Revive Our Hearts Podcast

— Audio Player —

When You Need Stability (Conclusion)

Dannah Gresh: Next time you see a crisis unfold, realize it could be a chance for God to show His glory. Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: If we believe the Heaven rules, then  we will see every crisis as an opportunity for the impotence of the gods of this world to be exposed and for the greatness and the power of God to be displayed.

Dannah: This is the Revive Our Hearts podcast with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Surrender: The Heart God Controls, for October 15, 2021. I’m Dannah Gresh.

In the book of Daniel, the tumult and violence of our world is on dramatic display. But Daniel also shows us why we can stand on the solid rock of God’s truth when the world is in turmoil. Nancy’s been leading us through a study of Daniel, showing us why we need people who put God’s wisdom on display. In Hebrew, the word for wisdom is sakal (sahow). Nancy will remind us how to live out that wisdom in our day. Let’s listen together. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: Everynight as we’re getting ready to go to sleep, Robert prays and he just thanks the Lord for the day and prays for a number of family members and friends that are on our hearts. The other night Robert started his prayer with these words, “Lord, our world is upside down.” It’s true. And when he said that, it brought to mind the book of Daniel, that we’ve been soaking in for the past few weeks. 

The world in which Daniel lived was upside down. It was proud, idolatrous, and pagan to the core. But that’s nothing new. Our world has been upside down ever since Genesis chapter 3. Sin is the individual and the collective default of the human race. I sin, we sin. And in this world, that’s upside down—wicked people prosper and godly people suffer. It’s upside down.

I don’t know if it gives you hope or not, and I don’t want to be discouraging, but the fact is that the world will always be upside down until Jesus returns to turn it right side up—creating a new earth and establishing His eternal kingdom here on earth. So in the meantime, how did those who know and love God survive? And can we really thrive in a world that’s upside down? 

I think of Daniel who lived and worked in Babylon from the time he was a young teen until he was in his late 80s. His life spanned across the rise and fall of multiple kings and dominate world empires. Those kings, those kingdoms came and went, but Daniel outlasted it all. He outlasted the politics, the palace intrigue, one godless regime after another. Daniel knew that no earthly king was ultimate. He knew that the God he served was the true and supreme King, with a capital “K.” Daniel was living for eternity and for the kingdom of God that will never end.

Through thick and thin, whether he was young or old, whoever was in power at the time, whatever was going on, he remained steadfastly devoted to his God. And through it all, he sought the well-being of his Jewish people, both those who were in exile and those who were back in Jerusalem. He also sought the well-being of the kings under whom he served. Some of whom were just beasts. They were terrible people, and Daniel served them well. He exhibited quiet confidence. 

Freedom from fear, courage, integrity, and usefulness, and as a result, kings sought him out for his wisdom. God gave Daniel skill, wisdom, and insight. Remember the word that is nine times in the book of Daniel? Remember the Hebrew word sakal? He was a man who had sakal, insight and wisdom and that made him a light in a dark place, which we saw in the last chapter of Daniel. Those who have sakal, those who have insight and wisdom will shine as stars forever and ever. 

God made Daniel a light in a dark place, but it still seems that many times the wicked prevail. Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and the other kings of Daniel’s era were powerful figures in their world and in their day. But where are they today? Who knows, or cares about, or respects them today? Who names their kids after them? What lasting difference have those kings made in this world? The empires they built lie in ruins today. 

On the other hand, Daniel, who was a captive forced to serve these kings, left a lasting mark on the history of God’s people in this world because he lived his life not for this world but for another world. He served the God who made and controls this world. 

Now, you tell me, who is the more influential figure? See, we say the wicked prevail, but that’s short-term thinking. In the long-term those who are sakal, those who have wisdom and insight, and understanding, those who have the life of God in Christ within them and live for God’s kingdom, they are the ones who shine as stars. 

These kings sought power and control and worship for themselves. Daniel humbled himself, and he resolved to worship no one other than God. Those who exalted themselves, all those kings and their kingdoms, they have been humbled, and they are no more. But this man, Daniel, who exalted his God rather than himself, he humbled himself, still stands tall in the pages of human history. And he inspires us to believe and to follow his God. 

