Series Code: DAA
Program Code: DAA017004A
00:25 Hello and welcome once again to Daniel All Access.
00:30 Our chapter-by-chapter walk through the book of Daniel
00:34 and the prophecies that are therein
00:37 but more than just looking at the prophetic landscape,
00:41 asking and answering the question, "What"
00:43 we want to seek to ask and answer "Why"
00:46 why these things happened...
00:47 we want to take a look at the people, the places, the times
00:50 and then try to mine as best we can
00:54 what these prophecies have to say to us
00:57 here in the latter stages of the history of this earth
01:01 so, I thank you for joining us.
01:02 Tonight we want to look at Daniel chapter 4.
01:07 The title of the message is,
01:10 "Thoughts On My Bed Visions in My Head"
01:13 and we're getting ready to bid adieu to Nebuchadnezzar
01:16 but before we say "goodbye" to him,
01:19 he has much to say to us
01:21 as we take a look at Daniel chapter 4
01:25 and try to see what God has to say to our hearts
01:29 this very night.
01:30 I ask you to join with me in prayer
01:34 as we prepare for our sitting together.
01:38 "Dear Father, we do thank you for the privilege we have
01:42 of studying the... your Word...
01:43 we know that your Word is a lamp unto our feet
01:47 and a light unto our path.
01:49 We know that there is much truth in your Word
01:52 and we ask for clarity of mind
01:56 and for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit
02:01 that we may know and understand and do
02:04 because we know that it is in the doing
02:07 that we are made like Christ Jesus
02:10 and we thank you, dear Father,
02:12 in Jesus' name, amen. "
02:16 Most Biblical scholarship agrees
02:18 that Daniel chapter 4 is autobiographical.
02:23 Nebuchadnezzar is writing for himself
02:27 about himself
02:28 and he structures his "self-revelation"
02:33 I guess, we can call it
02:34 almost in real time and... and... flashback...
02:40 it's almost as though he's... he's...
02:43 he's writing one of those air socks fill neurs
02:47 from the '40s and '50s here in the United States.
02:52 Chapter 4 opens as
02:54 an enraptured Nebuchadnezzar
02:57 and I guess, that's the way we could call it.
02:58 He... he's... he's...
03:00 he is gushing over the goodness of the Lord,
03:04 he... he opines on the goodness and greatness of Israel's God,
03:08 let's hear his words.
03:11 The Bible says, "Nebuchadnezzar the king, to all peoples,
03:17 nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:
03:22 Peace be multiplied to you.
03:25 I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders
03:29 that the high God has wrought towards me,
03:32 How great are His signs, And how mighty are His wonders!
03:37 His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
03:41 And His dominion is from generation to generation. "
03:46 These are the words of someone who is under conviction.
03:52 This is a person who is impressed
03:55 with what he sees of the power of Israel's God.
04:00 Verses 1 through 3 are praise in real time.
04:06 He is repeating now a pattern that we've seen before
04:10 and we will see it again and again,
04:13 so, he is praising God.
04:15 Then in verse 4, Nebuchadnezzar begins a... a...
04:20 dare I say... a soliloquy
04:22 in a flashback.
04:24 It is sometimes stark... it is sometimes dark...
04:28 it is stylized many times, it is earthy
04:31 but it consumes verses 4 through 10.
04:35 He is telling us somewhat after the fact
04:38 why he is praising God
04:42 and why his heart is so filled with elegant praise.
04:49 Verses 1 through 3... he is saying,
04:52 "I am praising Him and here is why... "
04:56 Now, Nebuchadnezzar begins to talk about his life
04:58 and his time,
05:00 he says, "You know, I was doing good,
05:02 things were going good in my kingdom,
05:04 I was doing good personally, things were moving along smartly
05:09 the empire was in order
05:10 all were safe... all were settled...
05:13 everybody was sound... everybody was sanguine,
05:16 we were doing very, very well
05:19 and in Daniel chapter 4 verse 5, something happens
05:24 Nebuchadnezzar says,
05:26 "I saw a dream which made me afraid,
05:31 and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head
05:37 troubled me. "
05:39 So now, here comes another dream,
05:43 everything is going along well but here is a second dream
05:49 that is sent by God to Nebuchadnezzar.
05:53 Now this is... this is important.
05:54 God is sending Nebuchadnezzar a second dream.
05:59 This alludes to the fact that maybe that first dream
06:06 didn't have its full desired effect,
06:09 so, God is sending him now a second dream.
06:12 Israel had 42 kings, you remember that?
06:16 And of the 42, if you take out Saul and David and Solomon,
06:21 you've got 19 in Israel and you've got 20 in Judah
06:25 one woman in Judah...
06:28 and of that 39, only eight were good kings.
06:34 The rest, the Bible says,
06:36 did evil in the sight of the Lord.
06:38 That's... that's a pretty sorry number
06:42 so, God now is spending, what may seem to be
06:46 an inordinate amount of time working with Nebuchadnezzar.
06:51 Now, this is very, very important for several reasons
06:56 but the one that comes to mind immediately
06:59 is this fact, Ladies and Gentlemen,
07:00 God does not waste time, amen.
07:04 God is en efficient God
07:06 if God puts in work on somebody or something,
07:09 it's going to turn out well
07:10 and you'll notice, God is spending a lot of time
07:12 on Nebuchadnezzar.
07:14 This is two dreams to a heathen king.
07:17 God took the time to send him two dreams
07:20 and both dreams troubled him.
07:22 So, he's troubled again...
07:25 they are spaced apart by a good little bit of time
07:27 but God is still wrestling with and working with Nebuchadnezzar.
07:34 So, God sends him a second dream.
07:37 The Babylonian Kingdom
07:39 was in its ascendancy for a short 70 years.
07:44 Nebuchadnezzar ruled Babylon for 40 of those 70 years.
07:48 So, for a great length of time, he was on the throne.
07:53 We are several years now into his reign
07:57 and God sends him, in mercy,
08:00 a second dream.
