“the Most High God is sovereign over all.”Daniel 5:21, NIV
Have you ever left God out? I have. Let me explain my most recent revelation of how I might be leaving God out.
When I begin studying a book of the Bible, I try to read it through at least once. Two or three times is even better, though I admit I rarely meet that standard. And when I do this reading, I try to make sure it’s just reading. This is not the time for stopping and studying an individual verse. I’m trying to get the big picture of what the author is saying. This is really hard for me. I tend to be brought up short by an idea and want to delve into it further. I have to discipline myself to save that for later. I have to work to make sure I don’t miss the forest because I’m focusing too much on the individual trees.
After I read through the book, I like to go back and pick out some basic facts: Who’s the author? Who are the main characters? What’s the where and when of the events in this book? What’s the main theme?
Last year I decided I’d been spending a lot of time in the New Testament. Wasn’t it time for me to study more of the Old Testament? God led me to the book of Daniel. Following my pattern, I took time on my second day of study to note the main characters in the book.
- For this book, there was Daniel, of course.
- And who could forget Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—well-known from that children’s Sunday School song.
- We surely must include King Nebuchadnezzar, who plays such an important part in the story.
- We also read of other kings: Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus. I jotted down their names and noted some information about each.
That gave me a good start . . . or so I thought.
Then, on day 3, I reviewed my notes from the previous day’s study, and I was shocked to discover one major participant missing from my list. I’d left out God!
How could I have done that?
It was God who delivered Judah into the hands of the king of Babylon and
allowed him to take captives, including Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Da. 1:2).
It was God who caused the official overseeing the captives to “show favor and
compassion to Daniel” (Da. 1:9).
It was God who, though He had allowed them to become captives, continued to work in the lives of these four young men: “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning” (Da. 1:17).
That’s what we see of God’s involvement in just the first chapter of Daniel! How could I have missed it? How could I have missed Him? The entire book of Daniel is focused on the truth that “the Lord Most High is sovereign over all” (Da. 5:21).
How often have I forgotten that God is sovereign over my life too? How often have I left God out of my life?
That’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about at the beginning of this new year. The Lord God is sovereign over all. He is sovereign over me. Am I letting Him rule? Am I letting Him have His way?
It’s not so much that I’m in open rebellion to Him and His plan for me. It’s more that—and I’m ashamed to admit this—it’s that I often don’t even consider Him: as I choose my priorities, as I plan my day, my week, my life… Without thinking, I leave God out. I haven’t locked the door on God . . . but, then, I haven’t always opened it wide either, inviting Him in, each day, each activity, each meeting . . .
So, I thank God for leading me to a part of His Word that I might not on my own have chosen to study. And, painful though the realization was, I thank Him for showing me an area where I have fallen far short. I thank Him because now that I know my weakness in this area, I can confess my sin, receive forgiveness, and secure His help in keeping Him in, in continually acknowledging that He is sovereign over not just kingdoms, but over me.
· The new year is as good a time as any to remind ourselves that God is sovereign over all: kingdoms, governments, leaders, the weather…Me. You.
· Why not use this truth to fuel your prayers: for your own life, for the lives of your loved ones, for our church leaders, and for those in government?
· How can you use this truth as you plan your priorities for this year and for this day?
· How do you keep God in focus in the daily routine of life? Let us know in the Comments.