Summary: From this story we learn how God humbled a pagan king. There is important truth here for all of us to ponder.
“Don’t mess with God!”
Date: Feb, 15, 2012
Scripture: Daniel 4
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.
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.