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Devotionals

Dare to Be a Daniel (Part 21)

How many parents have said to their children something like … “What will it take to get your attention?” Loving, caring parents often find their children delinquent. They warn them, instruct them, love them, discipline them … yet they just don’t seem to have ears. At times we could blame this on adolescence when children transition from 10 or 11 to teenage life. For many children these are extremely traumatic years, not because they are willfully obstinate, but because they are confused. All very much part of growing up. Yet on the other hand, there are those who push the limits beyond the experimental to failing in or neglectful of duty or obligation (as the dictionary puts it). These are the parents who pull their hair out because it is almost as though trouble is their second name … and parents ask … “What will it take to get your attention?” In Daniel chapter 4 we find this picture of God saying to Nebuchadnezzar … “What will it take to get your attention?” The word delinquent might seem strange used of this king but this is what he and kings like him where like in those days. Take this one as an example. He was the king of all the known world … for he addressed himself to them

Da 4:1 King Nebuchadnezzar, To the peoples, nations and men of every language, who live in all the world: May you prosper greatly!

The phrase “in all the world” was used by the Assyrian and Babylonian kings because their dominion to them stretched across the inhabited world. So here is the king of all the world … the true God has been speaking to him, even forewarning him of what will happen to his kingdom in the future (the first dream of the image), yet he still follows his “fake” god whose name was “Belteshazzar”. (See verse 8: “He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.”)

He has all the power and all the wealth coupled to all the fame … yet God sees his heart … it is delinquent. He will not relinquish his personal gods and the gods he believed in. He was seen by God as wayward, rebellious and stubborn. It is into this context God is saying to him something like … “What will it take to get your attention?” In his commentary on Daniel, R.S. Wallace was right to compare Daniel chapter 4 to the Parable Jesus told in Luke 12

Lk 12:13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

What dominated Nebuchadnezzar’s heart was wealth power and fame. He saw himself as a demi-god … the ruler of all the known and inhabited world. He was untouchable and all powerful. He spoke and it was (think of the three men in the furnace). He wanted more like the rich man in Luke 12. To him as the king God is saying … ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ … or … as Mark puts it

Mk 8:36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

May I ask of you my friend … is God trying to get your attention? Are you like the one seeking to gain the whole world for personal enjoyment, yet at the same time you are forfeiting your soul? Meaning … losing your soul to eternal death in damnation? Is God saying to you … “What will it take to get your attention?” Far too many people who follow Jesus have placed more focus on the here and the now in place of the there and then. Eternity ought to be our most important consideration! You almost get the picture that Nebuchadnezzar prided himself greatly. It seems as though his perception was that because of his wealth and reign, the people of the kingdom themselves would enjoy prosperity. Look again at this verse

Da 4:1 King Nebuchadnezzar, To the peoples, nations and men of every language, who live in all the world: May you prosper greatly!

This is bordering on boastful arrogance. Because of me you ought to enjoy plenty as I do.

1) The king’s boasting includes the favor of Deity

Da 4:2 It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. 3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.

(1) He is pleased to inform the subjects of his kingdom of him being favored. You see the signs of him seeking to increase his image in that the “Most High God” has targeted him for such supernatural blessings.

(2) The Most High God as you are aware is to the king just another god who is the leader of the pantheon of gods he worships and follows. Even through his past experience (the dream of the image), he has not yet understood there is just one true God.

(3) He acknowledges that this Most High God’s kingdom is eternal but qualified it in human terms by saying it continues, unlike his, from generation to generation. His view of the one he sees as the lead god is based upon human and pagan mythology.

(4) His arrogance is seen in him declaring that the miraculous signs and wonders were performed by this Most High God for him personally. Spiritual deadness is deep in his heart because paganism is an addictive religious persuasion, instilled by none other the true God’s enemy, the devil. Please stop and think through these two issues by asking …

(a) Is my understanding of deity in line with what the Bible teaches about the Triune God, who created, sustains and saves through the precious blood of his Beloved Son, Jesus?

(b) Am I living my life with eternity in mind or am I seeking to build my kingdom here on earth where rust and moth will destroy?

Father, You who are seated upon the Great Throne of Eternity, help me to clarify You as my King and live confidently for Your Kingdom. Amen.

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