I’ve been thinking about this as we come to the end of this series, Daniel’s life demonstrates the beauty and the power of believing that Heaven rules. Not just believing it in an instance but believing it over the course of a long fruitful lifetime. 

Psalm 112 says, beginning in verse 1, 

Happy is the person who fears the LORD . . . He will never be shaken. The righteous one will be remembered forever. He will not fear bad news; His heart is confident, trusting in the LORD. His heart is assured; he will not fear. In the end he will look in triumph on his foes.” (vv. 1, 6)

You could put Daniel’s name, Daniel’s picture next to that passage in Psalm 112. And you could put the name and the picture of the people of God. Heaven rules. We’ve seen this theme of Heaven rules throughout the book of Daniel, and when we say Heaven rules, what we’re really saying is God rules

I want to ask you to open your Bible or scroll in your Bible if you don’t have a copy of it there with you right now. I want to take you just on a quick journey. Some sampling of the high points we’ve seen in this book, reminding us that Heaven rules. 

And I want to follow along, I’m going to move quickly, so I’ll give you the references, and I want to hear those pages turning. Daniel chapter 2, beginning in verse 20. I’ve got most of these circled in my Bible, you may want to do that. 

May the name of God be praised forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to him. He changes the times and seasons; he removes kings and establishes kings. (Dan. 2:20)

Go down to verse 44, 

“. . . the God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself endure forever.”

Then flip over to chapter 4. 

His kingdom is an eternal kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation. (v. 3) 

The Most High is ruler over human kingdoms. He gives them to anyone he wants and sets the lowliest of people over them. (v. 17) 

The Most High is ruler over human kingdoms, and he gives them to anyone he wants. (v. 25)

Your kingdom will be restored to you [he said to Nebuchadnezzar] as soon as you acknowledge that Heaven rules. (v. 26)

That’s where we got the title for this series, “Heaven Rules.” Verse 34 of chapter 4, now Nebuchadnezzar is speaking and he says, 

“Then I praised the Most High and honored and glorified him who lives forever: For his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation . . . he does what he wants with the army of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can block his handor say to him, ‘What have you done?’ . . . all his works are true and his ways are just.” (vv. 34–35, 37) 

And I’ve got this one underlined, “He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” (v. 37) Nebuchadnezzar, me, or you, He is able to humble those who are in pride, because Heaven rules. 

Look at chapter 5, verse 21: 

The Most High God is ruler over human kingdoms and sets anyone he wants over them. 

Look at chapter 6, verse 26: 

He is the living God, and he endures forever; his kingdom will never be destroyed, and his dominion has no end. He rescues and delivers.

That’s a theme throughout the book of Daniel. God who rules in heaven rescues and delivers. Praise God He does! “He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth.” (v. 27)

Look at chapter 7 verse 13:

“Suddenly one like a son of man was coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before him. He was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.” (vv. 13–14)

And then look at verse 27 of chapter 7: 

“The kingdom, dominion, and greatness of the kingdoms under all of heaven will be given to the people, the holy ones of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers [all rulers . . . put the name of every wicked evil ruler who has ever lived and some who live and rule today] will serve and obey him.” 

Can I hear a “hallelujah”? Amen. Heaven rules.

So as we’re bringing this series to a close, I’ve been thinking about some of the key implications of the fact that Heaven rules. Some of the key themes and takeaways in the book of Daniel. I hope you’ve been thinking of those as we’ve doing this study. Let me just give you some examples that we see in the book of Daniel. This contest between the gods of this world, lowercase “g,” and the true and living God. It’s a battle for worship. But we find that the gods of this world are no match for God, because Heaven rules. 

Let me give you an example of that. In Daniel chapter 3, Nebuchadnezzar says to the three Hebrew young me, “If you don’t worship [my image], you will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire—and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?” That’s an arrogant king speaking. 

But listen to Nebuchadnezzar in verse 28 of the same chapter, “Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, ‘Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel and rescued his servants who trusted in him.’” 