08:02 This one, bless your heart, he remembered,
08:06 he knew this dream...
08:07 he didn't know what it meant but he knew what he dreamed
08:11 and it scared him.
08:14 So now, he calls his constellation of wise men,
08:18 that's what they're there for,
08:19 they're on staff... they're paid...
08:23 they live at the behest of the king...
08:25 their job is to settle the king's nerves
08:28 when things happen that he does not understand,
08:31 that's their job.
08:33 Now, here's... here's something very interesting,
08:35 when I... when I discovered the connection here,
08:37 I thought it really rather interesting.
08:39 You remember in Daniel chapter 2,
08:41 Nebuchadnezzar had a dream
08:44 that he could not remember what he dreamt,
08:46 you remember that...
08:48 all right... Nebuchadnezzar says to
08:51 the wise men
08:53 tell me the dream tell me the interpretation...
08:56 the wise men say, "You tell us the dream,
09:00 we'll tell you the interpretation,
09:03 we are... we are translators or interpreters,
09:09 we are not mind readers
09:10 so, tell us the dream... we'll tell you what it means. "
09:13 Well, he doesn't remember the dream,
09:15 so they say, "Well, if you can't tell us,
09:18 we cannot tell you... "
09:19 Now, here in Daniel chapter 4, what is interesting...
09:22 if you go down to verse 18,
09:24 Nebuchadnezzar says this after he calls Daniel,
09:28 he says, "I... I told them the dream,
09:31 and they still couldn't interpret it. "
09:34 So, they have the dream...
09:36 "This is what I remembered, this one's in my head,
09:38 I gave them what the dream was
09:40 and they still couldn't do any good,
09:43 still could not interpret it"
09:45 and the question you want to... you may want to ask is, "why?"
09:51 I think it is because
09:53 God didn't want to give that sacred message
09:59 to profane lips
10:02 I truly believe that God did not want those wise men...
10:08 those astrologers...
10:10 those people who communicate with the devil and the dead...
10:14 God did not want His word coming out of their mouths.
10:20 It occurs to me that God... the God we serve
10:26 is somewhat selective about the mouths He uses
10:32 to disseminate His message,
10:37 God doesn't want just anybody preaching for Him,
10:41 that's the truth.
10:42 Remember in the New Testament, there was this lady
10:44 who was following the disciples and saying,
10:45 "These are the men of God, these are the holy men of God"
10:48 and the disciples turned around and cast the devil out
10:50 and got folk all upset because they were losing money,
10:52 God is very, very, very selective
10:55 about who He uses to preach His Word
10:59 and God did not want His word coming out of their mouths,
11:06 Psalm chapter 31 verse 18, the Bible says,
11:10 "Let lying lips be mute"
11:11 and so, there is no way in this instance... as I see it,
11:16 that God would use this motley crew
11:20 of soothsayers and Chaldeans to carry his message.
11:26 Why? Because they would not give God the glory.
11:31 These guys speak to the devil,
11:34 they speak to spirits,
11:35 and if they had gotten the message,
11:38 they would have either given credit to Satan
11:41 or taken the credit themselves
11:42 and that's not what God wants,
11:43 you see, God was trying to reach Nebuchadnezzar,
11:45 God was trying to save Nebuchadnezzar.
11:49 God was trying to convict and convert Nebuchadnezzar
11:53 and so His message had to come through the mouth
11:58 of a converted individual.
12:00 So, there's no way God's going to allow these Chaldeans
12:03 to speak for Him
12:06 because God would not get the glory.
12:10 So, again, they fail
12:13 and Daniel is called.
12:16 Now, it's interesting because to my mind,
12:18 since Daniel came through the first time,
12:22 I would think the king would go to Daniel the second time
12:25 but evidently Daniel was the last man on the list
12:29 and when he got to Daniel,
12:31 of course, Daniel had the answer to the dream.
12:37 A second quick Accent Point...
12:38 Access Point.
12:40 This is the second dream sent by God to Nebuchadnezzar.
12:45 I remember, some time ago,
12:47 listening to the testimony of a young lady
12:49 and she was saying,
12:51 "I told God, 'Lord, I'm going to give you one more chance
12:53 to prove yourself to me'"
12:54 and what she didn't understand was, God was saying,
12:57 "I'm going to give you one more chance to accept me"
13:00 and this is what...
13:02 this is what is happening to Nebuchadnezzar.
13:03 This second dream... is God giving him another chance.
13:08 Aren't you... aren't you glad we serve a God
13:10 of second chances and third chances
13:12 and fourth chances and fifth chances
13:14 and on and on and on and on...
13:17 God doesn't give up after one try
13:21 and so, He is giving Nebuchadnezzar
13:24 a second opportunity to accept Him.
13:31 Here's a side bar...
13:33 I want to show you a text that for years kind of confused me
13:40 and I put it in here because
13:42 it sort of fits in what we're talking about.
13:44 The Bible says this in John 7:17 "If any man will do His will,
13:50 he shall know the doctrine,
13:53 whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. "
13:57 Now, when I first ran across that...
14:00 it seemed rather confusing to me
14:03 because it seemed backwards.
14:05 You know, it seemed backwards,
14:07 once you know what to do... then you do.
14:13 Does that make sense?
14:15 Yeah, if you ask my wife to change a flat,
14:19 well, you don't want to do that
14:21 because she doesn't know how to change a flat,
14:24 she's never changed a flat,
14:25 she probably could do it,
14:26 if someone told her how to do it,
14:29 but you can't ask her to change a flat
14:33 unless you show her how...
14:35 so it occurs to me
14:39 "knowing how" comes before "doing"
14:42 "if you want me to do... show me how"
14:44 but the Bible seems to be saying,
14:47 "Do... then you'll know how"
14:51 and that always... that always confused me...
14:54 just seemed like it was... it was... it was backwards.
14:56 How can you do unless you know what to do
15:02 or how can you do what you know
15:06 when you don't know what to do.
15:14 The answer is... and the Bible says,
15:16 you have to be willing first.
