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Evidence of Knowing God (2)

Continuing on the “Evidence of Knowing God,” and drawing from in the book of Daniel, J. I. Packer highlights the great thoughts Daniel had of God.


2. Those who know God have great thoughts of God. . . . there is, perhaps, no more vivid or sustained presentation of the many sided reality of God’s sovereignty in the whole Bible [than Daniel].

In the face of the might and splendor of the Babylonian empire which had swallowed up Palestine and the prospect of further great world empires to follow, dwarfing Israel by every standard of human calculation, the book as a whole forms a dramatic reminder that the God of Israel is King of kings and Lord of lords, “that Heaven rules” (4:26), that God’s hand is on history at every point, that history, indeed, is no more than “his story,” the unfolding of his eternal plan, and that the kingdom which will triumph in the end is God’s.

The central truth which Daniel taught Nebuchadnezzar in chapters 2 and 4, and of which he reminded Belshazzar in chapter 5 (vv. 18–23), and which Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged in chapter 6 (vv. 25–27), and which was the basis of Daniel’s prayers in chapters 1 and 6, and of his friends” confidence in defying authority in chapter 3, and which formed the staple substance of all the disclosures which God made to Daniel in chapters 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, and 11–12, is the truth that “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms and his foreknowledge is foreordination; he, therefore, will have the last word, both in world history and in the destiny of every man; his kingdom and righteousness will triumph in the end, for neither men nor angels shall be able to thwart him.

These were the thoughts of God which filled Daniel’s mind, as witness his prayers (always the best evidence for a man’s view of God): “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and season’s; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom. He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him” (2:20–22) “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands. . . . Lord, you are righteous. . . . The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving. . . . The Lord our God is righteous in everything he does” (9:4, 7, 9, 14).

Is this how we think of God? Is this the view of God which our own praying expresses? Does this tremendous sense of his holy majesty, his moral perfection and his gracious faithfulness keep us humble and dependent, awed and obedient, as it did Daniel? By this test, too, we may measure how much, or how little, we know God.

—J. I. Packer, Knowing God (InterVarsity Press, 1993), 29–30.

Posted 2008·10·15 by David Kjos
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Posted in: J I Packer · Knowing God · Sovereignty

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