Manna for Today

 

Turn Back to God (Daniel 4:28-37)

 

33 Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.

34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.

His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.

35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”

36 At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.  (Daniel 4:33-37)

Learn it:

            We now learn how King Nebuchadnezzar responds to Daniel’s warning.  The king goes through a season of things going so well where his nation is growing bigger, stronger and more beautiful.  It is at this moment of great pride that the Lord steps in and strikes the king with this disease.  His appearance completely changes, and he loses his mind during this time.  The king is humbled and spends seven periods of time living as an animal.

            Once his mind is restored, he lifts his eyes to heaven, and he recognized that the Lord controlled all things and his kingdom will last forever.  The king was then restored to his previous position as king and he became even stronger than before.  He gave glory to God for all of his ways are just and he is able to humble the prideful.  It’s hard to know for certain if King Nebuchadnezzar was a true believer in the Lord.  It is been debated between scholars for generations but what we do know is he had a real experience with God. 

Live it:

            The point of this story is to show the difference between an earthly king and the heavenly king.  The earthly king sees himself as the most powerful ruler on the earth and nothing can stop him.  Then the heavenly ruler, God, displays that he controls all things.  He can humble anyone he chooses.  He can take away and then give it back again.  He does this at times to get our minds focused back on who He is.  Sometimes God sends us through trials to help us get back into a better place with Him.  If you are going through a tough season right now turn to Jesus.  Recognize Him as the provider of all things and nothing else will satisfy.  Give glory to God for His goodness.


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Sharing the Gospel (Daniel 4:9-27)

Then Daniel (also called Belteshazzar) was greatly perplexed for a time, and his thoughts terrified him. So the king said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its meaning alarm you.”

Belteshazzar answered, “My lord, if only the dream applied to your enemies and its meaning to your adversaries!  (Daniel 4:19)

“This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king: 25 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes. 26 The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules. 27 Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”  (Daniel 4:24-27)

Learn it:      

            In this section King Nebuchadnezzar had another dream and it needs to be interpreted.  His own men are not able to interpret it and Daniel is the one that steps forward to help the king.  The meaning of this dream brings bad news to the king, so Daniel is a little hesitant to tell the king its meaning.  This king has proven to have mood swings and is willing to kill someone who disobeys him.  Giving him bad news is not a position you want to find yourself in.  Daniel was bold enough to tell the king the dream’s meaning.

            The king had grown very strong and powerful but was going to be cut down as was depicted by the tree in his dream.  Then the dream went on to describe what was going to happen him.  He was going to be stricken with mental disease where he was going to think he was a wild animal.  He would act like that for a certain period before being healed of it.  After Daniel interprets the dream, he then encourages the king to repent of his wicked ways and acknowledge the true God of Israel.

Live it:

            Sharing the gospel can be an intimidating task if we let it be.  Daniel had to share a hard truth with the king.  This king is also prone to overreacting and his mood can change in an instant.  Daniel walking up to the king would have to take into account that he might lose his job or life depending on the king’s mood.  There are people in our lives that God has placed for us to share the gospel with them.  The truth of the gospel can mean bad news for an unbeliever because it means they will spend eternity apart from God.  But and this is a big one, it can also be the best news they ever heard.  If the accept the gospel, repent and begin a relationship with Jesus, they will be saved. 

            There are people in our lives that need to hear the gospel.  We may fear that we will hurt our relationship with them, we may lose our job, or something else may happen.  Did Daniel fear those things?  Yes, but he knew what God expected from him and he obediently told the truth.  He wanted the king to know the true God no matter what it meant for his own life.  Do you want others to know the love of God through Jesus Christ?  To what lengths are you willing to go to share and show that love?


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Follow the One True God (Daniel 4:1-8)

King Nebuchadnezzar,

To the peoples, nations and men of every language, who live in all the world:

May you prosper greatly!

2 It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.

3     How great are his signs,

how mighty his wonders!

His kingdom is an eternal kingdom;

his dominion endures from generation to generation.

4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, contented and prosperous. 5 I had a dream that made me afraid. As I was lying in my bed, the images and visions that passed through my mind terrified me. 6 So I commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be brought before me to interpret the dream for me. 7 When the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners came, I told them the dream, but they could not interpret it for me. 8 Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)  (Daniel 4:1-8)

Learn it:

            Chapter 4 is an interesting one because it is the only writing in the Bible that is written by a pagan!  Most of this section is written from the viewpoint of King Nebuchadnezzar.  It starts out as a letter where Nebuchadnezzar is giving glory and praise to God.  He recognizes that God is doing works and miracles among him.  Then he shifts gears in verse four and begins to tell of another dream that he had.  Again, he turns to his own magicians and enchanters, but they are unable to interpret the dream for him.  Then Daniel comes in and gives the king some hope. 

            In verse eight the Nebuchadnezzar felt it was important to remind us what his Babylonian name was and the meaning behind it.  His new name was Belteshazzar which is the name of the Babylonian God he worshipped.  Nebuchadnezzar also recognized that there was a spirit of a holy god within Daniel.  Unfortunately, the king did not recognize that it was the one true God.  Even though he has seen the God of Israel do miracles he still believed in other false gods, so he was still not a true follower of the Lord. 

Live it:

            When a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ they must repent from their sin and turn from following false gods.  We can tell that Nebuchadnezzar is probably not a true follow of God because he the language he uses in this passage shows that he still recognizes the powers of other false gods.  The Bible makes it clear that there is only one true God.  He is the one that came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ and his followers are to follow Him alone.  We should not worship idols.  We must look to Jesus for hope and nothing else can satisfy us but Him alone.


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Trial by Fire (Daniel 3)

Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”  (Daniel 3:14-18)

Learn it:

            King Nebuchadnezzar was inspired by his dream to build a statue to have his people worship.  He gathered all of the people in his court to its unveiling and have them worship it.  In the crowd were Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  These three Jews refused to bow down and they were about to be made an example for their disobedience to the king.  How they responded to the king in verses 16-18 are some of the strongest statements of faith in the Bible.  They were not compelled to defend themselves on their obedience to the LORD God.  They knew exactly what the king was threatening to do to them if they refused his orders again. 

            Their faith was so strong in God that they believed He had the power to save them but if God chose not to save them, they still would not worship the image the king had made.  There would have been several ways for them to rationalize pretending to worship the idol to save themselves.  They decided to boldly trust in God and live with integrity.  In an amazing miracle God protected them in this blazing furnace.  Not only did he protect them, but he was there with them in the furnace.  When they came out their robes were not singed, and they did not even smell like a fire!  What a display of God’s power in protecting those who call on His name. 

Live it:

            In out lives there are many things wanting our allegiance or attention.  With popular opinion pulling us in one direction we need to stop and look around.  Is this something that is glorifying God or something else?  It would have been hard for these three young men to refuse to worship this idol.  The king was commanding everyone to do it and they worked for the king.  Everyone around them was doing it so their disobedience would have been very noticeable.  Most people do not like to stick out or go against the majority.  As Christians we are called to stand firm in Christ and his teachings.  We worship Him and Him alone.  It means we will face some tough times. 

             Even though people may disagree with us and try to harm us it doesn’t mean we get to fight back.  Jesus also called us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:43-48).  The young Jews were not confrontational with the king.  The king was irate and irrational.  They were calm and willingly accepted what was coming.  We are called to love our enemies and pray for them.  Even when we are not being treated fairly, we need to remain calm and display the love of Christ to them.  No matter what the consequences may be.  God will be with us and give us the comfort we need. 


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Pastor’s Corner