See the change? He said, “Who is the god who can rescue you from my power?” And then he says, “Praise be to the God who sent His angel and rescued His servants, who’ve trusted in Him.” God wins . . . every time! 

Throughout the book of Daniel, we see kingdoms in conflict. We see the enemies of God flex their muscles and bare their arms, and God gives them power for a while . . . but only for a while. There’s no need for us to fret. We know the end of the story; we know that their power will be crushed. We know that desolators will be destroyed. We read that in Daniel. We know that the meek will inherit the earth. 

We also see in Daniel that which seems strong and permanent to us is not forever. God will crush all earthly opposition. Kingdoms of man will crumble, but the kingdom of God is forever. We see in the book of Daniel it’s so important that we have the long view; that we not draw conclusions based on what we can see now from our finite vantage point. Things look pretty awful right now in our world, but don’t draw your conclusions based on what you can see, what you can read in the news. You need the long view. We need to remember that God has a plan for all of history, for all nations, for all of eternity. He knows all about that plan, and there’s most of it that we do not know. He reveals little parts of it, as He deems best, but we have to trust Him for all that we can’t see and don’t know over the long view.

We’ve seen throughout the book of Daniel that there are demonic forces and even Satan himself behind proud and evil governments—motivating them, stirring them up. We see that the powers of darkness are active, at work, in nations, in leaders, and in marriages, in families, and churches. But that shouldn’t discourage us. We need to remember God will win. God is more powerful than they are. Heaven rules.

Now, do we really believe that Heaven rules? And do we live as if Heaven rules or earth rules? How would our lives look different if we really did believe that Heaven rules?

Let me give you some thoughts from the book of Daniel, and this is just to get you started. I want you to come up with some of your own. 

If we believe that Heaven rules, we will resolve to live as holy people of a holy God rather than assimilating into the culture around us. Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the king’s food when he was a young teenager in Daniel chapter 1. Do you think that prepared and equipped him for a lifetime of temptation? Heaven rules. It causes us to resolve to live as holy people. 

If we believe that Heaven rules, we won’t panic or despair when it looks like the enemies of God are winning, or when hard things happen, or when our freedoms are threatened, or when comforts are removed from us. Think about Daniel and his friends being taken into captivity as young teenage boys, threatened when they refused to obey the king’s evil edicts. They didn’t panic, they didn’t despair, because they believed that Heaven rules. 

If we believe that Heaven rules, we will have courage. We won’t give into pressure to conform to compromise to bow to the gods of this world. And when necessary, we will be willing to courageously resist evil and evil laws. 

If we believe that Heaven rules, we will be praying people. We’ve seen that in the book of Daniel an amazing prayer life that’s been opened to me, as I’ve been studying Daniel. Because if there is a God and He rules, then you better be asking Him for help and for answers, looking to Him rather than looking to the government or the king or anyone else to meet your needs. 

If we believe that Heaven rules, we will be people of hope versus people who are perpetually outraged against the culture. I thought of this recently, just a few days ago, when I watched a video that was one of the most frontal assaults I’ve ever seen on truth and God’s design for gender and sexuality and family. It was heartbreaking. We see things like that and we can go on a rant on social media, or we can pray, “Lord have mercy and give us wisdom, insight, skill, sakal, to shine Your light in darkness.”

If we believe that Heaven rules, we will be humble people. We will have a right view of God and a right view of ourselves and others. 

If we believe that Heaven rules, we won’t feel we have to control the people or the circumstances around us.

If we believe that Heaven rules, we will serve faithfully wherever God puts us, even in a pagan environment. 

If we believe that Heaven rules, we will be steadfast and calm when our culture is chaotic and out of control.

If we believe that Heaven rules, we will believe that God can change the heart of the most proud, ungodly leader, as He changed Nebuchadnezzar’s heart. I can still remember my dad saying there are no tough nuts for God to crack, and he believed that because he had been a tough nut. God softened his heart and converted and changed his life. 

