What Only God Can Do

Develop Brave Faith Through Bible verses about courage.

George Wright
Mar 29, 2020    36m
Have you ever been so afraid that you didn't know what to do or how you would get out of a seemingly hopeless situation? In this message, we learn from the story of Daniel how to rely on the power of prayer and how to put our trust in the fact that God will intervene on our behalf and do what only He can do through our faith in Him. Video recorded at Columbia, South Carolina.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

George Wright: 00:00 I do want to ask you to turn your attention back to the Book of Daniel. And we're going to pick up in Daniel chapter 2, and we just step into something that is an incredible, incredible story to see God do what only God can do. And certainly we are in a time right now where we need to see over and over again, God do what only God can do.

George Wright: 00:27 So Daniel, chapter 2, if you have your Bible with you go ahead and turn there, we also are having the words there on the screen for you. But I would like to encourage you yet again, if you're willing and able to stand with me wherever you are, as we turn our attention to God's word. To be reminded, God's word is our authority, it is the foundation on which we stand, and it reveals to us what God says is right and good and true. So this is the word of the Lord. And bear with me, I'm going to read six verses here as we stand together. Daniel chapter 2, it says, "In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.” Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.” What a fascinating exchange as we step into this story and see an amazing situation that provides an opportunity for God to do what only God can do.

George Wright: 02:25 Would you pray with me as we consider God's word? Father, as we now gather in many different places at once, and turn our attention to the proclamation of your word, it is my prayer that you would use this time together in your word, to lift our spirits, to remind us of what is right and good and true, to show us with greater clarity, the love and the grace that you have made available to us. And Lord, I pray that you would strengthen our faith. Oh, how we need you. Oh, how we longed to see you do what only you can do. So we commit this time to you, and we ask you to move in power ,and we pray that we would not be the same as a result of what you say. I pray specifically for those who are needing encouragement today, or those who have really been struggling or overwhelmed. Lord, would you lift their spirit? Would you meet them right where they are? And would you invite them to see the incredible gift of your love? We thank you for this time. It's in Christ's name I pray. Amen.

George Wright: 03:43 If you standing you can be seated. If you're lounging on your couch, go ahead and enjoy it. What we see here in the Book of Daniel is a lot of different interactions with dreams. In fact, five of the chapters of the Book of Daniel deal specifically with dreams, and they show how God works oftentimes in the midst of dreams to reveal himself in different ways to different people. Now, I realize this may be somewhat of a new idea for you to consider. And so I've done a little research on dreams, after all, I've had a little bit of extra time to search and to research. And so I found out some interesting facts about dreams, and I just want to make this available to you this morning.

George Wright: 04:35 Let me read some things to you about dreams. First off you, you may already know this, but everybody dreams, but not everybody remembers their dreams. Five minutes after a dream in ends research shows us, we forget over half of the dream. Ten minutes after the dream ends, we have forgotten over 90% of the dream. How about that? So most of what we dream, we don't recall. And many people don't recall their dreams at all, but the average person research shows has three to five dreams every night. And during a full night of sleep, eight hours of sleep, if you're lucky enough to get that, about two hours of that full night of sleep are spent dreaming, which means the average lifespan of an individual spends six years of their life dreaming. What a` fascinating thing to consider, six years of your life dreaming. Now research also shows if you are snoring, you cannot dream. How about that? Maybe that's why you don't remember your dreams. And research also shows that dogs sleep on an average of 13 hours a day, and they do have dreams. We have no idea what they're dreaming about, but they do have dreams.

George Wright: 05:57 Now that you have some great, useless information about dreams. Let's step back into this story, and let's see how God uses a dream in a really incredible way. In these verses that we are considering today, we see this King, King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. If you remember what we looked at last week in Daniel 1, who has taken captive the people of Judah, and Nebuchadnezzar is reigning over this large empire, the Babylonian empire. And at this point in the story we see that he is having tremendous trouble sleeping. He's incredibly distraught because of the dreams that he has been having. He is one of those who is remembering his dreams. And so he seeks the advice of the wise men, and the scripture says magicians, and these Chaldeans, and these sorcerers, anyone under his kingdom who perhaps can give him wisdom.