15:20 Now, this is very, very important.
15:23 you have to be willing.
15:27 Now, let me give you a text...
15:29 the context of this text is "giving"
15:33 but I think it fits in here
15:35 without doing violence to the text
15:36 and that's 2nd Corinthians chapter 8 and verse 12,
15:43 2nd Corinthians 8 and verse 12
15:45 we will read just the first part.
15:48 The Bible says, "For if there be first a willing mind,
15:55 is it accepted?"
15:57 So, when you come to the Lord,
15:59 you've got to come with a heart
16:04 that is willing to do those things
16:07 that God has asked you to do, amen.
16:11 When you open your Bible, you've got to be willing
16:14 to observe and obey everything that God is pleased to show you.
16:21 Why would God be obliged to reveal something to you
16:27 that you have no intention of surrendering yourself to?
16:33 Now, let me advise... let me say this quickly...
16:35 God can and has done that,
16:39 we serve a loving God
16:41 and there are many, many stories in the Bible
16:45 and we all know some
16:47 of people who have come to God with their fist balled.
16:52 They've come to God with the intention of fighting Him
16:55 and He has shown them and warned them
16:59 but when you come to God
17:03 and you are willing to do whatever He asks you to do,
17:08 it sort of puts a little onus on God
17:10 to hear you a little better.
17:12 It's just like you have two children,
17:14 one child is obedient and follows
17:16 and one child just doesn't want to hear anything you have to say
17:19 now, you love both children,
17:21 but the truth is, you can do a little more
17:25 for the one who is obedient amen.
17:27 Does that make sense?
17:29 Yeah, if a child is willing to listen and obey,
17:33 you can help them more than one who simply rejects
17:37 everything you have to say.
17:38 When I was a pastor
17:40 and had a lady in my church, she had two...
17:42 she said, "One keeps me on my knees
17:44 and one keeps me praising the Lord. "
17:46 She had a... she had a girl
17:48 who was so brilliant... she was reading the New York...
17:51 The Sunday New York Times at age five.
17:53 The Sunday New York Times is 750,000 words.
17:56 It's thick... thick... thick
17:58 and if you've been to New York,
17:59 you know that Sunday New York Times...
18:01 that... that's like carrying a weight around with you.
18:03 At five she's reading the Sunday New York Times...
18:05 that sailed through school...
18:08 graduated from Andrews University...
18:10 just sailed through school...
18:11 that was the girl...
18:13 anything her mother said, she would do
18:15 and then she had the boy,
18:17 she said, "This one is wearing my knees out"
18:19 he's just wearing my knees out...
18:21 same kids... same parents...
18:22 but she could do more for the one who wanted to listen
18:27 than the one who did not
18:28 and so, the Bible is saying,
18:30 "There must first be a willing mind"
18:32 and if you're willing...
18:34 you will know if you're surrendered to the God...
18:38 to God... rather...
18:40 so, in verse 8 Nebuchadnezzar writes
18:44 but at the last, Daniel came before me,
18:48 finally, he comes to Daniel.
18:49 Now, we don't know how much time elapsed
18:53 between Daniel chapter 2 and Daniel chapter 4
18:58 but truly, Daniel should have been first on the list
19:01 and I cannot understand why we'll go to friends...
19:05 we'll go to colleagues... we'll go to workmates...
19:08 we'll go to everybody to get advice
19:10 and then if it doesn't work... then we'll want to go to God
19:12 and God ought to be first, amen
19:14 that ought to be the first place you go,
19:17 so, Daniel comes at the end...
19:20 well praise God he's got the insight
19:23 and he's got the Spirit of God in him
19:26 and I like the insight provided by the Spirit of Prophecy
19:30 as to the social, psychological dilemma
19:33 that Daniel finds himself in.
19:35 Now watch the... watch the... the interplay here,
19:38 the interplay between Daniel... the Lord...
19:42 and the king...
19:43 let's look at the state of play in Babylon at this time
19:47 in the aftermath
19:48 then we'll look at the "what" and "why"
19:51 and the dream itself.
19:52 Again, in the sort of film noir flashback.
19:56 A quote from Prophet and Kings.
19:58 "To Daniel the meaning of the dream was plain,
20:03 and its significance startled him.
20:06 He was astonied... "
20:09 now that's an interesting word,
20:10 when I looked it up, I thought it was a misprint
20:12 but evidently, two centuries ago,
20:14 "astonied" was part of the English language.
20:17 It means the same as "astonished" means now
20:20 but it's "astonied" it means "dazed and bewildered
20:23 for one hour. "
20:24 So, Daniel has the answer
20:28 but when he got the answer,
20:32 it really sort of knocked him on his heels a little bit.
20:36 He wasn't expecting what that dream meant.
20:38 Now, the king didn't know exactly what it meant,
20:42 but he knew it wasn't good.
20:44 The Court wise men were... as we say... clueless
20:50 and Daniel now knows the dream
20:53 but he is so overwhelmed...
20:56 so blown away by its interpretation
21:01 that he cannot speak.
21:05 Now, that's the "what"
21:07 let's take a moment and try to examine the "why"
21:10 let's get some idea of the theological,
21:15 sociological context for this part of the book
21:19 and we find that in Prophets and Kings, page 516.
21:22 Going to summarize.
21:24 So, Nebuchadnezzar now has two dreams.
21:28 He is humble and praises God by the first one,
21:32 he sets up a golden image...
21:36 a prelude to the "fiery furnace" incident,
21:41 he is humbled by the "fiery furnace" incident,
21:47 he praises the Lord...
21:49 he promotes Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
21:53 so now we understand the spiritual state of play
21:59 in this part of Daniel chapter 4.
22:02 Here's the Access Point.
22:04 Again we're in Prophets and Kings.
22:06 "Nebuchadnezzar nevertheless
22:11 at times had ascribed to the favor of Jehovah
22:15 the glory of his kingdom and the splendor of his reign. "
22:22 Now, that's very, very interesting
22:23 that this heathen king
22:26 realized that his success was not all due
22:33 to his own effort sometimes
22:38 and that is the crux of the problem.
