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Summary: From this story we learn how God humbled a pagan king. There is important truth here for all of us to ponder.

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“Don’t mess with God!”

Date: Feb, 15, 2012

Scripture: Daniel 4

Sermon

I begin with a simple question: How far will God go to get his message across to us?

 The answer is not hard to find.

 He will do whatever it takes/make sure we get his message.

 But what if we don’t want to hear what God has to say?

 The answer is the same but raised to a higher power.

 If we choose not to listen to God, then he simply turns up the volume until he has our undivided attention.

If you doubt my words, consider/story/the king who went crazy.

 Though this story tells/strange events/happened 25 centuries ago

 The moral is both timeless/relevant as today’s headlines.

The world has changed greatly since Daniel’s day; the human heart hasn’t changed at all.

 The world/still filled/men/women who think they don’t need God,

 God still knows how to humble the proud.

There are two tragedies in life.

o One is to lose your heart’s desire; the other is to gain it.

o We don’t look at it that way.

o In our eyes gaining your heart’s desire is the very purpose of life itself.

o How many people have achieved their dreams only to be ruined in the process?

o Success can be just as big a temptation as failure

o Perhaps more so since success tends to make us take life for granted.

o While it is true that God speaks to us both ways

o We tend to listen more when God speaks through sorrow, pain, loss, and personal failure.

o Success tends to make us complacent but failure cannot be denied.

In that sense failure can be a gift from God

• Especially if it breaks our sinful self-confidence and brings us to the place where we acknowledge that God is God and we are not.

• The Big G on your shirt.

That’s the lesson King Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way.

From this story we learn how God humbled a pagan king. There is important truth here for all of us to ponder.

Before we move to the text, note two facts about Daniel 4.

o First, unlike/chap/Daniel, this one/written/ king himself.

o First few verses/last few/written/first person singular.

o Like reading the king’s personal diary.

Second, describes/great detail/king’s most humiliating experience.

o Like a personal journal posted on the internet.

o Your inner most thoughts/secrets/revealed to everyone.

What happened to Nebuch/happens to all of us sooner or later.

o Many of us, it may/more than once.

o Therefore, we should pay careful attention to this ancient story because through it God will speak some very contemporary truth to all of us.

__________________________________________________

The story begins/time when King Nebuch/the crest of a wave.

o He/contented/prosperous, and well he should be.

o At the height of his glory, Nebuchadnezzar was king over the greatest empire the world had ever known.

If there had been a Fortune 500 list in those days, he would have been first on the list.

 He spoke and it was done.

 He commanded and mighty armies obeyed his word.

 And Babylon! What a fabulous city it was.

 The famous Hanging Gardens were one of the wonders of the ancient world.

 The city itself was protected by 15 miles of double walls—85 feet tall and some 27 feet thick.

 The walls were so wide that chariots could race around the circumference of the city.

 Visitors entered the city through the massive Ishtar Gate and traveled down the main boulevard toward the king’s palace.

 His palace only 630,000 square feet!

Truly the king had every reason to feel secure, safe, and satisfied.

o Who in all the earth could dare to challenge him?

o But one night he had another strange/troubling dream.

Unlike his first dream/this one came true in his own lifetime.

Like the first dream/this one contained vital messages for him and you and I as well.

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Before we look at it though, let me give you the setting of this—the FINAL chapter of King Nebuchadnezzar’s life—at least in the Book of Daniel.

 20 years/passed since the fiery furnace incident in chap 3.

 Daniel/now/mid 50’s and Nebuch/is approaching 60’s.

 He had ruled Babylon for nearly 35 years.

 By this time, his enemies/all defeated

 He rules the largest kingdom in the history of the world.

 The royal treasury is bursting at the seams

 In short, these are the golden years of his reign.

 Who in all the earth could dare to challenge him? God

 This wasn’t the first time God spoke to him in a dream.

 Listen as we hear how God speaks to him this time.

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