George Wright: 06:55 He calls them in to the palace and he says, okay, I want you to tell me my dream. And they respond and they say, King, we will gladly interpret your dream for you, but you tell us your dream so we can interpret it. But the King is shrewd, this is not his first rodeo. He's been around seeing the things of the world, and he's got some wisdom, and so the King knows that if he simply tells the dream to these interpreters, they can really make up whatever they want to say. He wants to know, do they really have power to see something that he can't see? Do they really have power to understand and interpret something that he doesn't understand? And so he says, I'm not telling you the dream, I want you to tell me the dream. Because then I'll know you have power, then I'll know you can see things that I have not revealed to you, and then I'll be able to trust your interpretation. If you know what I was dreaming, you really do have special power, and I will believe the interpretation that you speak. But if you can't tell me the dream, the King says, your life is over.

George Wright: 08:17 In fact, what we know of Nebuchadnezzar historically is that he was an incredibly ruthless and violent King, a violent ruler over the Babylonian empire. In fact, it was said of Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq, that his hero was King Nebuchadnezzar because of how Nebuchadnezzar ruled with such a reign of terror. This is a bad man here that we're dealing with. Nebuchadnezzar is not somebody to try and trick or manipulate. And he tells these magicians, these wise men of the land, if you do not tell me my dream and then give me an interpretation, I will tear you limb from limb, I will destroy your houses, I will wreak havoc on your family. And so these advisors, they know they are in an incredibly tough spot, because they have no idea what the King is dreaming. They have no idea what to say. And so they began to plead with the King, King, please tell us the dream so we can interpret it. You can read that beginning in verse 7, but the King will not relent, he stands firm and he says, no, I want to see, do you really have a special power, and can I really trust what you say. So you tell me the dream, or else you're going down.

George Wright: 09:50 And then we step back into the story in Daniel chapter 2 verse 10, and we see their response. It says, "The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” Aren't these fascinating words to consider. These spiritual advisers, these wise men of the land so to speak, are in desperate need of help. They realize they are in trouble. The King is asking them to do something that they have no power to do, and they confess even without even really knowing it, they are in desperate need for the power of God. They acknowledged there is no way that man can do what you're demanding, we need divine intervention. What we see here is actually a fascinating scene that reveals a crossroads that many people face, a crossroads where many people find themselves perhaps even today in this season of such great uncertainty as we are navigating this new normal, there is a crossroads where many people find themselves. And this is the crossroads that this story reveals, that often there are people whose entire life has been built on their ability to perform, and their ability to control a situation. And everything that they have done in their life has been built on this illusion of control. My identity is built on my ability to control my circumstance, and my entire life has been built on my knowledge, and my wisdom, and my understanding, and everything that I am, flows out of what I know and what I can control.

George Wright: 12:16 But now these people in this story, who are supposed to be divine interpreters, who are supposed to be able to control and manipulate any situation, they find themselves in this place where all of their knowledge, and all of their understanding, and all of their attempt to control the situation cannot serve them. They find themselves in a situation where they are totally out of control. They don't know what to do. Again, maybe this is something that you can relate to, or maybe you know some people who are walking through this right now that are face to face with the reality that they are not in control, and it is terrifying to consider. If your life and your identity is built on your ability to control things, and your life and your identity is built on your wisdom and knowledge and understanding. And you find yourself at a crossroads where you are now totally out of control, it is a terrifying place to be. And so these wise men of the land coming before the King, they are terrified not knowing what to do. They feel helpless, they feel hopeless, they are very aware of the sobering reality that they are not in control.

George Wright: 14:04 And so what you see in these next few verses, you can read this later, verses 12 through 15. Is they basically surrender to their hopeless situation. They basically say, there's nothing we can do, we're done. We are out of control, we are terrified, we are hopeless, and we are lost, there's nothing we can do to fix this. All the wise men, all the advisors to the King, will be killed according to the Kings decree, and they are terrified and they are hopeless.

George Wright: 14:40 All except one, there is one who responds very differently. One whose identity is rooted and grounded in something else altogether. Look at Daniel chapter 2 verse 16, it says, "Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king." Now this is incredible, in fact, you could argue this is absolutely crazy what Daniel is doing. While everyone else is responding in fear, and trying to get as far away from the King as they possibly can, realizing they're so very out of control. Daniel steps in and says, King, I want to talk. In tremendous courage, in tremendous faith, Daniel steps up. And we talked about this last week, and I encourage you, if you have not had the opportunity to join in the last week's message. After this message at some point, go online and watch last week's message in Daniel chapter 1.

