It is interesting how many foreign, godless, oppressive rulers receive messages from God. Begin with Abimelech in Gen. 20, warned in a dream that the woman he had taken wasn’t really Abraham’s sister but his wife. Next, we find Pharaoh of Egypt who had a message from God in the form of a dream. Seven fat crops are swallowed up by seven skinny crops, and seven fat cows are swallowed up by seven skinny cows. God sends the ruler of Egypt a warning about a coming famine. And just in Daniel alone we’ve found Nebuchadnezzer dreaming about a statue with feet of clay, and a tree that covers the whole land yet is chopped down. His son Belshazzar has an encounter with a disembodied finger writing a message on the wall. And the list goes on, stretching all the way to Pilate’s wife who’s dream led her to try to get Jesus pardoned rather than crucified.
Our readings in Daniel have led to a very interesting fact: though God communicated with these foreign, ungodly rulers, they could not understand the message. It took a man of God to interpret the message for them. And in this we should get a clue about our evangelistic efforts.
People outside our church, outside our denomination, even outside our faith are receiving messages from God. God speaks to everyone; we don’t have the market cornered when it comes to God’s communication with the world. This should humble us and remind us that God goes before us in all of our outreach, however creative or trailblazing we may believe ourselves to be.
But these messages will not make sense to people who don’t know the faith. While God is speaking, He is also calling us to be there when He does to interpret. This, too, should help us remain humble as we reach out, knowing our job is not to save them, or rescue them, or bring them up to our level of spiritual maturity. It is just to tell them what God means.