With the book of Daniel, we had the challenge of creating a broad enough theme to capture all the stories that are recounted about the writer as well as the apocalyptic latter chapters which introduce some scary looking beasts and oft-debated timelines and meanings. Not to mention the applications that Austin and others will draw from the text for our congregation.
So we settled on God’s sovereignty as the main theme that Daniel is trying to communicate to us today. Whether it’s in Daniel and his friends personal lives or in the affairs of the great empires of the world, God shows His ability to control the course of history and establish His rule and reign with absolute surety. He has dominion in all things and no one else can even come close, not even the most powerful kings and empires the world has ever produced.
From a human perspective, dominion or sovereignty is usually depicted with a regal crest or insignia that has an eagle or lion on it. The colors are bold and the presentation is often meant to inspire and intimidate those who look at it. Sports teams will often have an all black version of their uniform to inspire fear in the other team. Our military and law enforcement wear uniforms to show their unity and strength. It’s meant to communicate something about the sovereign who has put this image out into the world. And most sovereigns have the need to show a strong front even when they might personally feel weak.
Put another way, many men and women have given their lives under our flag. It’s not the flag itself but rather what it symbolizes.
From what I understand of God, I don’t believe He has the same need to communicate His power and sovereignty like earthly kings and kingdoms. I believe He wields power in much the same way as we draw breath. None of us think about it, we just breathe. Now that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t display His power to us in ways that we understand as amazing and awe-inspiring, it just means He doesn’t NEED to communicate it for His own benefit or to prop up His ego.
So with that as background context, you will notice the attached graphic has a summer-time vibe. We chose a color palette that would reflect the season we are currently in as well as a way to turn the earthly way of communicating dominion on its head. Dominion for God is as easy as sipping a glass of iced tea on the beach underneath a palm tree. He doesn’t break a sweat as He controls the earth and everything in it. While none of us actually has God’s true perspective on sovereignty, I’d like to think this artistic approach would spark conversation on the differences between human and divine perspectives. Our culture and Hollywood have contributed to the notion that there is a battle between good and evil and boy, do we hope the good side wins! In a very subtle way, we may have placed God on the same level as the rest of us. Just another contender for the title, just another person I need to control to get what I want, etc….But He was before all things and in Him all things hold together. Now to the image….
The waves and the sun represent the earth/universe of which God has dominion over. And the 10 squiggles and geometric shapes represent the ten-horned beast (kings or kingdoms) that are mentioned in Daniel 7 who are subdued and overpowered by One like a son of man. The relative simplicity of the squiggles and shapes makes me think of how God must look at the plans and designs of man’s empires.
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed”. Daniel 7:13-14