George Wright: 15:55 But we're reminded from Daniel 1 that every crisis is an opportunity for God to do great things, Daniel believes that. Daniel believes that in his life, and his identity, is not built on his knowledge, or his wisdom, or his ability to control or manipulate the situation. In fact, his life is built on something different, his life is built on the faithfulness of God. And so when all else cower in fear and feel hopeless and helpless, Daniel stands up in courage and in faith because his life and his identity are not about his power and his understanding and his authority, his life and his identity are about God's power and God's wisdom and God's authority. And so his response to this season of uncertainty, and this hopeless situation, and this fearful circumstance, is not to cower and hide in helplessness, but to stand in courage and faith because of the faithfulness of God.

George Wright: 17:16 We see then how Daniel and his friends gather together before Daniel goes in to visit with the King in this very intimidating moment. Look at what happens in Daniel chapter 2 verses 17 and 18, it says, "Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of Heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon." What are we seeing here? We're seeing a small group of men set apart from the norm, set apart from the crowd, set apart from those who are fearful in seeing how out of control they really are. A small group of men that are set apart believing that they have hope, because they know that their power is not about them, but all about their God, and so they are seeking the one who is truly in control. What do they do here? This is a beautiful scene. They go before the Lord and they pray. They recognize that what they are stepping into is a situation they cannot manipulate, they cannot control, they need divine intervention, they need the power of the most high God to intervene on their behalf. And I love the language of the scripture here as they pray, Daniel says, seek mercy from the God of Heaven concerning this mystery. What a great statement of God's word. Seek mercy from the God of Heaven concerning this mystery. This is a call to prayer.

George Wright: 19:27 So can I just ask you for a moment? Do you believe in the power of prayer? Do you really believe in the power of prayer? Do you really believe that something happens, supernaturally, when we go before God looking for him to do what only he can do? You see what we see in this scene here in Daniel chapter 2, is a small group of men who are praying as if their lives depend on it, because they do. They are praying with urgency, asking for the God of Heaven to provide mercy for them concerning this mystery. There is fervency in their prayer, they believe that all hope is lost apart from the power and authority of their God.

George Wright: 20:36 I'm going to pause right here for just a moment, and I know this may be a little unusual and a little different, but these are certainly different times and different circumstances that we navigating. And I just want to stop right here in the middle of this message, and I just want to ask you if you believe in the power of prayer? Would you, right now, go before the Lord in prayer? Wherever you are, whoever you're gathered with, would you take a moment and just pray, ask the God of Heaven to show us mercy concerning this mystery. We need God to do what only God can do. Would you ask him to move in power as you pray? Do that now. God of Heaven, we are seeking mercy concerning this mystery, and we are asking you to do what only you can do to move in power. We are praying that this virus, this spread, this pandemic that we are navigating now would come to an end. We are praying for those who have been directly impacted, Lord, would you heal them? Would you comfort them? Would you strengthen them? And Lord, we are praying above all else that you would do what only you can do to draw men and women and children to you in this time of uncertainty. We pray that many would trust in you. We pray that many would cry out to God, and would see the incredible mercy that you have for us in our time of need. We look to you, God of Heaven. In Jesus' name I pray.

George Wright: 23:23 As we step back into the scripture here, if you were to continue reading today in Daniel 2, you would see that God does in fact intervene miraculously. He shows up. He allows Daniel to see and understand the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, and then to provide a supernatural interpretation for the King to see what the dream means. But before we even get into any of that, I just want to take you to the scene right before Daniel speaks to the King and reveals the contents of his dream to the King. Daniel says this, listen to this, Daniel chapter 2 verse 27 and 28, "Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in Heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these." And Daniel begins to lay out the dream, and then interpret the dream, in this prophetic look of what is coming for the kingdom of Babylon. God does what only God can do. God alone provides the answers, God alone provides the wisdom, God alone provides the authority, as Daniel looks to the Lord in all things. And what does he say? Listen to this. What does he say to the King? There is a God in Heaven who reveals mysteries. This God in Heaven who reveals mysteries, is the God in Heaven who performs miracles.

