Are you in an ‘Only God’ season right now, where ‘Only God’ coming through for you is going to be enough? Where ‘silence’ from heaven isn’t an option - it’s a case of “God-please show-up” or you just don't know what you’re going to do!
Or perhaps it’s more of a “God, if you’re real, please I need you” season. You’ve never called on God before, but you sure could do with His guidance right now.
Or maybe you just know that ‘Only God’ drawing and leading your non Christian family and friends into relationship with Him is going to work now. You’ve tried everything; ‘Only God’ can do this.
As I’ve reflected on my life, I’m more and more convinced that God actually wants me to live at that place of ‘Only God’ dependence every single day - where ‘Only God’ is enough to guide me, lead me and enable me to fulfill His plans and purposes for my life. If I move away from a reliance on ‘Only God’ I begin to walk in my own strength, not His - and that never ends well!
In Daniel chapter 2, this fearless young Jewish exile, who had already resolved to engage Babylonian culture without compromising his faith, was met with his very own ‘Only God’ situation.
King Nebuchadnezzar had been having troubling dreams, and demanded from his so called wise men, an interpretation. But as was custom for Nebuchadnezzar, he was going to make things slightly more difficult and demand that they not only interpret the dream, but tell him what the dream was in the first place!
Needless to say, they couldn’t do it - who could?
On hearing this, King Nebuchadnezzar flies into a rage, spits the proverbial dummy, and orders the execution of all his wise men, which included amongst others, Daniel! Daniels makes a choice to step in and step up. He asks for time for a chance to interpret the dream. This is the ultimate ‘Only God’ moment. He really needs God to come through for him now. His execution papers have already been signed, his life and that of his friends, not to mention the hopes and dreams of a nation in exile are literally on the knife edge. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
Daniel made three no-compromise choices that can serve to help us in our own ‘Only God’ seasons and circumstances:
1. Heavens wisdom over human wisdom:
Daniel 2:14 tells us that ‘Daniel spoke with wisdom and tact’. For Daniel, faced with an ‘Only God’ situation meant calling on heavens wisdom, not his own. How often do we, when faced with our own desperate situations, seek the counsel of this culture and this kingdom, when all along heaven wants to break open and pour its own wisdom upon us; James 3:17 ‘But the wisdom that comes drown from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate...’.). What is heaven saying about your situation? Remember, what makes no sense to us often makes complete sense to God. Trust Him to work it through for His glory – and our good!
2. Community over isolation
Daniel, when faced with uncertainty and in need of God to radically show up, does what all of us should do - he clings to community. Verse 17 of Chapter 2 tells us that he goes straight to his mates’ Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah and begs them to start praying. There’s no time to lose; together they call on heaven. In our ‘Only God’ seasons, may we resist the temptation to isolate ourselves. Cling to Jesus and His body, the church - they really are a dream team!
3. He chose Praise – regardless of the outcome
Daniel demonstrates a spirit of no compromise by choosing to get his praise on – regardless of the outcome! How do we know that? Well, verse 19 tells us that ‘during the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven...’.
Personally, I’d have been checking in with Nebuchadnezzar to see if I got the dream right before kicking off the praise party. But not Daniel. He's convinced that what God has said is as good as done. Such great faith! He gets his praise on straight away!
For some of us today, it might be that we need to stop praying and start praising. God has said it, so it will be. That’s not false optimism or name-it-and-claim-it theology - it’s taking the promises of God as ‘yes and amen’ (2 Cor 1:20) and trusting that God is good, that He is for us (Romans 8:31) and that He really will work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). This alone deserves all of our praise.
Questions for application:
- How reliant are you on God, every day, to guide you and lead you? What does this look like practically?
- How connected are you to community? Who is your community? How real is it and is there anything you can do to make it more so?
- What can you thank God for today that you might not yet physically see? Are there things you need to stop praying for and start praising for?