Do you want to see a miracle in your life?
"King Nebuchadnezzar, To the nations and peoples of every language, who live in all the earth:"
"May you prosper greatly! It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me."
"How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation."
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If you are not a Swede or a messianic Jew, maybe you'll think this numeration is wrong, because Daniel chapter 3 has only 30 verses. But it is different in the Aramaic text (the original languages) There you find Daniel 4:1-3 as Daniel 33:31-33, and Daniel 4 begins in "Dn 4:4" of the New International Version. The Swedish numeration follows the original order in the version that we use in this site and in the "Svenska Folkbibeln", as the Orthodox Jewish Bible does.
Which is the proper way to know where finishes Daniel 3 and begins Daniel 4?
When we understand that the original in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek is "the Bible" and every rendering must follow it, the question could seem an academic one. But most of the renderings follow NIV's pattern, and that's because old manuscripts in original languages have no points, commas, capitals or paragraphs to define where a section begins and where it ends. Daniel 4 has to do with miracles also, and Nebuchadnezzar himself talks in first person in the beginning. That can be the reason that many translators see these verses as an introduction of chapter 4. But other ones see these verses as the edict to "the nations and peoples of every language" which Daniel 3:29 mentions. This division fits better in the structure of Daniel's book and in that very antique literature (that's why the Hebrew / Aramaic editors use it)
Some time after I became Christian, in a sunny Sunday morning, I was on my way to the church, with my guitar in its case and full dressed. A relative of mine which was atheist by that time meet me on the way and we had a short conversation.
"Have you got some new job?", he asked, thinking I was singing secularly somewhere.
"No, I haven't", I answered. "I'll sing in the church".
"Good!", he answered amused. "What's the salary?"
"None", I said.
Then he laughed and asked, "why do you do it, then"? Because of the love of Christ?"
This expression is used among atheists to denote something we do without pay, and generally in a sarcastic way. But in the twinkling of an eye the Spirit of God transformed the meaning for me, and it was another Israel who seriously answered, "Yes, because of the love of Christ"
The love of Christ, and His blood shed on the cross of Calvary for us is, more than enough, a reason to praise and glorify God every day. Nebuchadnezzar, a pagan king, praised the God of Israel in these verses after seeing the miracle He did with those Jews that the king had sent to the furnace to die. That response of him is a proper one, but it is still a "response", a reaction to something which has already happened. Only born again persons know the power of praising even "before" of seeing God's hand's action. In Daniel 2:19-23 we can see a very good example. The prophet praised God before he came to the king with the interpretation of the dream. He didn't know if the king should believe him or not - and consequently, if he should be promoted or executed. But he had faith in God, the sureness that his interpretation was God's revelation, both if the king would accept it or not. Nebuchadnezzar recognized Israel's God superiority only when he saw the miracles that God operate in behalf of His own.
Do you praise God?
There is a great power in praise. And there are many Biblical, historical and recent examples (from testimonies we can hear nowadays all the time) about God's miraculous intervention among those who praise Him, to bless them.
The kingdom of Israel was divided after the great king Solomon's death (ca. 933 BC) and Judah, the kingdom of the South, was under his son Rehoboam government. This king, with scarce wisdom unlike his father, gave to the people who claimed to him a harsh answer, which caused the division of the kingdom. His son Abijam, who succeeded him, "committed all the sins his father had done before him". But God showed mercy to Judah by his servant David's sake, and raised Asa his son as king. He was one of the righteous kings of Judah, those who kept the faith in the Lord. After 41 years reigning Asa died, and was succeeded by Jehoshaphat his son, another good king who ruled over Judah in 872-850 BC (and some years together with his father)
The Word tells us that God was with Jehoshaphat, because he was faithful to the Lord. This king got rid of idolatry in Judah. He sent princes, levites and priests to teach the Law of the Lord throughout the whole country. He appointed also judges to judge in conformity with the Word of God. His faith and loyalty to the God of Israel were evident in his attitude when he was under attack. 2 Chronicles 20 narrates how a coalition of Moabites, Ammonites and Edomites was gathered against Judah. The king postrated before the Lord in prayer, and called to a national fast. Gos gave him the answer through a levite, Jahaziel, who prophesied through the Spirit of God that they should win the battle without fighting. Jehoshaphat's military strategy can be seen in 2 Chronicles 20:21 :
"After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”
Holy Jesus! Is this a strategy, or suicide? Can you imagine a general who, instead of plannig an offensive action, set a choir to sing "His love endures forever", in the believe that it is the way to defeat the enemy? But the Bible says, "the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength" (1st Corinthians 1:25) Jehoshaphat's obedience to God's prophecy gave him the victory. See the next verse:
"As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated."
