Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Only God Can Truly Reveal the Future

The Mind Body Spirit Festival came to Sydney's Darling Harbour at the beginning of May. The Festival is a travelling celebration of New Age and alternative therapies with a sprinkling of motivational coaching, cooking and beauty therapies thrown in. One of the draw-cards of the festival (attended by thousands) is the ready access to a large number of 'Psychics' who promise to 'Delve deep into the things you want to know about your career, love, relationships, family and finances.' While not all would claim to be able to tell the future, that is certainly how they are promoted at the MBS Festival.

The interest in future-telling (or fortune-telling) continues to be widespread and popular. The wikipedia article on the topic suggests there are over 40 different methods practitioners use - from Astrology and Clairvoyance to Tarot Cards and the ancient art of I Ching. While some claim to use the ancient arts you can of course use modern technology to get your fortune over the phone or online!

In ancient Babylon the Kings kept many wise men in their employ who were also expected to be able to 'read the signs' and get insight into the future. Of particular significance were the interpretation of dreams. Archaeologists have found a number of large books that show just how complicated dream interpretation could be.

In the famous story of Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2), the King is said to be disturbed by his dreams and so demands his wise men not only to interpret the dream but to tell him what his dream was. When they protest at the impossibility of the task he orders them to be executed - and it appears that Daniel will be among those who die. So Daniel and his friends pray to God and ask for the dream to be revealed to them. Daniel then reveals the dream to the King and gives its interpretation.

When the King has heard what Daniel has to say he responds in awe, saying: The king's words represent a profound understanding of God's sovereignty. The Lord - Yahweh, the God of Israel - is the God above all other so-called gods. No doubt the wise men of Babylon called on their gods to reveal the King's dream, but they did not. The authority and power of the Lord is far greater than any other god, because he alone determines the future. In the same way the Lord is the Lord of Kings. He holds Kings and kindoms in his hand and he determines when they rise and fall.
"Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.” (Dan 2:47) 

In the same way, it is the Lord alone who is the 'revealer of mysteries'. Only he can truly reveal the future, because he owns the future. And God has told us everything we need to know about the future through his Son in the Scriptures. Of course, he has not revealed everything that can be known about the future, but he has revealed what is most important - especially the truth about the coming judgment, the eternal reign of the Lord Jesus and the salvation that is available through him. If God hasn't revealed it in his Word, then we don't need to know it.

So why would we go looking for knowledge of the future from anyone other than the Lord, the only 'revealer of mysteries'? Anyone else who claims to have knowledge of the future that does not come from him is a phony!

It is natural for humans to be concerned about the future, but the solution is not to try and find out as much about the future as we can so that we can try and control our own destinies. What God calls us to do is to 'seek first his kingdom' - to listen to his Word and to trust him. Then we can be confident that whatever our future holds we will be safe in him. 

1 comment:

  1. My sermon on Daniel 2 is on our church website, here: