Summary: Nebuchadnezzar was blessed by God but thought too highly of himself. His temporary insanity that woke him up to the reality of God. He went on to honor God. Our culture has a "Contemporary Insanity" that rejects God and pushes him away. We must wake up!
1. Pride The owner of an old-fashioned corner grocery store in a small country town was fond of quoting a scripture after each sale. He had three old friends that would sit around a pot-bellied stove, playing checkers on a faded board. His ability to produce a scripture for all occasions never ceased to amuse the old timers, and they would listen to see what verse he would come up with that was relevant to the sale made.
• A lady purchased some material and he said, "She seeks wool, and flax, and works willingly with her hands."
• A man bought a sack of flour and he said, "Man does not live by bread alone, but every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."
• A little boy bought some candy and as he rung it up he quoted, "Suffer the little children to come unto me."
It was nearly closing time when the chimes over the door jangled loudly. A well-dressed young man, obviously a stranger from one of the larger towns down the road, entered. "Can I help you?" offered the proprietor. "I need a blanket for my horse," said the man. "He's out in his trailer and it's too cold for just one. Bring me the nicest one you've got!" The store owner went in the back store room and came back with a brown blanket. "That'll be five dollars."
"Five dollars? You've got to be kidding!" said the man. "This horse is a thoroughbred. He gets only the best! He wouldn't stand still for an old five-dollar blanket." Without comment, the store owner took back the blanket, then merely selected a different color and brought it out. "This one's $25 dollars."
"Now, look," said the young man, "Perhaps I didn't make myself plain. This isn't just any old horse! He's worth thousands! Now I want the best, most expensive blanket you've got! Understand?" The owner once more went into the store room, pulled out another color of the same material and brought it back. "This is the only one left, and it's $100." "Now that's more like it!" said the proud fellow as he paid. Throwing the five dollar blanket over his shoulder, he left.
The old timers stared silently at the shopkeeper as they waited to see what possible scripture he could come up with for that sale! Going behind the register, he rung up the hundred dollars and said, "He was a stranger, and I took him in."
This wasn’t what Jesus meant, but Pride certainly goes before destruction (Proverbs 16.18).
2. Have you noticed the Pride issues in the culture today? Pride in America; Gay Pride; Pride about our favorite sports teams; Political pride issues; Pride is the root of many other sins – we will handle it on our own, without God and are led to other sins.
3. Daniel 4 – God dealt with Nebuchadnezzar’s Pride
• A Dream and Daniel’s Interpretation – 4.4-27
o The Tree was Nebuchadnezzar
o To be cut down – opportunity to return [We had a Crape Myrtle planted in our yard last year; insects killed it; we thought we would have to cut it down but the roots have produced new growth – God demonstrated Grace to Nebuchadnezzar
• When He realized the authority of Heaven he was restored
4. We are living in a crazy world much like Babylon
I. Contemporary Insanity Happens When We Pursue Prosperity Without God (4.4)
A. Prosperity from God is Intended as a Blessing for Others (Genesis 12)
1. The cycle begins with honoring God through giving – Malachi 3.10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
2. Then God blesses and we give and he blesses. . . .
B. Prosperity Can be Perilous to Us
• Luke 12.18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods.
• Deuteronomy 8.11-20 (vv. 11; 17; 18a; 20a)
11 “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. 12 For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, 13 and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! 14 Do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. 15 Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! 16 He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. 17 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. 19 “But I assure you of this: If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods, worshiping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed. 20 Just as the LORD has destroyed other nations in your path, you also will be destroyed if you refuse to obey the LORD your God.