George Wright: 25:27 Listen to this, don't miss this. What is a miracle? A miracle is something that God can only do in the midst of an obvious need. A miracle is God showing up in a way that only God can where the need is great. Every miracle, please don't miss this, every miracle that you see in scripture, every miracle that has happened throughout the history of humanity is a glimpse of the greatest miracle of all. For every miracle is a glimpse of the gospel. You see the gospel reveals to us an obvious need, a need that we can do nothing about, a need that shows we are totally out of control and totally hopeless without divine intervention. Romans chapter 3:23 says it this way, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." This sin that we all have, that levels the playing field for all of humanity, separates us from God. Because God is Holy, and we are sinful, and there is a chasm between us and him that we cannot cross on our own. There is in fact, nothing we can do about our sin if left to our own ability. Romans chapter 3 verse 20 says, "For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." When we recognize our need, when we recognize our sin, we recognize that we need a miracle. We have an obvious need that we can do nothing about, and we need God to step in and do what God alone can do. And this is the good news of the gospel.

George Wright: 27:36 Romans chapter 5 verse 8 says this, "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." This is the miracle that we all are in need of. This is the miracle of all miracles. The greatest miracle of all. God has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. When we realize our need, and when we realize we are out of control, God steps in in a miraculous way to do for us what we could never do for ourselves by giving us the gift of this good news. The miracle of new life, the miracle of grace, the miracle of forgiveness, that is the miracle of the gospel. That Christ has made a way, where there seemed to be no way. For there is a God in Heaven who reveals mysteries, and who does for us what we could never do for ourselves. We need a miracle, and God has given us exactly what we need.

George Wright: 29:06 You see, this is what the world so desperately needs to hear. Church do not miss this, the church of Jesus Christ has been given an unprecedented opportunity in the midst of this global crisis to point to the miracle of the gospel that invites us into the gift of salvation and the gift of eternal hope, that is our greatest need. Don't miss what God has invited us into. Now, I'm not trying to overstate anything here, I believe this with all of my heart. We as the church have been given a once in a generation opportunity to point to the miracle of the gospel, as the world is longing for hope, and the world is desperate in a situation where we know that we are not in control.

George Wright: 30:14 I've heard it said this way by another pastor, if you track throughout the history of the church in the midst of a crisis or a season of intense uncertainty, you will see God at work over and again in four specific ways. In four specific phases. Listen to what God does throughout history in the midst of a crisis. First and foremost, the world gets dark, all hope appears to be lost, it is obvious that we are not in control. But secondly, the spirit of God falls. God does what God alone can do. And as the spirit of God falls, a third thing takes place, the church rises up in the face of fear, in the face of uncertainty, the church rises up with the hope of the gospel. And as a result, a fourth thing begins to happen and that is, that people see the light of the world shining brightly. This is what our God does in a crisis. This is how God moves when people feel like all hope is lost. Church don't miss this. What an opportunity we have been given to rise up and to shine the light of the gospel when the world around us appears so dark, and so desperately needs to hear that there is a God who loves them, who has done for them what he has done for us, what he alone can do. Through the cross of Jesus Christ in the power of his resurrection, God has offered us new life.

George Wright: 32:12 Now I'll close today's message with this great passage of scripture from Psalm chapter 20, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright." Church, God has invited us to rise up, to stand upright, to shine the light of the gospel in a moment in time when the world is so desperately, collectively longing for hope. Let's rise up as the church of Jesus Christ, and let's shine the gospel to a world that is a longing to see the light in the midst of the darkness. If you're here today joining us for this message and you know you need hope, you know you need new life, this is your invitation to trust in Jesus. For he is the light of the world, and he is done for you, which you can never do for yourself.

George Wright: 33:55 Let's pray. Father God, I am so grateful for the good news of the gospel, and so grateful that when all hope appears lost and we recognize that we are out of control and the world around us appears so dark, the light is shining brightly. The good news that you have done for us, what we could never do for ourselves, you in Christ have made a way for us when there appeared to be no way. So Lord, I pray that you would use the church, use your body, your bride the church to shine brightly in this hour of need. Use the church to be the message of hope that the world is longing to hear. Give us boldness and courage and faith like Daniel to stand up the share the good news of what Jesus Christ has done. For those who are joining us today who have never experienced the hope of the gospel in a real and personal way, I pray, Lord God, as the light of the gospel shines on them even now, they would recognize their need for the savior, and they would recognize what the savior has done to give his life at the cross for the payments that their sins require. And I pray, Lord God, that they would turn to Jesus, and turn from their sin, and say, Jesus, I am ready to trust and follow you as my savior and my Lord. Oh, how thankful we are for doing for us what we can never do for ourselves. We praise you for the good news of the light of the gospel that shine so brightly in the darkness. Father, God, we trust in you. It's in Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Recorded in Columbia, South Carolina.
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Shandon Baptist Church
5250 Forest Drive
Columbia, South Carolina 29206