22:43 He's got some good traits
22:47 but he doesn't give credit where credit is due.
22:53 Does that sound like anybody you know
22:54 or anybody you've ever met?
22:56 Not all bad... just not willing to give God the glory
22:59 so Nebuchadnezzar sometimes realized and said,
23:03 "You know, this isn't me... there's a God"
23:06 and of course, once Daniel and the Hebrew boys came in,
23:10 he is constantly hearing about and knowing about God.
23:13 He is aware of the God of the Hebrews,
23:15 God has made Himself known to him
23:16 and there were times
23:18 when in his more sanguine moments
23:20 he thought to himself,
23:22 "You know, there's got to be a God helping me with this,
23:25 this can't all be me. "
23:27 So, there were times when he was ready to admit
23:30 that God was helping him
23:33 and that the splendor of his reign
23:36 was not the work of his own hands
23:38 but that it was indeed the work of God.
23:42 Nebuchadnezzar's noble conception of God's purpose
23:48 concerning the nations was lost sight of
23:50 later in his experience;
23:52 but when God humbled him on the plains of Dura,
23:56 he again acknowledged God. "
23:58 See, God's going to force him
24:00 to acknowledge God.
24:03 God... the Lord we serve will not tell you how to decide
24:11 but He will make you decide, amen.
24:15 God will back you into a corner and make you make a decision,
24:18 you will determine what that decision is
24:21 but God will back you into a corner
24:23 and make you decide
24:25 and Nebuchadnezzar... when he went out on Dura
24:29 and he put the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace,
24:31 he put them in... tied and bound and then when he goes to look
24:35 not only are they not tied and bound
24:38 but there's a fourth person in there
24:40 he realized that God takes care of his own.
24:44 That's a humbling experience, because the 90-foot golden image
24:50 was a personal thing with him
24:53 and God took that personal issue and made it personal
24:57 and saved those three Hebrew boys
25:01 and showed him the power of the Most High God
25:04 so, it was humbling
25:06 and in the light of that,
25:09 he gave glory to God.
25:13 So, God is getting through to Nebuchadnezzar.
25:17 The problem is, he hasn't learned how to grow
25:21 and that is something that we need to learn today
25:25 Brothers and Sisters, Ladies and Gentlemen,
25:27 how to grow in grace.
25:29 Ellen White talks about the spiritual heat.
25:31 There are times when you come to church
25:33 or when you have a particularly nice spiritual experience
25:38 and she calls it, "Spiritual Heat"
25:43 you feel warmed by the fires of the Holy Spirit,
25:48 the job for the Christian is to take that feeling
25:53 and grow in it, you know what I mean?
25:56 And grow in it... to... to move from grace to grace,
26:00 from strength to strength
26:01 and grace to grace and strength to strength...
26:04 the job of the Christian is to grow in Christ every day.
26:09 The job of the Christian is to move from conviction
26:15 to conversion,
26:17 they are not the same.
26:20 All conversion starts with conviction.
26:26 Conviction is the sense that something is wrong.
26:29 you know it's wrong,
26:31 you're convicted that something is wrong.
26:33 Conversion is God getting in
26:36 and helping you to turn the wrong and make it right, amen,
26:40 so, conviction will have you say what Nebuchadnezzar said.
26:44 "God is a God of all Gods...
26:46 a King of all Kings... the Lord of all Lords"
26:48 but that's only the starting point,
26:50 that's not the end of your experience,
26:52 that's just the beginning.
26:53 You got to go from conviction to conversion.
26:58 You've got to grow in grace and grow in strength
27:02 and so, Nebuchadnezzar has shown us
27:05 a pattern of conviction
27:07 he was convicted when he heard about the statue,
27:10 he was convicted on the plains of Dura at the fiery furnace,
27:14 so, he's convicted... but his conviction has yet to translate
27:19 into conversion.
27:21 He has not learned that it is important for us to grow
27:26 in Christ and in our knowledge of Him
27:31 so he's humble... but he's not quite where
27:34 God wants him just yet.
27:39 I'm in Prophets and Kings, page 514.
27:44 "An idolater by birth and training,
27:49 and at the head of an idolatrous people,
27:52 he had nevertheless an innate sense of justice and right,
27:59 and God was able to use him as an instrument
28:04 for the fulfillment of His Divine purpose. "
28:08 Now that's very interesting,
28:10 he is an idolater, he's a pagan,
28:12 but somewhere in his heart, he knows what justice is
28:16 and he knows what "right" is and he knows right from wrong,
28:20 it's there inside his heart
28:22 but he's working against his training,
28:25 he's working against his background,
28:27 he's working against all the people that surround him
28:30 and that's why, Ladies and Gentlemen,
28:31 it is important for Christians
28:34 to surround themselves with Christians.
28:40 Now, I'm not saying that Christians
28:44 should only be with Christians
28:45 because I think we have a call to take our salt...
28:48 salt and light to the world,
28:50 but your inner circle... those that you listen to...
28:56 those that you spend time with,
28:58 those that you associate with on a regular basis,
29:02 ought to be people traveling the same road as you
29:07 who think like you do,
29:09 now they don't think exactly like you do
29:11 but as far as accepting the Lord...
29:13 who are walking the same road as you...
29:16 who know the same God that you know
29:18 and who are serving the God like you are.
29:20 You can spend a lot of time with non-Christian people
29:24 or people who don't like the Lord...
29:26 or people who don't serve the Lord,
29:27 or people who... who have no God-consciousness at all...
29:32 and maintain your Christian stability.
29:35 Your inner circle...
29:37 those that you listen to and dialog with...
29:40 and get a lot of information from and time with...
29:43 ought to be people who think as you do
29:45 and who love the Lord as you do.
29:47 That's how you strengthen yourself.
29:49 Now, if you're going to win people
29:51 studying with... with non-Christians...