There's a keyword for the victory: "to believe". The "strategy" of Jehoshaphat had the most solid fundament we could ever desire: "Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful" (words of the king in 2 Chronicles 20:20) Jehoshaphat understood that God would fight for him, and he installed a choir to sing praises, instead of taking military actions. This victory was a "miraculous" one, because the normal development is that the coalition should kill the Jews who praised the Lord instead of being fighting.
This takes us back to the first question, do you want to see a miracle in your life?
Let me tell you that there are satanic snares to hinder your blessing and to make you unable to see God's miracles, God's intervention in your behalf. There's a spiritual warfare which purpose is to destroy the faith of the believers and to avoid that the unbelievers get the faith. You can't always see it with your physical eyes, as you see in "exorcist" films, but it happens in our spirits, as a confrontation between the demons and the Spirit of God. A wrong attitude can hinder you from seing God's miracle in your favor.
Which is the wrong attitude?
There are several ones. Remember that Satan caused the fall of the first human couple, and he is lying and deceiving God's children from millenia ago. The evil one knows that we need faith to see miracles, and that's why he induces in us these attitudes against faith:
1) Not believing. In Hebrews 11:6 we read, "... anyone who comes to him (God) must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" There is a reward in seeking God, but it is for those who believe. King Jehoshaphat couldn't read the letter to the Hebrews, which was written almost a millennium after his death. But to get his victory he believed in God and his prophets. Our Lord says that "everything is possible for the one who believes"
Do you believe it possible for "the one who believes" to experience some miracle in his life?
2) There's another wrong attitude which hinder us to see miracles, and it is to demand to see them in order to believe in them. In Luke 11:16 we read, "Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven". It happened because some enemies of Jesus saw Him driving out a demon (the other enemies said that it had been done in Satan's power instead of God's) We can read other histories where He was told to prove His authenticity with miraculous deeds, as Satan did in the desert, or king Herod when the Lord was prisoner and was presented before him. But the Lord's answer is the same to all those who come in this attitude, the answer we ca read in Luke 11:29 : " “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." The survival of Jonah in the belly of the fish is compared to the time our Lord was in the tumb, and Jonah's return to the earth, as our Lord's return to life (His resurrection was the sign which showed without any shadow of doubt that He was the Messiah) The "sign from heaven" didn't come from the Son, who was dead, but from the Father, who raised Him up through His Holy Spirit.
Are you waiting to see a miracle, in order to believe that miracles are possible? Let me tell you, it is the opposite way: we are suppossed to believe first, and them we'll see. The world says, "seeing is believing", but God, "you have to believe in order to see".
3-5) Another three wrong attitudes are represented in the well-know "Parable of the Sower" of our Lord Jesus Christ. Read it (Matthew 13:3-8) :
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop - a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown"
The interpretation of the Parable can be seen in Matthew 13 also (verses 19-23) :
"When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Observe that Our Lord is talking about three wrong attitudes and only one which is the proper one. These attitudes define how we will receive the "message about the kingdom" or "the Word of God". First of all, it is a crucial matter how do we listen. Remember that Romans 10:17 says, "...faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." The more Word we hear, understand and apply to our lives, the more faith we'll get. The Word which we don't receive, don't understand or don't apply, zero faith.
How is faith affected by our hearing of the Word? To see a miracle depends on faith!
3) The first wrong attitude in the parable is represented by "some seed that fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up", which means those who don't understand what is it that they are hearing (and they forget the Word) Nebuchadnezzar is a good example of this attitude. In spite of the testimonies about the Jews and their God, and in spite of the miracles he saw and the revelations he got from God, he fell and went back to his pagan beliefs again. In the next chapter we ca see how he suffered seven years of madness, because of his arrogance and haughtiness against God, and having forgotten Daniel's prophecy and advice.
