Summary: Do you give God the credit for the successes in your life? Find out what happens to a world ruler when he takes all the credit. The fourth in a series on integrity.
Integrity - Dependence on God.
West Glendale Baptist Church
Pastor Don Jones
Over the course of the past three weeks, we have been looking at the character trait of integrity. We have looked at how integrity involves being true to your self no matter the pressure that is brought to bear. We also looked at how, in the believer’s life, God deserves all the credit. Last week we looked at counting the cost and how who we are is sometimes revealed best in the midst of the fire. This week we are going to look at one more aspect of integrity: dependence on God.
We have all watched the news at one time or another so the following should be easy. Imagine for a moment this introduction Robert Shank gives us to Daniel chapter four. The scene has America, the land of opportunity, written all over it.
The news conference is just beginning. Press people are crowded around the well-dressed person who just came in. Microphones and cameras are apparent everywhere you look. The six o’clock news team is standing by to cover the event live. Five, four, three, two... "Can you tell us what the secret to your success is?" The question seems sophomoric, but launches the interchange because it is on the minds of everyone there.
"I’ve made it because I worked hard and got the right breaks" he says. Pencils scribble on spiral pads, tape recorders are shut down, and cameras are packed to travel. Yet another success, attributed to the efforts of man that were better than average.
Is this the answer? We normally think so. But there is a different perspective that is seldom heard. It is the missing piece of the puzzle. The missing piece is; people cannot succeed without God. A person of integrity recognizes that fact and acts accordingly.
Cue slide - The Prophecy
Nebuchadnezzar had another dream. God was trying to break through into this ruler’s life in a mighty way. Once again, the other sorcerers, enchanters and magicians had failed. So he called on the trustworthy Daniel. This time Daniel was perplexed and terrified because the dream concerned the king. In verse 24-25 he warns,
"This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king: You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes."
Daniel must have thought that this time Nebuchadnezzar would heed the warning. He had been given opportunities to believe and trust in Almighty God before and for a brief time, it seemed he had changed.
In chapter one, he had seen the Lord work in Daniel’s life through the diet, how the Lord’s way was the best way. He had the future revealed to him in the second chapter and briefly acknowledged God as "God over the gods". In chapter three he had seen a glorious miracle in the furnace. Three young men survived the fiery furnace and the Lord had revealed himself in the midst of the flames.
Unfortunately, Nebuchadnezzar was still consumed with himself and his works. The Most High was going to give him one more chance to repent and acknowledge Him. Nebuchadnezzar was warned, the punishment declared, now, it was up to Nebuchadnezzar to make his choice.
Cue slide - The Problem - Pride
We have all, at one time or another, stood with our hands on our hips and declared, "Look what my hands have done!" We tend to want to take credit for our lives, our accomplishments, our successes. At opportune moments we forget about what God has done. Is there a price to pay? I think so, but I don’t want to run the risk after reading this account of Nebuchadnezzar
Nebuchadnezzar took the credit and the risk in verses 28-30,
"All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”
"Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?" It wasn’t a question, it was a boast. Look at all the "my’s" and "I’s" in this verse. He was ignoring all the dreams and visions and the power of God already revealed. He was declaring success and prosperity and leaving God out of the equation. This was a demonstration of pride at its worst.