29:53 my brother-in-law has a Bible Study Group
29:55 that meets on Tuesdays at his house down in Panama,
29:58 that group has grown from five now to 20 plus
30:03 and of that 20 plus, I think only three
30:07 are baptized members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church,
30:10 the rest are all non-Adventists.
30:13 Couple of doctors in the group, an attorney in the group
30:15 but they're there to talk about Jesus.
30:19 They're there to learn about the Lord.
30:22 So, they spend time together
30:24 but it's time that is spent in trying to learn about the Lord.
30:28 So, it is important that you surround yourself
30:31 with people who love the Lord like you love the Lord
30:33 and so, Nebuchadnezzar is at the head of an idolatrous nation
30:37 and he is by training and by nature and by nurture
30:40 an idolater
30:42 but there's something inside his heart,
30:44 he knows there is a God,
30:46 he knows that the Lord loves him,
30:48 he knows that there's something more here
30:50 than what I can see and what I can accomplish.
30:53 He's got an innate sense of justice,
30:55 he knows right and he knows wrong,
30:58 yeah, he's hot-headed... yeah, he can be rash...
31:01 yeah, he can be impulsive
31:02 but deep down inside there's something there
31:07 and God knows it.
31:08 You know, I'm so glad
31:10 that we serve a Lord
31:12 a God... who can file off the rough edges
31:18 because the truth is, all of us have rough edges.
31:23 Everybody's got something,
31:25 we all got places where we need to be sanded down
31:29 and Nebuchadnezzar had a lot of places
31:31 where he needed to be sanded down
31:33 but beneath that rough exterior,
31:35 God saw that there was something there worth saving
31:39 and that's why I am so glad that I serve a God
31:42 who looks beneath my rough exterior, amen.
31:45 He knows there's something good down there...
31:48 and Nebuchadnezzar had something good down there,
31:50 God just had to get to it,
31:52 He just had to get at it but it was there
31:54 and that's why God is giving him first chance...
31:58 second chance...
31:59 and we're going to see in just a little bit... third chance
32:04 because He knew that he was worth saving.
32:07 I'm actually glad God says, "Hey, she's worth saving"
32:10 "he's worth saving"
32:12 "they're worth saving"
32:14 and God calls you...
32:16 and I think, only when we get to heaven
32:18 will we be able to look back
32:20 and see the stony road that God brought us over,
32:23 you know, because when you're...
32:26 when you're close to it you can't always see it
32:28 but I think in heaven, one of the we will marvel at
32:31 is how God protected us
32:33 when we weren't looking out for ourselves,
32:35 when God directed us
32:37 when we weren't directing ourselves,
32:39 how God guided us
32:40 when we didn't know where we were going,
32:42 how God brought people into and out of our lives
32:45 that we didn't even know were for our benefit,
32:48 and how God did so many things
32:50 to file down those rough edges
32:52 to make us fit for the kingdom of heaven
32:55 and that's precisely what God is doing
32:57 with Nebuchadnezzar here,
32:58 he is filing down Nebuchadnezzar
33:01 because he has for this rough,
33:04 rash, hot-headed, impulsive king...
33:07 He's got something He wants to do for him...
33:10 with him.. to him... and through him.
33:16 I'm in Prophets and Kings, you know how I... I... I debated
33:20 "How much Spirit of Prophecy should I put in this?"
33:22 But one of the things I like about the Spirit of Prophecy...
33:24 it sheds light on the Biblical text
33:26 because the Bible doesn't have time really
33:29 to go into all the nuances but we...
33:31 we see the Biblical text and then the... the... the...
33:35 narrative is filled in by wonderful quotes
33:40 from the Spirit of Prophecy
33:41 so, "It is not surprising that the successful monarch,
33:46 so ambitious and so proud-spirited,
33:49 should be tempted to turn aside from the path of humility. "
33:53 A lot of stuff is being said there,
33:56 one, he is being successful,
33:58 Babylon, under Nebuchadnezzar, was the envy of the world,
34:06 so, this non-Jewish king...
34:10 this non-Jehovah-loving emperor is having success.
34:16 That's a fact... and the fact also is,
34:20 that when things are going good,
34:24 sometimes, it enters into our mind
34:26 that we don't need the Lord.
34:29 Yeah, bills are being paid... wife is doing well...
34:34 husband's doing well...
34:35 kids doing well in school...
34:37 everything's going well...
34:38 sometimes we're tempted to think...
34:40 "Well, I can handle this,
34:43 because everything is going well"
34:46 and Nebuchadnezzar is doing well.
34:48 He is an instrument of God
34:53 and yet he is beginning to slip back into the path of pride
35:02 and away from the path of humility.
35:06 Nebuchadnezzar wasn't out fighting and conquering
35:10 he spent a lot of time building and decorating.
35:15 Now, of course, he had the Hebrews
35:19 to help him run the kingdom,
35:21 in fact, that's why Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
35:25 were selected.
35:27 Remember, we said the first night,
35:28 they were bright, they were handsome,
35:30 they were good looking, they were smart,
35:32 and that he took them for those reasons,
35:35 so that they could help him run the kingdom
35:37 and before this is done, we find...
35:39 Daniel's third in the kingdom,
35:41 these Hebrew boys are promoted twice
35:44 so, they're running the Government...
35:46 Nebuchadnezzar, basically, has a lot of time on his hands
35:49 and when you got a lot of time on your hands,
35:52 sometimes that can get you into a lot of trouble.
35:55 So, he is beautifying his capital city
35:59 and archeologists say...
36:03 and this is what they... they say
36:06 that the "golden city... the praise of the whole earth. "
36:09 He made that city beautiful.
36:11 As we said the other night, Babylon was not a large empire
36:15 as far as empires go
36:17 of the great empires, Babylon was actually the smallest
36:19 as far as territory was concerned
36:22 but as far as beauty and riches,
36:25 from what the archeologists and scholars say,
36:28 it was by far the most beautiful...
36:32 the most opulent... the most gorgeous...
