Grace is Greater

God’s grace is greater than your sin. That’s what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:20, “Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”
All those who have experienced this great news are eager to share it with as many people possible. This is true whether you’re an ordinary person or royalty. Nebuchadnezzar ruled an empire renowned for its military, cultural, and artistic superiority. What could possibly be greater than building and ruling such a kingdom?
Nebuchadnezzar discovered that answer. When he did, he enthusiastically shared the news with the entire empire. This evening at 7pm we will read and learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony. We also learn, once again, from Daniel’s example. You see, the truth about God’s amazing grace will only be truly appreciated by the one who recognizes his utter sinfulness. In other words, the Good News is so good because the bad news is so bad. Daniel did not shrink back from communicating the TIMELESS TRUTH of God’s grace to his king. That required him to also be willing to describe why his king – like all of us – required grace.
Our text tonight will be Daniel 4. The Bible study will be live-streamed. While we have not officially relaunched the Wednesday night service, you are free to join us and welcomed.


Nebuchadnezzar Testifies

A humble heart pleases God. The Lord has said this through His prophet Isaiah, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (66:2b)  We read in the Psalms:
  • 34:18, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
  • 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” 
Christ Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes, the first four having to do with humility.
There is no doubt. Humility pleases God. The humble person may enjoy fellowship with their Creator. Sadly, humanity has always viewed humility as our current culture views smoking, something that is hazardous to your health and should be restricted.  We live in a world preoccupied with brains, bodies, and bank accounts. The by-product of all that is a perpetual and persistent self-love fest.

 I Want it My Way!

“Love yourself” is a popular mantra. Not a new one, just one that has become mainstream. Our schoolchildren are encouraged to write essays on “Why I am important” or “Why I love myself.”  Advertising campaigns encourage us to spend our extra money, or even money we don’t have, on ourselves because, “You’re worth it.”  We drive around with bumper stickers that boast about our elementary student who has made the honor roll. The only humor in this is that it all transpires during an age of participation awards! Society has taken “Ol’ Blue Eyes” at his word, and everyone sings to himself, and anyone who will listen, “I did it my way!” Or if they haven’t done anything, “I want it my way!”
But in a list of seven things which Almighty God hates (Yes, such a list exists. Just follow the link.), pride is listed first. We also read from the wisdom of Proverbs 16:5a, “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord…” and “A high look, and a proud heart…is sin” (21:4). To drive home the point we have the example of King Uzziah, who the Chronicler says was “marvelously helped, till he was strong. But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction,” (2 Chronicles 26:16).

God’s Way is Best

Daniel 4 is the text for this evening’s Bible study. Here we have King Nebuchadnezzar enjoying the golden years of his life and rule. The world was conquered, the borders were secure, and all the economic indicators were strong. He had palaces, power, and prosperity. Despite all that, he had a problem. He was troubled, once again, by an awful dream.
Daniel was the Lord’s instrument. He interpreted the King’s dream and identified Nebuchadnezzar’s principal problem as pride. Up to this point he had failed to acknowledge that it is ultimately God who rules. The king’s world was bound up in himself. Nebuchadnezzar’s problem was not low self-esteem. He esteemed himself too highly, and did not esteem God at all.  That had to change.  What was the remedy?  Verse 25 provides it. Nebuchadnezzar needed to acknowledge “that the Most High rules in the kingdoms of men.” Nebuchadnezzar must look away from himself, and look to Almighty God. This is the proper therapy for all who suffer from a proud heart.
Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony is powerful. Not because he was a powerful man but because he finally acknowledged that heaven rules! 


But There Is a God in Heaven

Nebuchadnezzar was so troubled he couldn’t sleep. His problem wasn’t just a weird or scary dream. The king feared losing what he had gained and still desired. Those fears about security and safety highlighted his struggle with ultimate issues: “Who am I? How did I get here? Why am I here? Where am I going? What does it matter?”
Nebuchadnezzar was so troubled he couldn’t think clearly. Since the wise men of the realm couldn’t explain his dream before they interpreted it, he commanded that they all be executed. In stepped Daniel. He got involved, along with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Their involvement was characterized by tact, prayer, practicality, thanksgiving, purposefulness, and humility. As Daniel stood before Nebuchadnezzar, this ruthless government leader asked him, “Are you able to tell me the dream I had and its interpretation?” (2:24b)

Not Me. But God

Every eye in the room was fixed on Daniel. A lot depended on what he was about to say and do. Time seems to stand still in meaningful moments like this, and the senses seem to be sharpened. Not only were all eyes focused on Daniel, but every ear was straining to hear exactly what he would say. What they heard was, “No. There is not a wise man, astrologer, magician, or soothsayer who can show the king what he desires.”

No doubt there were audible gasps in the room at that moment. Arioch the Captain of the Guard may have looked stunned and betrayed. I imagine Nebuchadnezzar’s eyes were instantly enflamed with fury. Perhaps not a few wise men sighed and hung their heads. All of this would have transpired in mere seconds, you understand, because there was not a wise man, astrologer, magician, or soothsayer who can show the king what he desires. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has let King Nebuchadnezzar know what will happen in the last days.”  (vv. 27-28)

You’ve heard it said before, but it’s a truth worth repeating, with men it is impossible, but not with God, for with God all things are possible. That’s not restricted to interpreting dreams.
This morning (and next Sunday) we will have an 11am drive-in service, and it will also be live-streamed. Please join us!