In addition to Future Grace, I am reading the Reformed Expository Commentary on Daniel by Iain Duguid. I’m certain that God ordained for me to be reading these at the same time during the month of October in 2008.
The lessons of God’s sovereignty regarding the setting up and tearing down of kingdoms in the book of Daniel have encouraged and strengthened my spirit. God sustained Daniel through many government transitions; He will sustain his people today, even me. (To say that I’m anxious about this election would be an understatement. Don’t get me started on the recent posturings involving Russia, China, and Hugo Chavez — it makes my stomach hurt.) God has challenged me to assess my moorings. When all of my props are stripped away, where lies my hope? My soul is secure in Christ, not my government. The promises of God in Christ, which Piper so beautifully extols in Future Grace, are sure. My heart and soul find rest in those precious promises.
The encouragement to pray is a major theme in both books, too. Daniel was faithful to pray for his countrymen and to seek to understand the events of his day. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, Paul wrote to the Ephesian church. We take our stand in prayer because the real war is taking place in the spiritual realm. It was true in Daniel’s day and it is true in ours. The following quote comes from the Daniel REC:
“In contrast to Paul’s urging to pray always and with all kinds of prayers and requests, we tend instead to pray rarely with small kinds of requests. Our prayers are often limited by small imaginations and little faith. We don’t pray for big things, because we don’t really believe in our heart of hearts that God can or will do them. This is especially true during those difficult and discouraging times when life is hard and spiritual progress seems so slow. We pray for small sinners to become Christians, but not for big sinners. We pray for victory over the small sins in our lives, while we leave those large ingrained sinful habits untouched. We pray for change in our small corner of our state but not in the country at large, or throughout the world. Wake up your vision! This is the great and mighty God whom we serve. He causes kingdoms to rise and kingdoms to fall. He controls the detailed events of world history, as we shall see in Daniel 11. And this God chooses to work in response to the prayers of his people.” (Duguid, 188)