We look at our world and rightly wonder, What’s going on? We see horrible things happening, suffering and brutality unimaginable to our eyes and senses. We watch terrorist groups rise in the Middle East and Africa where they brutalize whole populations into fear. They behead and torture captives—showing no shred of decency or humanity.
What we are witnessing is pure evil. What we see being done to helpless people is not ultimately of man. We are seeing works of spiritual wickedness being done through men who use religion and politics as coverings for unspeakable acts against their fellow human beings.
You won’t read about this aspect of events in news accounts nor hear government leaders or their spokespersons talk about it in such terms.
I watch a lot of news programs and read a lot of history books. Every day I read the reporting and commentary of many intelligent and knowledgeable people who understand a lot about what happens around the world. But I don’t find in any of this an understanding of why the wars and suffering that afflict this world take place. I don’t find in their sources the spiritual understanding that something invisible—something from the powers of the unseen world—is involved in the headlines and events shaping today’s world.
We have to go to the Bible to understand the spiritual dimension that impacts big events in our world every day. These same forces can be at work in your life—prompting and provoking you to anger, to envy, to crippling emotional weaknesses that keep you down and hold you back from a productive, happy and balanced life.
You need to understand that there is something you can do with this knowledge. You can make a difference in your life for the good. But you have to step back from the busy, unfocused direction you have each day and take a new look at God, this world and what makes the world work.
Do what Daniel did. Take a step back. Go to God in focused prayer and even fasting. Daniel wanted to know the why of his day. His nation had been defeated, uprooted and removed to Babylon. He was living in a strange and alien culture. Everything about Babylon was different from the familiar life he had known in Jerusalem.
Here’s the point: His personal world had changed, and everything he could see and understand about the bigger world was changing as well. Daniel found himself at the center of that story and he wanted to know why.
Daniel decided to take it to God in a focused time of prayer and fasting. He got his answer, but he got a lot more! God also led Daniel to a profound insight in a way that teaches us how to approach our world. You can get a handle on your life and be like Daniel and his friends—people who walked with God in the midst of a world that didn’t know Daniel’s God and didn’t wish to honor God in any way. Everything about Babylon’s culture was designed to rip faith from a person and replace it with false gods who could neither see nor hear nor speak!
Daniel set his mind and heart to resist Babylon’s culture. He determined to maintain the faith of the true God and not lose sight of who he was, nor the teachings and faith he had learned from his youth. And the God who helped Daniel to see and understand his world can likewise help us to see and understand how to do this today!