Be a Daniel (Another Dream)
Today we will move on to Daniel chapter 4 in our Be a Daniel series. We have learned so much about GOD and how HE is faithful to deliver HIS children when we call upon HIM in faith. Today, we will begin to understand the way GOD works sometimes in the lives of unbelievers to bring them closer to Himself. We want to learn from this lesson so that we NEVER have to go through the same thing that King Nebuchadnezzar had to go through in order to understand who GOD really is and that HE is to be praised! I pray this blesses you as much as it does me while learning.
Handout: Be a Daniel (Another Dream)
Daniel chapter 4 is a letter written by King Nebuchadnezzar pretty much giving his testimony of how he came to realize that The ALMIGHTY GOD was THE only true GOD! Now all these years from the time King Nebuchadnezzar had these exiles from Israel brought to Babylon he has witnessed how powerful GOD is by the lives of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He has seen great miracles and he has decreed that no one speak against GOD but he hadn't really surrendered fully himself. It was going to take a lot to get Mr. Neb (Nebuchadnezzar) to understand and surrender! Let's take a look at his letter and testimony.
Daniel 4:1-18 "1Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. 2I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. 3How great are HIS signs! and how mighty are HIS wonders! HIS kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and HIS dominion is from generation to generation.
4I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace: 5I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 6Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream. 7Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.
8But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my God, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying, 9O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof. 10Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. 11The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: 12The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.
13I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; 14He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:
15Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth:16Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. 17This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.18This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee."
So Old King Neb has had a dream. This is a second dream. Remember the dream of the statute he had before? So this dream has been so vivid and real that he was very troubled and has called in everyone he can think to call in to tell him what it means. Finally, after no one is able to tell him, Daniel comes in once again mightily used by GOD and begins to interpret this dream to King Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel 4:19-26 19Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.
20The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; 21Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation:
22It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth. 23And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him;
24This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king: 25That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
26And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. 27Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.
Daniel upon hearing this dream is just shocked for one hour, in silence and very troubled. He had seen what was going to happen. Finally he speaks up and begins to tell the king that he is pretty much going to go insane and to believe he is an animal for seven years. He tells King Nebuchadnezzar that he is going to not only believe that he is an animal, but he is going to live as an animal until he can truly know and understand that GOD RULES!
King Nebuchadnezzar had accomplished so much in this beautiful Babylon that he has built, and he has gained so much power that he failed to see and acknowledge that it all was made possible by GOD and that GOD had given him this power. In his mind it was all about himself and how great he was and how much he had accomplished. He was stealing GODS Praise!
In verse 27 we seen Daniel almost begging King Nebuchadnezzar to change his ways. To repent and turn to GOD so that perhaps GOD would turn this horrible fate that was going to befall him. Will he listen? Let's continue in the scriptures.
Daniel 4:28-31 " 28All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. 29At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. 30The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? 31While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee."
The prophet Daniel had warned him, but King Nebuchadnezzar was so caught up in his own glory that he foolishly did not heed the warning and change. GOD gave him one year to repent. How merciful and long suffering GOD is! That is amazing to me. Even after being warned and having a year to call upon GOD, King Nebuchadnezzar failed to understand because he had ceased to rule Babylon, because Babylon was ruling him!
Remember Babylon began with ideas of building oneself up. We learned in previous lessons that Babylon was all about self image and making a name for oneself. Praising self instead of GOD and we learned that we are surrounded by that very mentality in our world and culture today. In America, because we are in the media so much, we can see this sinful culture that is going on today and it is known world wide. The sad thing is, Christians are portrayed very much in the media as crazy people, violent, or very liberal with no moral values. It's a sad world that we live in, this Babylon but we can live here with integrity and worshiping The GOD of Heaven and not allow Babylon to rule us just as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did! There are some things that Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar to do in order to change his fate that we can do to ensure that we are not corrupted by this "Babylon" that we live in. There are warning signs that we can be aware of. Just like Daniel warned the king, we too can see a waving warning sign that we are being corrupted when:
Going back to Daniels warning and advice on how to change in verse 27 we see this is true. Daniel pretty much tells the king. "King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper."