If we believe that Heaven rules, we’ll believe that He can change the leaders’ hearts, including leaders today. I don’t know that there are too many who are a whole lot worse than Nebuchadnezzar was—proud, arrogant, wicked—but God can change their hearts. 

If we believe that Heaven rules, we will see every crisis in our world and in our lives as an opportunity for the impotence of the gods of this world to be exposed and for the greatness and the power of God to be displayed. It’s an opportunity for people to see how powerful God really is.

Now, I want to say one more thing here, if you don’t believe that Heaven rules, as King Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way in Daniel chapter 4, you may lose your sanity. He did. I love that verse in chapter 4, verse 34 where Nebuchadnezzar says, “I looked up to heaven and my sanity returned to me.” You may lose your mind if you don’t believe that Heaven rules, because you can’t make any sense out of what’s going on in this world. But if you feel like you have lost your mind and you want to know how to get it back, look up to Heaven. That’s when our sanity returns. 

Heaven rules in the macro and in the micro. I want to spend just a few moments unpacking that. 

Heaven rules in macro. Heaven/God rules:

  • over the world powers, over nations, over governments, over kings 
  • over all of history—past, present, and future
  • over the geopolitical spheres and affairs of our world 
  • over dictators and despots 
  • over elections and dynasties and political parties
  • over the world economics 
  • over the world of nature
  • over weather patterns and storms and changes in the climate 
  • over the planets in orbit—He keeps them spinning and from running into each other 
  • over seasons—He controls the temperature on earth that makes it such that we can live on earth
  • over the sun—He keeps it exactly the right distance from the earth to sustain life and keep us from being incinerated 
  • and on and on . . . 


Heaven rules. There’s a maco, big picture sense in which Heaven rules.

But Heaven also rules in the micro, the details of our personal lives. Heaven rules over:

  • hurts and wounds that no one else knows about 
  • loss of jobs 
  • loss of finances—unexpected bills, cars breaking down, how will you ever afford retirement?
  • unfulfilled longing for a godly mate or for a child 
  • miscarriages and stillborn babies 
  • what is done to us and how others wrong us 
  • health issues 
  • relational challenges 
  • prodigal children 
  • inattentive mates and unfaithful husbands 

Heaven rules, in the macro and in the micro. 

And that thought that Heaven rules is not a glib or a trite or a superficial sentiment. It’s not a fatalistic view of the very real difficulties and heartaches of life in this world. It’s not que será será. Heaven rules, rather it’s a deep settled rest and confidence that what we read in Psalm 139 is true, “All my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began” (v. 16). Heaven rules. 

He knows it all. He orders it all—our world, our days, our steps. It all matters to Him, and He can be trusted with it all. He’s got the whole world in His hands—from tiny splinters to life threatening surgeries; from coughs and colds to cancer; from the economy to elections to earthquakes; from earth-shattering news in our world to life-altering events in our personal worlds. Heaven rules. 

It’s true for a friend who is grieving today because her twenty-two-year-old son, their only child, died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. 

It’s true for my friends, Nathan and Katie Bollinger. For the past ten years or so, Nathan has served on the ROH team as videographer. I’ve watched as Nathan and Katie met and married and as God blessed them with three beautiful children. Nathan has been behind the scenes, behind the wall over there these last weeks, directing the crew that’s been videotaping this series on "Heaven Rules."

During this time Nathan and Katie were expecting their fourth child. As far as they knew, everything was fine. One Saturday afternoon, just two days before the baby was due, Katie realized that she couldn’t feel the baby moving—a mother’s worst nightmare. She and Nathan went to the hospital where they received the heartbreaking news that their precious baby did not have a heartbeat. They immediately induced labor, and while she was in labor, they FaceTimed their other children at home who had eagerly anticipated the birth of their new little brother. They shared with them that baby Samuel would not be coming home with them. Nathan said it was the hardest day of his life. 

In twenty-four hours, Katie and Nathan were holding the lifeless body of their baby boy. The children came into the hospital to meet him, to hold him, before they released his body. At the end of that week, Robert and I joined a lot of other friends and family members at one of the most moving funeral services I have ever seen. There was a casket the size of a shoebox at the front of that church. It was weeping, mingled with worship. It was deep pain and heartfelt praise. 

