So many of us forget the teaching of Romans 8:28 because we tend to ignore unspoken messages when bad happens to us or in our home, work or environment, yet when good comes our way we rejoice, even giving God the credit with “Praise the Lord” or “God is good”. Join me as we consider a few verses briefly:
Ro 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
I would even suggest reading to the end of the passage and thinking though it.
(1) Here God refers to believers. They are those God “foreknew” and “predestined”. They are the ones who love God.
(2) The “all things” spreads across every incident, happening or occurrence, be it good or bad. That is, it includes all the wonderful blessings and all the extreme hardships.
(3) “God works” these things for our good. This means He allows and permits good things and bad things to come our way. Christians are not exempt from hardship. Those who today say that illness, disease, lack of money, lack of happiness, etc. are all due to a “lack of faith” or “sin”, have it wrong because they either do not know this verse or interpret it incorrectly.
(4) God’s purpose is the process of individual holiness making. He uses all the “good” and “bad” that comes our way to hone us, shape us, ready us in preparation to … conformed to the likeness of his Son. Now if God has a hand in our good and bad experiences, then He too must have a hand in what happens to pagans, even pagan kings, be it good or bad. Let me explain this as we return to Daniel 8:24.
1) God’s ways and purposes are difficult to understand, yet He knows His objectives.
(1) In all of history God is working for the blessing of the Eternal Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Da 8:24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does.
The evil Antiochus Epiphanes will become extremely powerful but his powerful and strength do not come about because of him being “a master of intrigue”. (See yesterday’s note.) This is where it is difficult to understand the way God works, yet in His providence, He permitted Antiochus to become powerful as a person resulting in his military machine being powerful. In many cases, when Israel warred against the heathen nations, we read of God raising up the enemy to discipline Israel. When God works this way it is for the good of his people, even though we might need to experience hardships and difficulties. God is Master overall and He employs His methods to achieve His will and objectives … and very often this is using evil empires (people, organizations) as instruments to discipline His beloved people. So, not by his own power refers to God who is the enabler here.
(2) His strength and power will “astound” and his successes will be great He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. His military achievements, although using extremely wicked and sinister methods will be outstanding.
(3) There are two categories of people he will remove through his forward marching … He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people.
(a) Mighty men. Some have suggested these were his enemies of war or even the elders of Israel. It seems however they were political enemies and rivals to his throne. He protected his reign with an iron fist.
(b) Holy people. His reign of terror and destruction is not limited to enemy armies and challenges to his throne, he destroys the nation of Israel, the nation of the saints, the holy people, people of God. Remember, the discipline of God’s people is ever in view in the vision!
2) Wicked and evil people cause their sin to achieve great status.
Da 8:25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior.
The wicked have a way of prospering their business. This king was like that. He was cunning. He knew how to use evil to his advantage. This was an asset to him causing his “deceit” to prosper. Although different, I get the picture of the “dark underworld of business activities.” They seem to be a step ahead of the law, destroying those running legal operations, literally removing people (assassinations) to grow their illegal enterprises whilst raking in the coins. Fearless, arrogant and filled with pride … that was Antiochus … he will consider himself superior. This is self-glorification!
3) Living within false security. We were chatting to our son in the USA recently with regard to COVID-19 and what was happening in the city where he lives. He was saying the spread of Omicron is alarming. This is true in our country as well and we people in general have started to ignore COVID-19 protocols. Why … because we feel the worst is past and we don’t need to be on our guard anymore. This is what happened to people of other nations during Antiochus’ reign. They thought they were safe. They believed there was no threat. They let their guard down … “when they feel secure”. It was then, unexpectedly that Antiochus came with conquering power … “he will destroy many”. O my beloved, this is exactly what happens to the believer who lets his or her guard down. When, O when will we learn that our enemy is always prowling? It is not for nothing that the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to pen:
1Pe 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Being self-controlled and alert implies that we must not let our guard down. You see, we are most vulnerable when we think we are spiritually robust, physically and emotionally strong and financially cared for. It is mostly under these condition that we have false security … and its then that the enemy pounces … and like Antiochus was towards those he conquered, so the devil is to those who let their guards down … he is ruthless! This is the reason Peter continues:
1Pe 5:9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
(1) No Christian is an island suffering or struggling alone against the enemy. We all do!
(2) So, both individually and corporately we need to
(a) Resist the devil. We need to stand against him. There is no victory without a fight!
(b) How do you fight? Standing steadfast on the Gospel.
Help me, Lord, to trust You. Amen.