Losing Your Mind
You saw Nathan George up there it had the a caption on there the boy that's been there all three of our clubs Nathan George he's not in this service he's going to be probably in the second service but he is the first one that went through the two years of Cubbies the three years of Sparky's in the four year of T.N.T. So we've finally been having a lot of that long that one child has gone through every single year that we have and I want to program he was the first and there's a lot more in the way that I'll go through all nine years are pretty excited about that but I want is a great ministry and it's really need to see these kids really grow in their understanding of God and the Bible especially it's really fun as a leader yes the kids hey where in the Bible does it say you can ask a question and you can see the wheels turning and they can kind of at least paraphrase of verse you know God says Hide your word in my heart that I might not sin against you it is so true that when these little kids they put their Gods word into their mind it stays with them for the rest of their lives so it's a wonderful ministry Well back in February we started a new series on four young men Daniel him in Iowa Michelle and Azariah I'm pretty sure they didn't have a one out back then during their day but I think their parents must have done a really good job raising them because we can read in the Book of Daniel about how they have been firmly established in God and how they continue to live for him throughout their lives and so I want you to open your Bibles to the Book of Daniel. And we had a month of March in most of April when we didn't look at the Book of Daniel because we had man months and then we also had Palm Sunday in Easter Sunday but we're getting back to Daniel there's a few more of these chapters that we're going to look at we're not to look at the entire Book of Daniel but what I don't want to do is because it's been so long I want to kind of recap what we've looked at in the Book of Daniel in the first chapter we have kinetic in as are he besieged Jerusalem and he brought all the noble the. To really prestigious the powerful young men of Israel and he brought them many he had them in captivity in Babylon and so this is the first time we see these four young men and what Daniel was trying to do or what King never can as a risk trying to do to these young men is change who they are change their identity change their culture and change their gods and in the first chapter we see that they refused to compromise and then we go on to Daniel Chapter two and King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream because remember that dream a dream of an a giant statue and ultimately this was God's way of revealing to Daniel and also to all of us can never measure that God was in control of all the ages of human history and that he was the one who would establish certain kingdoms at different times during human history and so we read about that they got a sovereign and because Daniel was the one who was able to interpret the dream and not only interpreted your memory working them a composer had all the magicians do he had them tell him what his dream was and interpret it and none of them could do it but only Daniel and so God on her Daniel because of that and then we look to do it Daniel Chapter three several weeks ago and what happened is after in Daniel Chapter two he never can has or had this dream of a giant statue So what does he do in chapter three he builds a giant statue and then he asks everyone in the kingdom to Val before the statue and hand and I am Michelle and they were the only three who remained faithful and they did not valid before this statute well because they never can as or threaten to throw everyone in a fiery furnace if they didn't he threw these for these three young men into the furnace and for those of you who remember the story we're here to hear about it there was a fourth person who appeared in the fiery furnace and this is probably a Christofferson meaning that the pre-incarnate Christ came in and rescued them from the fiery furnace and King Nebuchadnezzar saw this and he praised the God of her. And I am Michelle and I was Are I've noticed I'm using their their Jewish names not their Babylonian names I kind of to pay honor to them and he praises the God of these three young men and so you would think that King Nebuchadnezzar after he has seen that God's hand is on Daniel and these three young men God protected them that he would eventually turn and acknowledge that God is the God of the universe and the Creator of All Things and it appears as if he did for a little while after Daniel Chapter three but then we come to Daniel chapter four and we're going to read this story today we're going to read the entire chapter you see it's kind of a long story but it does go fast and it does kind of capture your attention now before you read Daniel Chapter four I think it's important to know some of the scholars that I read in my studies of this chapter say that Daniel Chapter four probably happened a good twenty or thirty years after Daniel Chapter three so we have the story of the fiery furnace and two or three decades have gone by and scholars also believe that this is a time when never can as or went through an extensive building projects and so in Babylon he was building it up making a very big and glorious and he also was fighting lots of different territories and enemies and so he was really for twenty or thirty years expanding his kingdom and what do you do when you get to the end of expanding your kingdom and building projects don't you want to kind of rest and relax a little bit and kind of look at what you've done and say hey I did I've done good right well that's what King Nebuchadnezzar is doing you know you guys like to do that I do if you have a project for a day the backyard is a mess or you have to clean up the garage clean it out and then you look at that and you think oh what a great sense of accomplishment right for those of you who had yards growing up up north you know not in the first zone of I remember when the yard looked horrible I grew up there and I'd mowed the lawn and. Yes Remember that's like and then you look at all the the wheel tracks in the grass and it's all uniform it looks great you're like I hope the entire neighborhood walks by my yard right now it looks really good and you have that sense of accomplishment so you get that after like spending a day of hard work or how about years and years of hard work for those of you who are empty nesters Is there a sense of accomplishment with that some of your life yes some we really don't know whether you want to be an empty nester or not I'm not looking forward to that yet I'm sure some day I will be but Daniel