36:34 and a lot of that was due to the building of Nebuchadnezzar.
36:38 He ruled 40 years out of the 70 and he spent a lot of time
36:42 making his palace and his country
36:44 and his city beautiful and the envy of the earth.
36:49 but here is the danger of success.
36:52 Remember I asked you yesterday, what is the better teacher,
36:54 success or failure?
36:56 There is a danger of success... here it is.
36:59 Ellen White tells us,
37:01 "... it is the full cup
37:03 that must be most carefully balanced... "
37:09 Now, what's it saying?
37:11 Have you ever filled up your glass just a little too full?
37:16 You know, you turn on one of those spigot things...
37:18 those punch things that... at a party...
37:20 and you try to turn it off and it keeps...
37:22 you know, it just keeps on going
37:23 so, you leave your glass there
37:25 and it's getting closer and closer
37:26 and closer and closer to the top
37:27 so, now you got a really full glass
37:29 and you got to be really, really careful, amen,
37:33 you do, because a full glass
37:36 or a full cup is much more dangerous
37:41 than an empty cup.
37:42 If you have an empty cup,
37:44 you can put your finger through the cup handle and spin it...
37:45 you can do anything you want...
37:47 but once you get a full... and if it's right at the brim
37:50 you've got to be very careful.
37:51 Now, there's a spiritual lesson there
37:53 that if God is really blessing you,
37:57 you've got to be very careful,
37:59 amen... yeah you do
38:02 because the natural tendency is
38:05 to take those blessings for granted
38:08 and to ascribe to yourself
38:11 the power and glory of those blessings,
38:13 so, a full cup... if God is really blessing you
38:16 and everything is going right,
38:18 and everything is going perfectly,
38:20 that's when you got to be very, very careful
38:22 because that's when,
38:24 as they used to say in the old Negro Spiritual,
38:27 "Your foot might slip and your soul get lost"
38:30 so, if you're really enjoying the blessings of the Lord,
38:33 be very, very careful,
38:34 one: be thankful for those blessings,
38:36 two: give the glory to God
38:38 but be very careful because sometimes you can lose out.
38:49 I'm back in Prophets and Kings, "Hardening his heart"
38:54 now, where have we heard that before...
38:56 from a ruler?
38:57 "Hardening his heart, he used his God-given talents
39:03 for self-glorification... "
39:06 that's sad...
39:07 "exalting himself above the God
39:12 who had given him life and power. "
39:16 Now, let me ask you a question, want to get very pragmatic,
39:23 how many here think that Wintley Phipps...
39:27 is not aware that he is a good singer?
39:32 Do you think he knows that?
39:34 Sang for five or six Presidents, sang for the Pope,
39:38 sang all over,
39:39 you think he knows he's a good singer?
39:40 I think he does.
39:42 You think Pastor John Lomacang knows he's a pretty good singer?
39:48 Do you think Yvonne Lewis... baptized her 30 years ago,
39:51 making six figures with her voice
39:54 well over 100,000 dollars
39:55 do you think she knows she can sing?
40:00 Is there any sin in knowing that you have a talent?
40:05 Now, if you can do something and you know you can do it,
40:09 is that sinful?
40:10 Do you think Michael Jordan knows...
40:12 knew that he was one of the best basketball players ever?
40:16 See, there is no sin in knowing that you have a gift
40:20 because if you don't know you have a gift,
40:23 then you'll never know how to improve the gift,
40:27 you've got to know you've got it... if you got it
40:31 so, those who have gifts have to know
40:34 so that they can improve them.
40:36 The Bible says, "Whatever you do,
40:37 do all to the glory of God. "
40:40 So, before you can give it to God
40:42 as a return on His investment,
40:44 you got to know you have it,
40:47 If you're... if you're... if you're smart
40:49 and everybody's staying up late studying
40:51 and studying and studying
40:52 and you can just look at it one time
40:54 and then zip through
40:56 that's a gift...
40:57 and if you've got it, you know it.
40:59 The United States Chaplain, Barry Black
41:01 has a photographic memory,
41:03 he preaches from his head no notes...
41:05 I cannot do that,
41:06 you think he knows that he has a gift from God?
41:09 Of course he does...
41:10 the problem is not in knowing that you have a gift,
41:13 the problem is... or the question is...
41:16 "Who gets the glory?"
41:21 That's what it's all about,
41:23 who is going to get the glory.
41:25 Who is going to be glorified by my use of this gift?
41:30 So he's hardening his heart,
41:32 he's got a talent but he's using it for self-glorification.
41:38 He is taking from God the glory that only belongs to Him
41:44 and Ladies and Gentlemen,
41:45 when you try to inhale all of the oxygen
41:49 and don't give God the glory He deserves,
41:53 you're really on dangerous ground
41:55 because the Bible says, "Every good gift
41:57 and every perfect gift comes from the God of heaven"
42:04 and so, Nebuchadnezzar is moving in a horrible direction,
42:08 he is hardening his heart,
42:10 what he doesn't know is that spiritually...
42:14 it is time to grow up.
42:17 "... His passion as a builder, and his signal success"
42:22 see that's a... he's having success...
42:24 things are going pretty good,
42:26 so, "his signal success
42:28 in making Babylon one of the wonders of the world,
42:31 ministered to his pride... "
42:33 his city was beautiful and he knew it.
42:36 He had put more money into his city
42:39 and he was aware of it.
42:40 it ministered... boosted his pride and his ego
42:44 "... until he was in danger of spoiling his record
42:48 as a wise ruler whom God could use"
42:50 he was... he had a good record...
42:52 he was doing some good things
42:54 and he was in danger of spoiling that record
42:57 as someone that God could continue to use
43:01 so God was using him
43:03 "as an instrument
43:04 for the carrying out of His Divine purpose... "
43:07 Ladies and Gentlemen, I submit to you,
43:09 if God is blessing you,
43:11 He's not blessing you so that you can walk around
43:14 puffed up saying, "I am blessed"
43:17 if God is blessing you,
43:19 He is blessing you so that you can be a better vehicle
43:23 for the Word of God.
