Friday, July 30, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Lessons from the Life of Daniel
But the story of Daniel in the lions’ den also reminds us of the death of the Saviour, the Lord Jesus. Like Daniel, he suffered from a plot hatched in high places: He was unjustly accused, condemned and sentenced to death: He was placed behind a stone: but like Daniel (and yet not like Daniel) He emerged in the morning triumphant. It is because Jesus died and rose for us that we must maintain a testimony that honours Him.
Our God Reigns
Posted by Mountjoy at 1:27 PM
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Lessons from the Book of Daniel
The Most High rules, even in Babylon
The Most High rules, even in Babylon
Now we come to the most remarkable incident when the sovereignty of God was demonstrated to an even greater degree. Nebuchadnezzar had a second dream in which there was a great tree. The tree provided sustenance, shelter and comfort to both beasts and birds. But in the dream the tree was cut down although the stump was retained and protected by a metal band. The interpretation provided by Daniel was that Nebuchadnezzar would lose his position as absolute monarch – his mind would be confused and he would live like an animal until he acknowledged that Jehovah ruled from heaven. The dream was again a prophecy which was fulfilled about a year later.
Nebuchadnezzar while walking in his garden was in a reflective mood. He mused, “Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Dan. 4:30) While the words were yet in his mouth, a voice from heaven sounded, “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes” (Dan. 4:31,32). The very same hour the judgement began. Nebuchadnezzar’s intellect deserted him, and as predicted he lost his place as absolute sovereign over the Babylonian empire. With his mind confused he lived as an animal until all was fulfilled.
Then when his sanity returned, he acknowledged the sovereignty of God. “And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honoured Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Dan. 4:34,35) Nebuchadnezzar was brought, through the work of God and the ministry of Daniel, to praise Jehovah. “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (Dan. 4:37).
But were there others who faced similar tests?
Yes! There were many Israelites in Babylon at that time that had to face these issues in different ways and at different levels - among them a man named Asaph, who was a musician and a Psalmist. The Bible provides us with his testimony. He said he found it extremely difficult to live for God and had almost given up. “My feet had well nigh slipped”, he said. “For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no pangs in their death, but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment. Their eyes bulge with abundance; They have more than heart could wish” (Ps. 73:2-7). Asaph had witnessed the Babylonians destroying Jerusalem – those that had taken axes to the Temple of the Lord were prospering, and it looked as if they would never be brought to account. But when he went into the presence of God, he was told to take a long-term view. In the short term it might look as if the wicked prosper, but in time they will also have to face judgement. Asaph said, “Then I understood their end” (Ps. 73:17).
Remember - our God reigns!
Posted by Mountjoy at 6:32 PM