Chapter four is it's an interesting chapter because this is actually it's autobiographical meaning King Nebuchadnezzar wrote this himself and it's a story about the evils of pride and the importance of humility and also a story of something else that I think I'm going to emphasize at the very end so let's go ahead and read Daniel Chapter four. Verse one. KING Never commands or tall people's nations in languages that dwell in all the earth peace be multiplied to you. It is seem good to me to show the signs and wonders at the most high God has done to me how greater is Signs how my ideas wonders His Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and his dominion endures from generation to generation. I never can has or was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace but what a great sentence what a great verse can you just kind of picture that he's just kind of relaxing in I don't know what it was like for them to do that back then they didn't have any seventy inch screen L E V T V's in mean how that but whatever the reason doing it was enjoying it was prospering in his palace first five I saw a dream that made me afraid as I lay in bed the fancies in the visions of my head alarmed me so I made a decree that all the wise men of Babylon should be brought before me that they make known to me the interpretation of the dream in the magicians the enchanters. DNS and the astrologers came in and I told them the dream but they could not make known to me its interpretation now did you notice this is the second dream that Connecticut has or has and he's handling things a little bit differently this time the first time he had them tell him the dream any interpretation this time he's only asking for the interpretation I think after ruling in Babylon for twenty thirty or forty years he's a little more secure in his position the first time he wasn't sure who he could trust or see. At last Daniel came in before me he who was named Delta shadows are after the name of my God and whom is the spirit of the holy gods and I told him the dream saying oh Belshazzar chief of The Magicians because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too difficult for you tell me the visions of my dream that I mean that I saw in their interpretation the visions of my head as I lay in bed were these I saw and behold a tree in the midst of the earth and its height was great the tree grew and became strong and its top reached the heaven and it was visible to the end of the whole earth its leaves are beautiful and its fruit abundant and in it was food for all the beasts of the field found shade under it in the birds of they haven't lived in its branches and all the flesh was Fred was fed from it I saw in the vision in my head as I lay in bed and behold a watch or a holy one came down from heaven he proclaimed aloud and said thus chop down the tree and lop off its branches strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit less the beast flee from under it and the birds from its branches but leave the stump of its roots in the earth bound with the band of iron and bronze amid the tender grass of the field let him be wet with the dew of haven't let us portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth let his mind be changed from a man's and let a beast. Mind be given to him and let seven periods of time pass over him the sentences by the decree of the watchers the decision by the word of the holy ones to the end that the living may know that the most high rules the kingdoms of men and gives it to whomever he will and sets over it the lowliest of men this dream I can never has or saw and you a bell to shows or tell me the interpretation because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation but you are able for the spirit of the holy gods' is in you I want to stop just for a moment here and I want you to understand that by this time King Nebuchadnezzar. And Daniel probably had a good relationship they have known each other for probably thirty to forty years at this point this is at the very end of King never can as reign and you have to wonder why didn't he just go to Daniel to begin with you know we know that he interpreted the dream back again as chapter two but I'm sure throughout those thirty or forty years that they knew each other he saw the wisdom that God had given to Daniel so why didn't he go to him at first I don't really have an answer for that but it's interesting that this happened where as it says in verse four when he was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace I think this is a step ahead a lesson that most people can learn one of the times that we are most susceptible to danger or Cannick attack is when things are going really good. When things are just perfect in our life and we think there is no problems here. Let's keep reading first one thousand. Then Daniel whose name was or was dismayed for a while and his thoughts alarmed him the King answered and said Let not the dream nor the interpretation alarm you about the showers are answered and said My lord me the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies the tree you saw which grew became strong some of its top reached to heaven. And it was visible to the end of the whole earth whose leaves are beautiful and its fruit abundant and in which was food for all and under which the beasts of the field found shade in whose branches the birds of the heaven lived it is you. Who have grown to become strong your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven and your dimming into the ends of the earth and because the king saw a watcher a holy one coming down from heaven and saying chop down the tree and destroy it but leave the stump of its roots in the earth down with the band of fire and bronze in the tender grass of the field and let him be wet with dew of heaven and let us portion be with the beasts of the field tell seven periods of time Passover this is the interpretational King it is a decree of the most high which is come upon my lord the king that you shall be driven from among men and your job Welling shall be with the beasts of the field you shall be made to eat grass like an ox and you shall be what was the dew of heaven and seven periods of time shall pass over you and listen to this this is the important part. And tell you know that the most high rules of the kingdom of man and gives it to whom he will. And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that heaven rules and so when this story we realize that God has been watching King Nebuchadnezzar and it's time to teach him a lesson the first stream in Chapter two was all about his reign how he was going to be the mightiest of the statue and guess what it was fulfilled and after that you would think it can never again as I would say wait a second