On the day that Katie delivered the baby, I was texting with Nathan’s mom. She sent me a picture of the small whiteboard on the wall of hospital room where they write the names of the nurses on duty. And at the top of that board Nathan had written, “Heaven rules, and Samuel is there.” Heaven rules. It’s one thing to say it; it’s another thing to believe it. And it’s a spectacular act of worship and faith to cling to that reality when God’s ways are painful and unfathomable and you’ve lost one that you love so dearly. I watched this precious couple live out the reality, the confidence that Heaven rules. 

Yesterday, I got a text from a friend who’s dealing with a complex, messy family situation that has gone on for years. I was preparing for this session, and she sent me a text that just caught my eye.

She wrote, “Why? Why? How does the Lord let this go on and on? And why do they not see how ugly this is?”

Those are the two things that Daniel wanted to know—how long and what will be the outcome? And God’s answer was wait—wait till the end. Keep on going until the end. And then here’s the promise: You will rest; you will be raised, and you will be rewarded. We saw that yesterday in Daniel 12. 

  • Those cruel family members will not have the final say. 
  • Your pressures and problems and pain will not have the final say. 
  • Those who mock God and reject His truths will not have the final say. 
  • Those who persecute the people of God will not have the final say. 
  • Wicked rulers will not have the final say. 
  • Sin will not have the final say. 
  • Demons will not have the final say.
  • Death will not have the final say. 

The Most High God will have the final say. Say it with me, “Heaven rules.” Say it again, “Heaven rules.” And again, like you mean it, “Heaven rules.” Amen. 

Thank You, Lord, for the wonder and wisdom, the beauty of Your Word, and how You comfort and challenge and convict our hearts to live out what it means to really believe that Heaven rules. Through our tears, through the mysteries and the things we can’t explain this side of heaven, through it all we affirm with Daniel and with Your saints through the years, through the ages, and with joy and thanksgiving, Heaven rules. Amen. 

Dannah: Oh, may we never forget: Heaven rules during the most difficult days of our lives. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been showing us that as she’s been wrapping up the series “Heaven Rules.” If you missed any of the episodes in this series, you can hear them through the Revive Our Hearts app or on ReviveOurHearts.com.

Anytime we talk about needing the wisdom of God, it reminds me of something the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians chapter 1. He said that Jesus Christ is “the power of God and the wisdom of God.” That’s an amazing thought! If we want to have the kind of wisdom Daniel sought, we can find it best shown to us in Jesus Himself. He is Wisdom in the flesh! And that’s why we make a big deal about the upcoming Christmas season. Jesus became a human being to show us what the prophet Daniel could only grasp at: Wisdom is a Person, and His name is Jesus.

One way you can remind yourself of the truth about Christ this Advent season is through a set of Advent cards. These are not cards you send in the mail to friends. These are cards you display in your home. There are thirty-one of them, one for each day in December. And each card has a Scripture passage and short devotional thought from Nancy on it, taken from her book The First Songs of Christmas.

This month, as a thank you for your donation of any size to support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, we’ll send you the Advent cards cards, along with a coupon code for a discount on that Advent devotional by Nancy, The First Songs of Christmas. Get to know Wisdom in the flesh this coming holiday season. To donate, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. When you contact us, ask about the advent cards and coupon code for Nancy’s book.

Speaking of Christmas, that makes me think of gifts. I wonder, those of you who are still in the active years of mothering, do you see the gifts God has given you in motherhood? If sometimes they are hard to see, next week Laura Booz will be with us. She'll be borrowing from Psalm 34 and other key passages to help you see the good gifts in motherhood. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts!

Nancy reminds us that Heaven rules and give us freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

All Scripture is taken from the CSB.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Support the Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Darkness. Fear. Uncertainty. Women around the world wake up hopeless every day. You can play a part in bringing them freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness instead. Your gift ensures that we can continue to spread gospel hope! Donate now.

Donate Now

About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

About the Host

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.