Be A Daniel (Cut To A Stump)
Last week we began to study Daniel chapter 4 and to learn about a second dream that GOD gave to King Nebuchadnezzar as a warning to turn to HIM in repentance and obedience. We learned that GOD can lift up whomever HE pleases but that HE can also bring us down. We learned that one way for us to lose touch with GOD is losing touch with the poor and the need that is around us. Today, we will understand that we must also see our need for GOD and how we can fall down when we fail to acknowledge HIM.
Handout: Be A Daniel (Cut To A Stump)
Last week we learned that one way we are affected by our "Babylon" is to lose touch with the poor. When we get so wrapped up in ourselves and in our own lives and over look the ones that we can help, we start to fall. We must realize that the blessings GOD has given to us are not just for us, but for us to share with those who are less fortunate. King Nebuchadnezzar was so rich and so comfortable in his kingdom that he forgot that there were people out there suffering and in need. We do not want to make the same mistakes.
Now another way that Babylon was infecting king Nebuchadnezzar and is a HUGE red flag for us is:
2. We can lose touch with our own poverty of spirit. (We need GOD who is RICH in mercy)
We have to understand daily that we are very poor in spirit on our own. We have to understand how much we NEED The LORD.
Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
What would we be without JESUS? Do you and I really realize every day that we have to have HIM? We are poor destitute and blind without JESUS!
When we stop realizing how weak we are…how poor we are in spirit without HIM, we quickly begin to fall into a Me, myself , and I pit, and that is exactly what king Nebuchadnezzar did.
Daniel 4:30 "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?"
Did you notice his thoughts…Me…Myself…I. Babylon is all about Me…Myself…and I."
Babylon Mentality – I am, and there is none besides me.
We are all offenders in Babylon we are not pointing fingers to anyone…let it get all of us…we want conviction and we want to understand with wisdom that the quickest way down into a pit is to begin to only think about self, to depend on self. We want to know that so that we won't make that mistake.
Isaiah 47: 1-11 " 1Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate. 2Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. 3Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.
4As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel. 5Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms. 6I was wroth with my people, I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst shew them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.
7And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it. 8Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: 9But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.
10For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me. 11Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know."
The Fall Down.
GOD knows where and when to draw the line with us, just as HE did with King Nebuchadnezzar. GOD had made Nebuchadnezzar great and had given him EVERYTHING he had and he had failed to see that and acknowledge GOD for it. See it's the same with you and I, everything we have is from GOD and HE deserves the glory because HE is our creator. When you and I try to steal HIS glory, we start to fall and He draws a line because we are headed for trouble. We cannot take glory that belongs to GOD, it is not good for us.
The LORD gave King Nebuchadnezzar warning, that if he did not change, all his kingdom would be taken from him as well as his sanity and he would live as a beast on the earth until he could acknowledge GOD, but he did not change, so one year later, everything GOD said, came to pass. He had crossed the line. Have you been warned? Have you repented yet? Perhaps King Nebuchadnezzar after a few weeks of being warned thought that everything was ok, that he had gotten away with this, but he was wrong. When GOD speaks, IT WILL BE SO if we don't repent and get back on the right path.
Daniel 4:28-33 "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. 32And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws."
Exodus 34:6 tells us that "The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth."
HE is all those things but HE is also a consuming fire.
Deuteronomy 4:24 "For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God."
Hebrews 10:31 "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
GOD is our creator, HE is WONDERFUL, HE IS ALMIGHTY, HE IS BEAUTIFUL and HE IS TO BE RESPECTED!
GOD is very long suffering that is RICH in patience. doesn't run out of patience, but there are times when HE says, I'm not applying my patience here anymore. It's time to stop behaving foolishly. God means what HE says!
So for 7 years, Nebuchadnezzar lived and thought himself a beast, like an ox or a cow. He ate grass in the fields. This once very mighty King, now reduced down to less than a man all because he had tried to lift himself up. He was learning a very hard lesson. The quickest way down is to try to exalt ourselves but the Bible says that if will humble ourselves before GOD, in due time HE will lift us up.
James 4:10 "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
Everyday, I try to get on my face before GOD and say it so that my flesh will remember just who I am without GOD. I am nothing and apart from JESUS CHRIST I can do nothing. I need my GOD to lift me up under HIS authority because I cannot even walk without HIM holding my hand. Beloved we can't even breathe unless HE allows the next breath! That is how dependant we really are on our FATHER whether or not some like to admit it or not! We are nothing…HE IS EVERYTHING!
Trouble and sorrow from the devil trying to stop is us hard, it's painful…but it is NOTHING compared to when we are being chastised for sin.
What is it going to take, for you and I to stop doing that think that GOD told us not to do?
What is it going to take for us to be done with it!
When we continue in sin, after GOD has warned us and warned us…we are sinking deep into a pit…and every time we do that disobedient thing, we are creating more chains around our neck. We are thinking ourselves above what GOD has said…that somehow we will be the ONE to escape it. Until we find ourselves completely broken and wasted.