this dream was given to me from God And so I need to give all glory and honor to God because the fulfillment of the stream and stand what never can it did was he took the glory for himself and if we know anything about God God repeatedly tells us that he is a jealous god. And he will not share his glory with anyone else and he opposes the proud and so Daniel sees what's going on in Daniel maybe in hopes that he could get some sense in the King Nebuchadnezzar says this to twenty seven. Therefore Okene let my counsel be acceptable to you break off your sins by practicing righteousness and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity. You know something I didn't even consider but I was as I was studying this one of the commentary said there is most likely that King Nebuchadnezzar sort of like Pharaoh when building Egypt he probably took an energy of the poor and the oppressed in his kingdom and used them took advantage of them for his building projects and things like that and so now Daniel is saying you have you have forsaken your responsibility to provide for the poor and the oppressed now wake up and help them be merciful to them Well the problem is. He doesn't pay attention this morning and this is what happens verse twenty eight. All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar and of the twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace Babylon and the King answered and said Listen to how he says this is not this great Babylon which I have built I buy. My mighty power as a royal residence in for the glory of my majesty and as the year passes apparently he forgets and he didn't realize it the first dream came true bar the second one true it will probably come true as well verse thirty one says and while the words were still in the King's miles there fell a voice from heaven. Never can has or to you it is spoken the kingdom has departed from you and you shall be driven from among men and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field and you shall be made to eat grass like an ox. And seven periods of time shall pass over you and so you know that the most high rules the kingdom of men and gives us to whom we will immediately the word was fulfilled against now became as Or he has driven from among men in a grass like an ox and his body was wet with the dew of heaven tell us hair grew as long as ears Eagles thousand years and his nails were like birds cause. When I was a kid after I read or heard this description of King Nebuchadnezzar and here's a great picture of that that's actually a real picture. He looks like a mess doesn't he I remember reading this and this gave me nightmares as a kid I read the story and probably heard it in a want to you know about he never can answer and I just had this this horrible image of what he looks like now between verses thirty three and thirty four there are seventy years that a lapse in Daniel chapter four and as a person that likes details I'm very frustrated because we are given any details about the seven years and there are certain things that I really want to know like for instance what did the people of Babylon think when he never can as it was in this position you know I did I never even considered this but one of the commentary said it's very likely that Kenya can measure really never had daily interaction with the people in His Kingdom today national leaders in America around the world they're on television they're there they're tweeting out their decrees but back then a king could just kind of be insulated from the people in his kingdom and he could have his nobles and they could go out and they can carry out as he Dixon is all the things that he wanted to do so it's very possible that no one in his kingdom knew what was going on with King Nebuchadnezzar But I want to know what happened to him Where did he go and who manage his kingdom were as there were other people battling to take over the throne we don't know any of these details maybe Daniel manage the kingdom we don't know but do you remember what God. It needed to happen before he never could as your sanity was restored it was in verses twenty five and twenty six. God says to him seven periods of time shall pass over you until you know. That the most high rules the kingdom of men gives us to whom we will and as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree your kingdom shall be confirmed for for you in other words will be given back from the time that you know that heaven rules and so this is exactly what happened let's finish the story verse thirty four. At the end of the days I never can as are lifted my eyes to heaven. And my reason returned to me and I bless the most high and praised and honored him who lives forever for his dominion is an everlasting dominion and this kingdom endures from generation to generation all the inhabitants of the earth or account of his nothing and he does according to His will among the hosts of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and none can say to his hand or say to him What have you done at the same time my reason returned to me and for the glory of my kingdom My Majesty and splendor returned to me my counsellors and my lord sought me out and I was established in my kingdom and still more greatness was added to me now I never can as your praise and extol and on are the King of Heaven for all His works are right and His ways are just and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. King Nebuchadnezzar went out the right way his life ended well in fact you know this is the last we hear about King Nebuchadnezzar one of the greatest youth that has ever walked on the face of the earth and all we have is the angles chapter one two and three and four and that's it again or Chapter five we are dealing with the new king but you know what the passages like this you read a story like this and what we're supposed to do whether you're a preacher or. Bible suit you read a story and you say OK what how my schools to apply this to my life what am I supposed to learn from this story and the most obvious one what would be to not be proud right the humility is a very important quality that God wants us to have and obviously we can take take that to heart but as I spent time reading this and I was thinking about the story and you know how how should we interpret this and how should we apply this to our life there's another thing that came to my mind and so I want to share that with you right now as we kind of close this some this message this Daniel Chapter four as we're reading through again in chapter four I'm just wondering how many of you were rooting. For King Nebuchadnezzar to be knocked off his throne how many of you want him to be wanted him to be home I mean in your heart in your mind you're like God given what he