43:25 Why does God give a person more Holy Spirit?
43:30 Why does He give him more blessings?
43:32 The same reason you put heavy-duty shock absorbers
43:35 on the back of your pickup truck
43:38 so you can carry more weight
43:40 that's why God blesses.
43:42 And so, God was blessing Nebuchadnezzar
43:44 because He wanted to use Him as a vehicle... as a...
43:48 as an instrument to do great things for Him
43:51 and Nebuchadnezzar is taking all the glory to himself.
43:55 He is doing exactly the opposite
43:57 of what God wants him to do
44:00 and he now is beginning to spoil his record.
44:04 So, in mercy, God gives the king another dream.
44:07 It's a bad dream,
44:09 it was given ironically at the same time
44:13 that things were going so well,
44:16 things are going well for the Jews,
44:18 things are going well for Daniel,
44:20 things are going well for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,
44:23 things are going well for Nebuchadnezzar
44:25 and in Daniel 4:4,
44:28 "... I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in my house,
44:33 and flourishing in my palace... "
44:36 he admits it,
44:37 things were going good... flourishing...
44:40 kingdom going well...
44:42 I'm going well...
44:43 and everything is going well,
44:47 that's when this second dream comes in.
44:52 So, Daniel now is given an interpretation
44:56 in the midst of this prosperity that says,
45:00 "It's all going to end...
45:02 not for the country... but for the king. "
45:07 This is a personal interpretation.
45:12 The Bible says, "Daniel was astonished"
45:15 Ellen White says, "astonied"
45:18 "he was nonplussed, he was dumbfounded"
45:22 he knows he's got to give bad advice
45:26 to a king who doesn't like bad news.
45:31 When I was a pastor, we used to have Prayer Meetings
45:33 called, "Don't give me no bad news"
45:35 and it was Prayer Meetings where we just had praise,
45:38 no one... we didn't talk about our aches or our pains
45:40 or our challenges,
45:41 just praise reports for the whole Prayer Meeting,
45:43 we did that, maybe, once every couple of months,
45:45 we had a, "Don't give me no bad news" Prayer Meeting.
45:49 Well, Daniel serves a "Don't give me no bad news king"
45:53 he doesn't want any bad news
45:55 and Daniel's got some real bad news for him
46:00 no way he can make this nice
46:04 this is a king who twice before
46:07 had given orders of extermination
46:09 so he is not shy about ordering the death of people
46:12 and Daniel has got to give him news
46:15 and he's little a worried about this,
46:17 now, I'm going to say this,
46:18 "I don't think Daniel was afraid"
46:20 there are times when he could have been afraid,
46:22 I don't think he's afraid,
46:23 Daniel had proved that he trusted in his God
46:25 and when you trust in God
46:28 you can speak before any ruler or any king
46:30 you can tell him the truth,
46:31 He trusted in God...
46:33 but he is... he is disturbed
46:35 because things are going so well
46:37 and this interpretation... this dream is saying
46:41 that things are not going to go well for this particular king.
46:47 So, Daniel cannot speak... and the king speaks
46:53 and... and again...
46:56 you know, when you read the Word of God
46:58 and you see these little nuances,
47:00 these little... these little changes in how things work
47:04 you know that the Spirit of God is working
47:06 and here is one of them.
47:08 We're in Daniel chapter 4 right at verse 19.
47:13 Daniel can't speak, he's astonished
47:16 so, Daniel doesn't comfort the king,
47:19 the king comforts Daniel.
47:24 Nebuchadnezzar... calling him Belteshazzar...
47:29 calling him by his Chaldean name,
47:32 he says, "Do not let the dream
47:35 or its interpretation trouble you"
47:38 that's interesting
47:39 that's the king speaking to Daniel.
47:42 He doesn't know what the dream means,
47:44 he knows it's bad,
47:47 he doesn't know what words
47:49 are about to come out of Daniel's mouth,
47:52 and yet he sees how shook up Daniel is
47:55 so, the king... the person who is about to get the bad news
48:01 says, "Don't let it trouble you,
48:03 it's going to be all right. "
48:04 You can tell the Spirit is working
48:06 and working in a very strong way
48:08 when the king is trying to comfort Daniel
48:10 as it was for Daniel trying to comfort the king.
48:12 Nebuchadnezzar doesn't know what Daniel's about to say,
48:14 he doesn't know what's coming out of Daniel's mouth,
48:17 he knows it can't be good and yet he says,
48:20 "Don't let it bother you... "
48:21 the Holy Spirit is working.
48:23 So, the Spirit of God is moving here.
48:25 That little exchange is testament to what God can do
48:29 to change a mind and heart.
48:31 You know, sometimes we look at people
48:33 and we don't see how they ever will be saved.
48:36 How the Lord ever breaks that down.
48:40 You know God can do all things...
48:42 He can do anything but fail...
48:44 and some of the people who we think
48:46 are the hardest nuts to crack
48:48 my dad was one of them,
48:49 70 plus years... fighting against God.
48:52 My wife, Irma, her dad...
48:54 same one... all his life... fighting against God
48:57 and then one day, my father gets on the phone
49:00 and calls and says,
49:01 "Could you come home and study the Bible with me?"
49:06 And so, I fly home... no... drove home...
49:09 and for one week... studied the Word of God together
49:13 and that was in May,
49:17 I flew back home in October of the same year
49:22 baptized him... and then mid-November my mother called
49:27 and said, "Come home, your dad just had a stroke,
49:30 he's dead. "
49:34 Who knew... God can tear down strongholds,
49:39 God can do things that we didn't think He could do.
49:42 God can do anything but fail
49:45 and so, He's giving Nebuchadnezzar another chance.
49:49 Here's the dream... very quickly.
49:52 Tree... strong and mighty...
49:54 height reaches to heaven,
49:56 lovely leaves... abundant fruit...
49:59 enough for all the beasts of the field...
50:02 birds of the air come and nest under it.
