Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 27- The Most High Rules

November 27, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Daniel 4:1-37; 2 Peter 1:1-21;
Psalm 119:97-112; Proverbs 28:17-18

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven.  
~Daniel 4:37

Daniel 4:1-37

What does it take for God to get your attention?  In today's passage, we get a personal testimony from King Nebuchadnezzar about what it took for him to finally come to a saving knowledge and a personal relationship with the God of the universe. It is a dramatic story of temporary insanity. This is what it took for God to get through to this powerful man.

As our reading begins, Nebuchadnezzar sends a message to the people of his empire. It is the known world at his time and includes people of every race, nation, and language. This is the platform from which God intends to get the truth about Himself to the whole world.

The first thing that Nebuchadnezzar testifies to in his message is that God has worked miracles in his life. This God is the head of a kingdom that will last forever through all generations. This is quite  different from the reaction that Nebuchadnezzar had after his first dream of the statue. He still didn't get that the God of Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego could be his God, too, at that time.  But God sends Nebuchadnezzar another dream. God is pursuing this man.

In this dream a large tree is in the middle of the earth. It is tall and strong and reaches into heaven. The tree provides fruit for people and shelter for animals. Then the tree is cut down to a stump. Nebuchadnezzar sees that he must have the mind of an animal for seven periods of time and the purpose is to decree that the whole world know that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world.

Daniel is brought in to interpret this dream. When he hears the dream, Daniel (Beltashazzar) is discouraged that this is going to happen to his friend, the king.  Daniel relays that King Nebuchadnezzar is that tree. The king's strength and greatness grows up into heaven and he rules the ends of the earth. But the Lord has decreed that Nebuchadnezzar will be driven from human society and will live like an animal in the fields, eating grass like a cow and being drenched with dew. This will be for seven periods. After this time, the king will receive back his kingdom.  Daniel entreats Nebuchadnezzar to stop sinning and to be merciful to the poor and perhaps the Lord will not bring this upon him.  Nebuchadnezzar is given a year to repent from God, but does not. Instead, he gloats with pride over the wonderful city of Babylon, which he has built with his own hands and for his own glory. After the year, Nebuchadnezzar's insanity drives him from his kingdom and into the fields just as predicted by God.

Nebuchadnezzar testifies that after a period of time, he looks up to heaven and his sanity returned to him.  With new clarity, Nebuchadnezzar sees that the Most High God is to be honored. He acknowledges that God has an everlasting kingdom, and the power to do as He pleases. No person can challenge God. Here is Nebuchadnezzar's final testimony,
"Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble those who are proud."  Daniel 4:37
Can I get an "Amen!"? God finally got through to this man. Nebuchadnezzar's testimony was sent throughout the known world at the time. God got the glory He deserves for being the Creator and King of the earth. We see Nebuchadnezzar going from knowing about God to personally knowing God.

Do you testify of God's power to other people that you know? Do you understand that earthly governments are temporary, but God's rule is forever? How does this change your attitude about things? Does God need to go to extreme measures to humble you?

2 Peter 1:1-21

The second epistle of Peter is Peter's swan song to the Church.  It was written just prior to his martyrdom, probably in 66 AD, and is the equivalent of the Apostle Paul's letter 2 Timothy.  Peter's emphasis is that the knowledge of Jesus Christ will keep the true Church from apostasy.

The letter opens with Peter's call for believers to cherish the faith that helps them to know the Lord Jesus Christ better and better. Knowing him better is the key to possessing the divine power that gives believers the ability to live godly lives.  Peter points out that we are called to receive this power. Have you ever wondered how to escape the decadence of our age? Peter says that knowing Christ personally is the key to escaping temptation.  Here is a pattern set forth by Peter:
  • Faith produces moral excellence.
  • Moral excellence leads to knowing God better.
  • Knowing God better leads to self-control.
  • Self-control leads to patient endurance.
  • Patient endurance leads to godliness.
  • Godliness leads to loving other Christians.
  • Loving other Christians leads to loving everyone.
This is how faith grows and results in love. Peter argues that it takes hard work to prove that you are among God's chosen. The results of the hard work are the opportunity to enter the eternal Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. We saw today that Nebuchadnezzar was looking forward to this same Kingdom.

Peter says that he is going to keep reminding the Church of these truths and that his days on earth are numbered. Peter reminds them that he was with Christ as God confirmed that Jesus is His beloved Son.  He was with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. This man knows that of which he speaks! He is a witness. This is his testimony.

It is the Holy Spirit that prompts this truth to go out into the world.

Have you seen the pattern that Peter laid out occur in your life?  Where are you on the path of faith?

Psalm 119:97-112

God's Word/Law prompts the psalmist to be wiser than his enemies and to have more insight than his teachers.  God's Word is sweeter than honey and a lamp unto his feet. Are you guided by God's Word in your life?

Proverbs 28:17-18

In the end, the wicked are destroyed. This occurs in the future at the judgment.

What are you learning?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton 

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