What will it take?
Daniel 4:37 says Those who walk in pride GOD is able to abase or humble. These are the words of King Nebuchadnezzar after he went through a time of humbling and chastisement.
In previous lessons we learned about our GOD being able to deliver us…This week we are learning about GOD being able to humble us down. Both are for our good and HIS glory. GOD'S patience sets limits…So does HIS discipline.
Lastly I want you to notice something amazing with me.
Daniel 4:23 " 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;"
In King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, the tree is not to be completely destroyed.
It was cut to a stump, but bound and protected with Iron and Bronze. Praise The LORD!
Sometimes GOD has to cut us down to a stump in order to regrow us again, correctly…not just pruning…but cut down to a stump! When we keep rebelling against HIM, pruning will not change us but we have to but cut all the way down and Dear Ones that hurts. It hurts badly, but our GOD is good and HE is not doing it to kill us, He is doing it He will bind us with Iron and Bronze so that nothing can completely destroy us…and He will do that to get us to change and become something amazing for HIM. He will regrow us again so that we can produce healthy fruit, when we surrender to HIS will! When we stop living the lie of I am and there is none like me and realize and acknowledge the truth, that HE IS and there is none like HIM!
During your time of chastisement you are still being protected…it won't last forever. If you will repent and humble yourself before GOD in obedience.
Revelation 3:19 "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
Whom HE LOVES HE chastens…it's because HE loves you and wants to regrow you.
So Nebuchadnezzar lived this way as a beast for seven years then, he looked up! If you will remember, this is the same man who saw GOD deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from his fiery furnace, he had seen the lives of those three men and Daniel and had declared that no one should say anything bad about their GOD but he had not given his own heart to GOD until now! This had to happen to him for him to look up to GOD himself. That's a stubborn heart, to see all those miracles and still to have to be reduced down to a beast before he would look up, what will it take for you to look up and acknowledge who GOD really is?
Daniel 4:34-37 "34And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
36At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. 37Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
Nebuchadnezzar finally understood where everything good comes from. He understood that his life was given to him by GOD. He had lived a horrible life for seven years because of his sin and disobedience but it was necessary for him to change. During that hard time, he saw how even though he had been reduced to less than a man, still The Loving, Almighty GOD who was able to destroy him, had not, and had cared for him and fed him and kept him alive when HE did not have to. Then Nebuchadnezzar's heart was changed for the better and he looked up!
We want to avoid this kind of chastisement, we want to keep ourselves humble before GOD. This is why GOD gave us the scriptures so that we can wisely avoid this happening to us. I praise HIM for it. However, there may be some of you who have not avoided it and you are in the midst of this time of chastisement and learning. What do you do?
You do exactly what Nebuchadnezzar did and look up! You humble yourself before GOD and repent and then you start getting deeper rooted in HIS word by daily reading and studying it and DOING what HE tells you to in it. You establish a prayer life daily! You start talking to GOD and let that relationship grow through JESUS CHRIST. Make it your FIRST priority…prayer and study in GODS Word and I promise you, it will change your life for the best! It's a process, you are getting to know Your GOD and HE will meet with you when you make an effort to get closer to HIM in relationship.
Now surrender is not a natural thing to do to us. We have to humble ourselves on purpose! It's not easy, so we have to pray for GOD to help us surrender to HIM.
1 Peter 5:6 6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
1 Peter 5:5 ' 5Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."
It says for us to clothe ourselves with humility. Just as we cloth our physical bodies with actual clothing…it's on purpose. Everyday we put clothes on, it doesn't just happen, it's not natural, we just do it because it's the right thing to do because GOD tells us in HIS word to be clothed.
Just as we do this in the natural, so we must clothe ourselves spiritually with humility…on purpose! The way we do that is again, first through prayer and studying HIS word and daily to confess before GOD who HE is and that we are HIS children!
We don't want to try to steal GOD'S glory…we want to magnify HIM! It is an honor to be a servant of The MOST HIGH, but HE has so graciously accepted us as sons and daughters. All Glory belongs to HIM for HE IS WORTHY.
Dear Righteous Heavenly FATHER…
Thank You for being who YOU are. Thank You for loving us and being gracious and merciful to us. Thank You for loving us enough to correct and discipline us so that we can live our best lives here before we come Home to You for eternity. Thank You for being long suffering and patient with us, thank you for not just tossing us away when we keep sinning against You, thank You for caring enough to cut us down and regrow us so that we can be productive and bear much fruit for Your Glory that you so deserve. Father I love You and I thank You for all the countless blessings You give to me and all those who are Yours. You are good. YOU ARE, AND THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU! Help us to humble ourselves daily before You in repentance and praise because we are thankful and YOU are worthy…In The mighty name of YOUR SON JESUS we pray…AMEN.