50:05 A mighty tree... a beautiful tree...
50:07 a full tree... a luscious tree...
50:10 a tree that provides for other people
50:12 and in verse 23, Nebuchadnezzar hears for the second time,
50:16 "This is you... you are that great tree,
50:20 but there's a holy watcher who came from heaven...
50:24 that's the good news...
50:26 now Nebuchadnezzar,
50:28 I've got to give you the bad news,
50:30 because the holy watcher said,
50:32 'chop it down'
50:35 chop it down... but leave the stump and the roots intact
50:43 and in the earth
50:45 let it get wet with the dew of heaven
50:47 but leave it intact...
50:52 '... we must know that Heaven Rules... '
50:55 Nebuchadnezzar, you have to know
50:58 that heaven rules. "
51:01 We've got to know that heaven rules.
51:05 Now, let me say this because my time is slipping away from me
51:08 and this is very, very important.
51:09 "This is one of the greatest miracles
51:14 in the Word of God. "
51:16 We never look at it that way but it is...
51:19 it... it's... it's an incredibly great miracle from the Lord.
51:23 Think about it.
51:26 That dream told Nebuchadnezzar,
51:29 "You are going to lose your mind
51:33 and be driven from the company of men
51:40 for seven years...
51:43 you'll be living outside, eating grass,
51:47 you won't communicate with anybody
51:50 and no one will communicate with you
51:52 and for seven years,
51:56 I'm going to perform an ongoing miracle. "
52:00 Nebuchadnezzar couldn't take care of himself,
52:03 so, that miracle was happening every day for seven years
52:10 it's a powerful miracle...
52:12 it's one of the greatest in... in the Bible.
52:14 God promised, "No one's going to take your kingdom from you"
52:19 now that could have happened, couldn't it?
52:22 Yeah, when Sennacherib failed to... to conquer Israel,
52:27 he went home and his own sons killed him.
52:29 That didn't happen.
52:31 "So, you're not going to have insurrection in your family,
52:33 no other kingdom is going to come in
52:36 and take your kingdom from you.
52:38 You will be kept...
52:41 you're... you know, you're...
52:43 you're basically out of your mind
52:44 someone could say, "You know, we should just
52:46 put him out of his misery"
52:47 Nebuchadnezzar would not have known
52:50 he would have been none the wiser,
52:52 and yet, for seven years, God kept the kingdom sound,
52:58 He kept enemies from invading,
53:02 He kept the kingdom from disintegrating
53:05 and He kept Nebuchadnezzar...
53:07 his... his... you know, he didn't have any hygiene,
53:11 his nails are growing long and his hair is growing long
53:15 and his skin is like eagle's feathers
53:17 and you know he's not showering or bathing,
53:20 he's just... he's just living out there... eating grass
53:22 but God is keeping him for seven long years.
53:29 That is a continuing miracle,
53:30 it is one of the greatest miracles in the Word of God...
53:34 Old Testament or New
53:36 and God is doing this... I say again...
53:38 for a heathen king who Ellen White says,
53:41 by training... by nurture...
53:45 by nature...
53:47 this is a pagan guy
53:49 but God sees something in him worth saving
53:53 and so, at the end of seven years,
53:57 one day in the providence of God,
54:04 God changes things...
54:09 one day he is insane
54:13 the next day he is sane
54:17 one day he is eating grass like an animal,
54:22 the next day, he is eating at a table with a knife and fork.
54:28 One day he cannot communicate with anybody or anything,
54:32 totally dependent upon God,
54:34 the next day he stands up and acts like a man.
54:41 It's a marvelous, marvelous miracle.
54:46 Ellen White says that the impressions given by God to us
54:54 unless we really accept them
54:57 through the power of the Holy Spirit,
54:59 we will lose them
55:00 but it was during this seven-year period,
55:06 or, perhaps more accurately,
55:09 at the end of this seven-year period,
55:14 that this heathen king found his Lord.
55:20 When he came back from the wilderness,
55:24 he was a changed man
55:27 and more than that, he was a converted man.
55:33 It was during this period
55:35 that God got through to Nebuchadnezzar
55:41 and even the words of his mouth were different.
55:51 God changed him
55:53 and God converted him.
55:56 This time when he speaks for the Lord,
55:59 he's not just speaking from the head,
56:03 he is speaking from the heart,
56:07 he is a converted man,
56:10 he is now a child of God
56:13 and he knows and understands what God wants to do.
56:20 So, let's look at verse 19,
56:28 Ellen White says,
56:29 "At the end of the time... "
56:32 or rather... this is Nebuchadnezzar speaking,
56:33 this is Nebuchadnezzar speaking, Daniel 4:19,
56:37 "At the end of the time,
56:38 I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up my eyes to heaven
56:42 and my understanding returned to me... "
56:46 his understanding returns
56:48 and then he goes into a time of praise to God.
56:55 He talks about the goodness of the Lord,
56:57 he talks about the greatness of the Lord,
57:00 he talks about the Lord's ability to set up kings
57:04 and bring kings down,
57:08 God pulled Nebuchadnezzar
57:11 basically, from the scrap heap of life.
57:14 He plucked him out of Babylon...
57:18 when we think of Babylon,
57:19 we think of everything that is anti God
57:22 but God called Nebuchadnezzar.
57:25 Nebuchadnezzar, at the end,
57:29 acknowledged his dependency upon God
57:32 and Ellen White says,
57:34 "These are the last words recorded
57:36 about Nebuchadnezzar in sacred history. "
57:39 Nebuchadnezzar, Ladies and Gentlemen,
57:42 is a saved man...
57:44 his name is written in the Book of Life.
57:47 Audience: Amen.
57:49 Shall we pray, "Father God,
57:50 we thank you, Lord... we praise you
57:53 because truly... truly...
57:56 you are a good and gracious and great God
57:59 and we see how you called this king
58:04 and made him your child
58:06 please Lord, do that for each and every one of us,
58:10 make us your children,
58:13 in Jesus' name, amen. "