Our Lord God is in full control of everything. There is nothing that takes place without His full knowledge. He causes the good and the bad. He rescues and He punishes. He feeds men and makes them starve. He does these by the justice and righteousness He holds. Men make plans to their suitability, but God thwarts them. He makes plans and men cannot know them. In His hands are the whole creation and the heavenly places. And the one who is loved by Him is survived by Him. He does not allow the enemy to possess power over him; he hardly loses his footing. This one knows he readily has the almighty God as a mountain of help. For he has seen Him do incredible things; he has known Him to hold time and to quicken it to rescue him. He knew Him as a jealous God. So, a man of God said, “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding” (Dan. 2:21).
Do you know that God can do such things and it is not just a saying? Our knowledge of Him comes from what He permits us to understand about Him. Many read the Scriptures, even with a habit of recitation, but still cannot see Him working in their lives. This is the only reason they still remain unsaved. It is indeed a great advantage – more than what money gives – to have known God the way Daniel describes; he experienced Him with his senses by always having His presence. Then, there is nothing that works against us. If there is a difficulty, even the one Daniel faced by the edict of the king, there will be a way out to those who believe in the Almighty. Until the time of our departure appears He keeps us. For this to stand He directs times, removes one and brings in another, gives wisdom to those whom He made wise and knowledge to the ones that understand Him. He paves the way for His loved ones that His name is forever glorified. And whichever way He creates for them, in it they find joy, peace and incredible blessings. He allows them to rejoice in Him and search for Him clearing out every obstacle anyone produces. He is against letting the enemy torment their soul. By giving them wisdom He notifies the changes in times. He did so for those who believed in His Son. So, they said, “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials” (Acts 15:28).
In sending such knowledge from above He defeated those who claimed to have authority by the Law. Difficulties or sufferings will always come; one cannot hide from them. But it is the manner in which we tackle them down for victory. In other words, it is our holy and heartfelt approach to God’s throne for grace that rescues us. In the case of the gentile Christians, the Jewish Christians put them to suffering when there ought to be joy in the Spirit. They placed circumcision as mandatory for salvation much like many present churches with their doctrine of intellect. In fact, these Jews were not even instructed to do so. It was a way by which they took opportunity to taunt and lord it over the gentiles. The disturbance caused was no small one, a result when God sees fit not to give men wisdom. They brought that which is not ordained. Nevertheless, God being just and righteous cleared out the obstacle that the gentiles should rejoice.
In both the cases of Daniel and the gentiles it was the Lord God who was glorified. In both cases He used the circumstances to let His will and plan be known to men. In both cases He allowed suffering to come upon His loved ones that He may display His power. At the end of His work came not only His glory, but also the need for immense reliability upon Him. His people knew there is no way, but to seek Him for every matter they face. On the one hand if it was Daniel and the apostles that received wisdom, because they were made wise by God, on the other hand, His people were effectively rescued. But, the unwise who assumed to be wise were put to shame. Thus, proving God alone owns and gives wisdom. Here is the quintessential point: times and epochs change, because it is God who changes them for His glory; but He Himself does not change. What does it mean? He creates peaceful and blissful days. He who loved His people then will also do so now and forever; for He cannot change as He Himself is love. So, when the churches fail to understand God by the Word that instructs and encourages them to find Him, they are not the saved. Rather they become guilty of His gospel. They use the Word to their benefit and make it appear suitable to believe. The result – men and women become inept to use God the way Daniel and the apostles did. Their times will not change. They never become the saved. They fully miss all the precious and magnificent things of God. Their difficulties will seemingly fade away. And what more, they fail to fulfill their ultimate purpose in becoming God’s people, i.e. “to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:12).
For this reason, it is important to understand the grace of God apart from licentiousness. Licentiousness is libeled in the wisdom and knowledge that God alone provides. Men of the churches set out to do much for God by putting their bodies and minds to work in human intellect. Such creative activity will only undermine the purpose of God availing His grace and thus, lead them to become licentious concerning it. But if they want to obtain the opposite, it is by having a personal and intimate relationship with Him. The two examples we observed speak of it. What creative activity did Daniel and the apostles themselves do to glorify God? Rather, it was God who prepared them and set them up for the time He chose. He prepared them to His counsel. They were trained to always be conscious of His useful calling at the time of need. To this degree the churches and their leaders must arrive if they should not turn His grace into licentiousness. Or else, what is their service to God? If it is spiritual, it ought to be of the Spirit, who is given to all that obey God.
See what the Scripture says regarding the faithful. “By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised” (Heb. 11:11). So, it was not by Sarah, her strength or her mind that she conceived, but by God, who works in the Spirit. Ah, the times did change for her, didn’t they?! Unless the churches regard this as more than a mere saying, they are not the saved; nor do they possess the power to prevent changing the grace of God into licentiousness. If Sarah could deliver a son even beyond the fitting time of life by an act of God, surely they too can deliver God’s will by His acts. This would fulfill their spiritual service to God. Yet, the key to this and in which you and I are made to dwell is faith in God. One might as well quit calling himself a Christian if he or she sees boundaries to it. For who knows to what time, place and work God will call us? Is it not He who prepares us for His glory? And so we believed and ought to believe. When God has called us for His glory know that it is by His promise, which He intends to keep. Because Sarah had regard for it, she conceived. The Spirit who knows the mind of God thought it necessary to remind us of it.
As we hold on to it, look at the eventual blessing slated for us. “These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb” (Rev. 14:4). Obviously, we received no condemnation. For it has been assured of us that we are not adulterers, fornicators or effeminates. This is the power of God’s calling and in which He prepares us for His glory. We revere His grace. No one can take this away from us, since we follow the Lamb. The Lamb who goes wherever He wishes will lead us to His purposes. This means we do not set out to do works for God in human intellect, but are led like Daniel, the apostles and Sarah. We fulfill the ultimate purpose of God’s calling, i.e. to be to the praise of His glory, which many assuming as the called are unable to do so. See the great blessing God bestowed upon us and we will do well to pass it on to others. For when you follow the Lamb (the Word) He will find a way for you to work for Him. “But I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death; and since he himself appealed to the Emperor, I decided to send him” (Acts 25:25).
This was the way God prepared for Paul to reach Rome to pass on the blessing. Jesus revealed it to him while in Jerusalem. If He acted for Paul, He will also act toward us. He who loved Paul for His glory will also love us whom He called; for He cannot change His innate quality. Remember the likes of Daniel, the apostles and Sarah and ask God to care for you as He cared for them. You will certainly see joy. You will realize that He is a God who changes times and epochs giving protection, wisdom and knowledge to the called. For consider His ability in bringing forth peaceful and glorious days. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:18).