Have you been in this position? Our Lord gives us a very powerful remedy against this sickness. In Luke 9:23-25 we read, "Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?" The Word of God is suppossed to be the first thing in our lives, and in order to follow it we'll need often to "deny ourselves" our own desires, to do what God wants. God doesn't give us "suggestions", but abundant life. When king Nebuchadnezzar humbled himself, and recognized that the power comes from God, he got his throne back, even with greater splendor.
4) A second attitude in the Parable is represented by the seed which "...fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root." Now observe that these people do receive the Word, and they even rejoice in it. But when troubles come, they fall. In the gospel according to John, chapter 21, we can see the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus, going to their old routines again. They thought they would get back to their fishermen profession. The Lord has to show Himself to them, calls Peter specially and tells him three times, "feed my sheep". After three years of discipleship, after all things they had learnt from their master, they were going back to their former life.
In Habakkuk 2:4 we read, "...the righteous person will live by his faith", a verse which is quoted several times in the NT and has been said to be the core of the Reformation. Faith will keep, even in the middle of the storms, THOSE WHO LIVE BY THEIR FAITH. Suppose you are about to sink and you can't swim, but you have a lifesaver. If you take it, the lifesaver will save you, but if you ignore it, you'll drown. The Lord called His disciples not only in order to save them, but to become a salvation instrument for many others.
5) The last one in this list of wrong attitudes that Our Lord shows us is that of prioritizing wordly issues instead of the Word of God. When the things of this world are more important to us than the Word of God, we can live with a divided soul (some kind of "spiritual schizophrenia") and we'll function partly as Christians and partly as ungodly people. The book of the Acts of the Apostles shows this attitude in Ananias and Sapphira, in chapter five.
In the fourth chapter of Acts we read that the Cristians created some kind of "social security trust fund" for the needy. They sold many properties and gave the money to the apostles, creating a fund. In chapter five, Ananias and Sapphira did the same that the other ones did, but without faith. They kept some money from their sale, and then lied by telling that they were "giving everything to the cause". The apostle Peter rebuked them for lying to God, and they both died.
Are you upright with God?
Or is your heart filled with this world's issues, without a place to serve God?
Do you do everything "to the greater glory of God", or are you working on building your own glory?
Is the love of Christ which moves you, or another "love" - for money, fame, pleasures or whatever else?
Our Lord has a very known word to heal this spiritual "schizophrenia", which is in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom (God's) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (material things) The Lord is saying, "God first! He will provide for everything we need!" Observe the context of this commandment (verses 24-32) :
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them"
Our heavenly Father knows everything we need, even before we ask Him. If we need a miracle, an intervention of God to make something in our life, He knows before us. When Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah proclaimed that, even if the Lord wouldn't save them from the furnace, they would not adore Babylonian deities, they didn't know if the Lord should make a miracle or not. But He knew. Those miracles which are to come to your life may be beyond your imagination or your expectations, or maybe you don't believe they will occur or that God has spared a "personal miracle" specially for you.
But let me tell you that the Lord loves you, and He knows you by your full name. He knows us all, and He has chosen us to be save, even before the world was made. When there were not earth, or seas, or even dinosaurs, God had already decided the way He would save us: by sending His Son to die on a cross for our sins, and rising Him up again at the third day by a miraculous act. Because God is a God of miracles! That miracle you need in your life, whatever it is, is in the Lord's hands, and He wants to carry it out. But you have to believe it! Miracles that you need but you don't know yet, are in the hands of the Almighty. He wants to do them. Do you believe that?
If you need an intervention of the Lord in your life, you only have to ask for it. He listens to our prayers, and He wants to answer them, in order to bless us. Because He wants to bless us. The miracles He performs in the lives of the believers are miracles in their favor. If you have not yet received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, let me tell you: you are about to receive the greatest miracle of all, the salvation of your soul. Kneel before Him, confess Him your sins, ask Him for pardon and invite Him to control your life, to be the Lord as He is your Savior. Believe me, He wants to hear that prayer, because the desire of God's heart is that nobody shall go astray, but that everybody will repent and become children of God. Receive Jesus Christ, and you'll see the hand of God moving miraculously in your life!
May the Lord bless you!
In the love of Christ, your brother
PS. Jesus comes quickly!