King Nebuchadnezzar had acquired so much and prospered so much and gotten so comfortable and caught up in his own little world that he had completely detached himself from the poor and needy because he had everything he could ever want or wish to have. This was classic Babylonian mentality, me, myself, and I.
Don't we see this going on today in our Babylon? Now, granted most of us are not as rich as King Nebuchadnezzar was, but many of us are way more blessed than we realize. I heard recently that if you are able to purchase a book, and be educated enough to read it, you are more fortunate than much of the population of this world today. That puts a whole new spin on what it means to be wealthy and fortunate doesn't it. If you own or have access to a computer, if you are reading this now, you are more fortunate that many of the people in the world today.
There are children and adults in many parts of the world today who work very hard all day long, for a piece of bread. Most of you know, I live in the U.S. and I'll tell you I'm from a very small area, it's not really a town, it's farm land and wooded area all around, and my family and I are not considered rich at all in this culture, we have a small house that I love and we pretty much live pay check to pay check but at night, when I'm in my warm bed, in my house with a roof over my head protecting me from the weather, I think about all those in the world with no bed, no home, no food and I realize how blessed I am. I begin to pray for those who do not have a home. There are many in the world today, and yes even in the U.S.A. who are living on the street in poverty. There are many here and in every other country in the world who don't know where their next meal is coming from. It is up to us who are more fortunate to offer and share what GOD has blessed us with to bless someone else.
When we start thinking about the multitude of people who are in need, it can be overwhelming knowing that we ourselves can't help everyone, but, if we all just chose one or two people think of how many we could reach. To those people it would be EVERYTHING! We have to begin to show mercy and actually do something to help because yes feeling sad and understanding the need is where it begins but if we fail to act and do something about it, that is when people suffer and we begin to do what King Nebuchadnezzar did and detach ourselves from the suffering and the need. That is when Babylon begins to rule us and we fail to be thankful and praise GOD for what we have, understanding that it ALL comes from HIM!
Showing mercy to the poor, yes it's for their benefit to help them, but it also helps us to be a blessing to others. Here's what the book of Isaiah tells us.
Isaiah 58:7-12 " 7Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 8Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward.
9Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; 10And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:
11And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. 12And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in."
GOD has a heart for the poor and it is our duty to bless others by sharing with them what GOD has blessed us with. GOD tells us that if we will care for the poor that GOD will hear our cries when we pray to HIM, that He will be our guide and satisfy our souls and make us to be blessed so that we can continue to bless others. GOD works many times through the hands and feet of HIS children.
The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are coming up very soon, and it is a wonderful time to remember those who are in need and to give. You may not have much to give, but I assure you, for the vast majority of us, no matter how poor, can look around and find someone that we can bless and who needs our service. We do not want to just detach ourselves from the needs of others and only think of ourselves. We have to understand that everything we have could be gone tomorrow, and then we would be at the mercy of someone to help us.
I encourage each one of you reading, as well as myself to purposely go out this week and continue for the rest of our lives to find someone in need and to bless them by sharing our time, our food, our resources, our clothing, whatever we have and to show GODS love and share the good news of the gospel with those who are poor and know that everything we have comes from GOD and that we be truly thankful everyday, praising HIM for it all.
We will stop at this point and continue this lesson next week GOD willing. I am praying for you all, and I am thankful for you. GOD Bless.
Ephesians 5:17-21 "17Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God."
LORD we bow before You today, thanking You for everything You have blessed us with and everything You continue to bless us with. Father today we ask that You help us to be aware of the need around us and help us to serve the ones that are in need and share with them, the things you have given to us. Help us to understand that we are not here to serve ourselves, but to serve You by helping others. Thank You LORD for being so good and for providing for us so that we can provide for others. Help us to always remember that all good things come from You and help us to always be thankful and to praise You for it all. I ask that You help all those who are in need today, and comfort them to know that You are our provider. Thank You for being such a good Father to us and for loving us because YOU ARE GOOD! Bless every home of those who are reading, and put an amazing sense of thanksgiving in their hearts and a comfort to know that You are GOD and You are always in control. Save those who are lost without you. We will ever love and praise You with thanksgiving in our hearts, in Your wonderful name we pray sweet JESUS…amen.
May 24, 2015