deserves it who does he think he is Why is it that we always see a person in a high position and we want them to be brought low we want you know the underdog we're always rooting for the underdog but we want to the guys atop the giant to be to be knocked down. Do you see in this story as I have seen that King Nebuchadnezzar as proud as he was God never gave up on him and God loved King Nebuchadnezzar and that's part of what this chapter is about King never can is a wrote that because of the discipline of God It led to him having an acceptance of God's sovereignty in His goodness and I think this shows us what our attitude should be like towards the proud you know someone in your life that is proud and arrogant you might say I want God to smite him you know those in preparatory prayers and we pray for our enemies but instead maybe we should view this from the standpoint God Love King Nebuchadnezzar and he wanted to show him mercy and so that's maybe the attitude that we should have sometimes towards those who are proud I have to. There are passages I want to read for you I want you to look at these with me are the first isn't First Timothy Chapter two. First Timothy Chapter two. And here the Apostle Paul is telling Timothy and all of us how should we respond or how we should respond to those in authority over us in the first some of the two beginning in verse one just a few verses here. It says first of all then I urge that supplications prayers intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people for kings and all who are in high positions now we may lead a peaceful and quiet life godly and dignified in every way and look at verse three this is good and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior who desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth this is what God wants His desire is not to humiliate the proud he is wanting them to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth and so what did God want King Nebuchadnezzar to know he tells us the exact same thing he wants them to know the truth says in verse twenty five your kingdom shall be confirmed back to you from the time that you know that they have been rules and this is a very unusual way for God to teach someone this lesson to strip him of his fantasy sometimes how many of you feel like you've just gone insane usually that's mothers of infants you know they feel like they've gone insane but some of us who you know this is quite a drastic approach that he took but not only did God use this discipline on King Nebuchadnezzar but we can look in the Bible and see other times when God did this is well that he will bring someone low so that they will have this understanding of God's goodness in His mercy I want to read one other passage and this is a Romans eleven. Over in your Bible so Romans eleven and this is dealing with the pride in the arrogance of the Nation of Israel and how God had temporarily set them aside to make them jealous so that they might know the truth of God's image. In Romans Chapter eleven this is talking about the selection principle of God and he's speaking first the possible speaking first to Gentiles and he says this about their relationship with the Jews Romans eleven verse thirty. Romans eleven verse thirty it says For just as you Gentiles were one time disobedient to God but now I have received mercy because of their disobedience so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy for God is consigned all to disobedience that he may have mercy on all of the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God how unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways for you know the mind of the Lord who has been his counselor or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid for from him and through him and to him are all things to him be glory forever amen God knows how to get our attention and the story here in Daniel Chapter four is obviously a lesson about the dangers of pride but even more than that we can read this and understand that this is a story about how much God loved King Nebuchadnezzar and he didn't give up on him. And if you're here today and you're wondering Does God give up on me will he ever give up on me if he was this gracious and kind to do what he needed to do to get King Nebuchadnezzar to realize who God was he will sometimes do that to all of us as well sometimes he needs to humble us so that we will know the mercy in the love of God. You know some of you are sitting here today and you might be thinking I know a few people in my life that are very proud and I wish God would do this for them if you're thinking that you don't have to raise your hand we know that you're also a king that I think all of us. From time to time but maybe what we should do instead as we look at this passage here is we should make our prayer in alignment with what we see here taking place in Daniel and then also especially in First Timothy Chapter two that we will have the heart of God that our desire for others is to not see them disciplined and humiliated but that our heart will be that we want other people to come to a knowledge of the truth so that they might be saved. I know it's hard to live in a world where we see injustice because we see it every single day it's very frustrating but when we have the heart of God and we want other people to understand God's goodness and mercy I think we are right we're God wants us to be and so let's make that our prayer and let's let's close in Perth right now the father is a church we come before you and we are living in a world full of lost people and so Father our prayer this morning is that you might use us if it is your will to show people your grace and your mercy so that they might know you. If anyone's here Lord is wrestling with pride I pray that you might humble us so that we can practice in know your truth or that's a dangerous prayer but I know sometimes our pride really puts us in opposition to you and we can't learn those lessons and be the person that you want us to be well Lord I thank you so much that you've given us this chapter here again a chapter four and all the lessons that we can learn from it but Lord we realize that you loved King Nebuchadnezzar and we thank you for your love for him and more importantly we thank you for your love for us thank you for using all the means at your disposal to get our attention off our self and onto you where they rightfully deserve to be and so now Lord I pray that we as a people that we as a church that we will have your desire be our desire that we will do anything in our power to share with others the truth of your grace and your mercy and we make that our Perth this morning in Christ and we pray the men. And now May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all the men.