has said even the words in v.37 concerning paying no attention “to the one beloved by women” may indicate a rebellion against gender distinction. Nevertheless, there is likely more to the story than what happened in the history of Israel. This we can disagree about, however, the main point we cannot, namely that the Lord is going to bring judgment upon the enmey of God’s people at the end. This agrees with 2 Thess 2:8 [read]. Even Jonathan Edwards who saw Antiochus as fulfillment of this text says, “After his (Antichus’s] death, there were attempts still to destroy the church; but God baffled them all.” So, I am satisifed with saying that the text here is likely referring to a final figure in history, but even if not, it points to a final end where though all the kingdoms of the world baffle the minds of the people of God, God Himself will see to it that the enemies of the church will fail. And we can take heart with Paul’s words that stem back to Genesis 3:15 as quoted from Romans 16:20 [read]. Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ! Lord we pray according to the sixth petition as taught in the shorter catechism on the model prayer: 

“106. What do we pray for in the sixth petition? WSC 106

 

In the sixth petition, which is, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” we pray, That God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support and deliver us when we are tempted. ”

And this all for the glory of God. Amen.

Abiding in the Love of God When Delayed in Understanding

A Sermon by Brian Mann on Daniel 10:1-21

Image Credit: Gilbert Lennox

Abiding in the Love of God When Delayed in Understanding

Daniel 10:1–21

  1. Introduction
    When we pray we can be certain things are happening, and God’s will, will be accomplished. Because he loves us before we ever pray.

This assumes we understand that prayer is essential, not merely important.1 This assumes we understand and accept what we learned already from Daniel 9 about prayer, i.e. Daniel read Jeremiah, saw what was decreed, prayed accordingly; this is the pattern of those throughout the Bible and the way God has ordained for his will to be accomplished through people praying; this all for His Glory.

Daniel 10:1 summarizes what happens in this chapter, Daniel comes to understand God’s love for him and why answer to his prayer was seemingly delayed.

  1. First, We abide in the love of God when we trust that answer to prayer is not delayed because we are not sad enough (2–3)
    Daniel mourns for three weeks (2) he changes his diet (3) and did not care for his bodily appearance (3). Emphasis is on the time this took place, a full three weeks (3). There was no contesting that Daniel was sad. Why was he sad? It was likely over the sin of the exiles. Ezra shared this pain in Ezra 10:6; Nehemiah in Nehemiah 1:4. Though there were faithful ones like Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah rightly burdened by the sin of the exiles, their sadness could not change things. 

Daniel would have been sad because in truth many of the exiles became quite comfortable in Babylon. I mean think about the narratives we have already read concerning the three who would not bow. Why were there not more? because they were bowing.  Old Testament scholar Motyer says that the exiles that did return were few in number. This too is an indication that Babylon became too much home to them. Daniel was deeply saddened by the sinfulness of the exiles. God did not delay answering Daniel’s prayer because he did not mourn enough. It is clear that he was quite good at being sad here.

Pagans like the prophets of Baal used tactics of getting their god to notice them by their hurting themselves. This is not the way with God. God loves his children before they ever pray. And God is working the moment His children pray to him. God will answer all of our prayers that are prayed according to His will. Sadness will not bring that about, sovereignty and love and power will.

In fact, there is nothing in man that will bring about any reason for God to answer prayer. God answers prayer on the basis of His Son Jesus Christ who died for sinners, enemies, rebels while they were still in that state. So, our sadness, no matter how sad can’t be a cause for answered prayer or quickness in bringing it. 

It is amazingly good news that God does not hear our prayers based on anything but our trust and delight in Jesus Christ.

  1. Second, We abide in the love of God when we trust that answer to prayer is not delayed because Christ is not powerful enough (4–9).
    This vision of this man is clearly the Lord Jesus Christ. Jonathan Edwards comments “Comparing this vision with that of the apostle John in the 1st chapter of Revelation, makes it manifest that this person was Christ.” Bryan Chappell writes, “Who is being described? Clearly this is the Christ, the anointed Son of Man, who represents the glory and purpose of God. There are many intentional reflections between the chief figures in these chapters of Daniel and Revelation. The men described in both are clothed in white robes—priestly garments; both have a gold belt—kingly apparel. Both have blazing eyes, both have bronze skin, both have roaring voices—all supernatural traits. In Revelation, the one described holds seven stars in his hand and his face blazes like the sun. Perhaps that explains why the appearance of the man in linen to Daniel makes the prophet faint dead away and causes his friends to run away. The one who comes as a spokesman for God is most readily understood as the Son of God, the Second Person of the Godhead who made the heavens and earth.” 

The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:5–9. Look no further thank Christ to know the sure and powerful love of God!  Remember that people were impatient with God then, when some cried for him to save himself; for him to come down from the cross. He didn’t stay there because he was powerless, but because he was powerful. That was what the testimony of the Centurion revealed. Surely this man must be the Son of God! It was like he was completely in control! (was the idea) Because He was. 

Oh, dear believer, do not doubt God’s love when prayers seem unanswered, when you have a Savior who has shown you what real power is! No, delay to prayers according to God’s will are not because we need to get sadder, nor because God is not powerful enough to do something about it, rather…

  1. Third, We abide in the love of God when we trust that answer to prayer is delayed because of decreed spiritual battles (10–21).
    In these verses there is revealed to us like to that of Job that there is a reason for our sufferings that is beyond our control, but not beyond God’s attention. The angel makes it clear that the cause of delay was spiritual battle among angels and demons. The Life Application Study Bible sums it up well saying, “The heavenly warfare was to be directed against Persia and then Greece. Each of these nations was to have power over God’s people. Both Persia and Greece were represented by evil “spirit princes,” or demons. But God is in control of the past, present, and future, and he has all events recorded in his “Book of Truth.””  

Piper teaches that this text does not teach us to pray about angels, but this text does teach us to take the battle in the heavens seriously. New Testament believers are shown this is in agreement with Ephesians 6:12 and the book of Jude to just name two places. The very purpose of the church is perhaps my favorite place to go to prove this point: Ephesians 3:10 read.

The reality of spiritual battle that we cannot see explains delays to our pleas to God in heaven. Thus, God makes sure we know that it does not take three weeks of fasting to earn his love, but that he loves us eternally, and the moment we ask of him anything according to His will, he hears us. We can trust that though his plans can be delayed, they can never be ultimately thwarted or destroyed, for they are written in the book of Truth. His love is strong and sure and powerful.

The reason for delayed answer to prayer according to God’s will is due to spiritual battles that have been decreed in the book of truth.

  1. Conclusion
    Thus, God’s people can understand and be sure that they are loved when there is a delay in answered prayer according to God’s will. It doesn’t mean that we don’t pray, but rather that because prayer is essential we see that God acts the moment we do pray according to His will. It means that when we do pray and prayers go seemingly unanswered, it is not because we aren’t sad enough, nor because God is not powerful enough, but rather because battles have been decreed in the book of truth. Even so, we can be sure that as we pray for God’s will to be done as we read and understand His will in the Bible, we will grow more and more in our understanding of His love for us as we trust Him with the things we temporarily cannot understand or see.

 

 

 

 

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