Bible Reading: Daniel 2:36-45
Memory verse: "The God of heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people." (Dan 2:44).
The young man Daniel lived many years ago. He was a Jewish boy and maybe a prince in the royal family of Judah. Daniel worshipped the true God, the God of Israel.
The nation of Israel had a long history of priests and prophets who taught them the truth about God. Israel had God's Law, but they were careless in their worship and followed the ways of the nations around them.
Jehoiakim (Je-hoi'-a-kim) ruled in Judah (2 Chron 36:9-9). He was a wicked king and refused to hear the word of the Lord God spoken by the prophet Jeremiah.
The prophet Jeremiah spoke God's word to the people of Judah and to King Jehoiakim: "Because you have not listened to My words, I will summon all the peoples of the north and My servant Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and I will bring them against this land . . ." (Jer 25:8-9).
The Babylonians attacked Jerusalem and burned the city. They carried away the nobles and craftsmen and Daniel was on of them. Their exile in Babylon brought to an end a glorious period of prosperity and progress. Sin pays hard wages. The Bible says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." (Prov 14:12).
During the exile, God put His hand on Daniel. He used the young man Daniel to reveal His own sovereign power over the nations. God would prove to Israel and to the nations that "the king's heart is in the hands of the Lord; He directs it like a river wherever He pleases." (Prov 21:1).
Israel was called of God to be "a light to the Gentile nations," to point them to Mt Zion, the dwelling place of the living God. They had failed. God had performed great miracles to bring them to this point in their history, but they had turned their back on the God of their fathers.
God gave Daniel the wisdom to tell King Nebuchadnezzar what his dream of the great statue meant. God would establish His Kingdom among the kingdoms of men. It would be greater than any other kingdom on earth. Jesus called it "the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 3:2). He told Pilate, "My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were, My servants would fight to prevent My arrest by the Jews. But now My Kingdom is from another place."(John 18:30).
When did the Kingdom of God begin. I believe it began in eternity past. From eternity God had you in His heart and, if in His heart, certainly in His Kingdom (Eph 1:4).
When will the Kingdom of God end? In one sense it will never end. It is like God Himself, "from everlasting to everlasting." However, when Jesus comes again in the clouds to gather His people, the Kingdom will be completed. "Then the end will come, when He (Christ) hands over the Kingdom to God the Father, after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power." (1 Cor 15:24).
Are you a citizen of the Kingdom of God? You can be. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31). As Peter said to the gathered crowd on the morning of Pentecost, "The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off (you and me) - " (Acts 2:39).