Introduction: You have an important meeting with a VP; the noon appointment is at an upscale restaurant in a mall. You drive 200 miles and arrive at this huge complex 15 minutes early. But there are three levels of stores, escalators, branches going off in all directions. You get to the mall with about 15 minutes to spare, park your car, and go in. And this place is huge! Three levels of stores and escalators and branches going off in all directions. Fast-food restaurants, a theater, pushcart entrepreneurs with their necktie displays. You realize there’s no way you’re going to find your appointment place—not with two miles of busy hallways to navigate. Then you see that welcome sign: a map or “legend” which shows where every store is, every escalator and restroom and eatery. And three more wonderful words: You Are Here.
Reality: When you’re on a trip and looking at a map, it doesn’t do any good unless you know where you are! Which off-ramp you take depends on which freeway you’re on. You’ve got to know where you are before you can proceed into the future.
Our Three Great Questions:
1. Where did I come from?
2. What am I doing here?
3. Where am I going?
These three questions focus on our place in human history. You Are Here is core to our very identity as God’s people.
No Destination . . . No Problem! If a person goes to the mall just to window-shop and kill three hours, you wouldn’t need a map. “You Are Here”? “Who cares? I’m not going anywhere.”
Literature Illustration: The Alice of Alice in Wonderland asks the Cat: “Where should I go from here?” “Where do you want to get to?” “I don’t really care.” “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” the Cat says. Life is like that. If you don’t care where you’re going, then knowing where you are right now is no big deal. You can simply live your seventy years and pile up more toys than your neighbor before you die, like it says on the bumper sticker. But most of us want to know: where am I now? The answer to that tells you how to get to tomorrow—and to all your tomorrows.
God Is in the Map-Making Business. (Or NavStar). He’s not a God of confusion, secrets, or surprises. He wants His children to know both who they are and where they are. And here’s a map we should pay attention to:
II Peter 1:19: We have also a more sure word of prophecy (KJV). We have the words of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (NIV).
A Map of Centuries
Adventists are familiar with the great prophetic image of Daniel 2, where Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a great image staring down at him: head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, feet of part iron, part clay. And then the great stone coming down, smashing the statue, filling the whole earth. God’s servant, Daniel, was called in to interpret the dream after the king forgot it.
Daniel wisely credits God with sovereignty and a desire to reveal truth to His earthly subjects. “God changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him” (v. 21, 22). “There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries” (v. 28).
Accuracy: Daniel 2 is one of the wide-screen, digital Dolby maps of all time, telling in a few thrilling verses the past and future history of the world. Four juggernaut kingdoms, one after the other, with global reigns spanning more than 1,000 years, both B.C. and A.D.
5. Mixed nations of Europe
Reminder: this “map” was given during the reign of Babylon’s king, the first of the kingdoms. This isn’t Monday-morning quarterbacking: this is tantamount to predicting the Super Bowl winner in the year 2050.
Can We Have Confidence in This Map?
The four kingdoms rose up and crashed down just as predicted. We’ve had the nations of Europe for many centuries. And in all that time, seven words of this prophecy/map have ruled the pages of history: “They Shall Not Cleave One To Another.”
Adventist Broadcaster Henry Feyerabend: His Daniel study guide outlines the intermarrying schemes of virtually every single monarch and royal heir and king and queen and prince and princess in all of Europe. The “mingling of seed” in Europe, for the purpose of political unity, has been tried for the last millennium without success.
Love Or War: Feyerabend also describes the seven major political or military attempts to unite Europe. Charlemagne, Charles V, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, Adolph Hitler, and today’s continuing move toward the European Common Market. It’s never happened, and it never will, says this global map in Daniel.
You Are Here: Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar, “You Are Here.” “You are this head of gold, O King. Here’s your place in history.” But this dream has a similar message for us. You Are Here. Here at the end. Here in the image’s toes, just moments before the stone cut out without hands descends from above and shatters the world’s empires and human endeavors. The stone signifying the Second Coming Jesus. We are in Mile 26 of the Marathon; it’s two minutes before midnight. If this was a mall map, we’d find that warning, “You Are Here,” at the very far end of the mall. Right at the exit doors leading to something glorious that is beyond our imagination.
Appeal: God tells us so that we will know. He tells us to give us confidence. But most of all, He tells us so that we will move. There’s no more time to wander aimlessly looking in the shop windows. Right now’s the time to take up our maps and finish our journey.
Submitted by David B. Smith. Better Sermons © 2005-2008. Click here for usage guidelines.