There is no simply logical human reason, why it took me from the age of 13 to almost 30 to respond positively to the gospel and be Born Again. The same is true for a lady known as Sue Mills. Sue was in the church for a few years before I became the pastor. She would have heard the gospel many times. Her sight was extremely limited. She was very hard of hearing. A man who practiced sound engineering as a hobby, installed handheld, mini speakers into the pews for her to use. This system as well as the PA system he installed was archaic in that it was a valve system. Well, Sue was very attentive in church with her handheld speaker. I visited her a few times and she attended Bible Studies … and soon, at the age of 92 she asked me whether she could share her salvation testimony. There this little lady of just over five foot, literally blind and far more than half deaf telling the congregation how she, at the age of 92 became a Christian … and that they need to do the same. Why did it take so long? From a spiritual perspective we understand that God has His timetable as to when He through His Spirit permits inner hearing, gospel understanding and salvation … though it is a conundrum as to why we as humans can hear the gospel and hear the call and hear good expositional messages, yet remain unmoved, spiritually dead. Following the pathway of the world; doing the sinful damage we do; enjoying pride, arrogance and at times wayward living could have been avoided if God had just struck us in the soul and converted us to Jesus. Yet for reasons of His own, God saved us at the “right time, according to His appointed time, by giving us His Spirit, causing gospel understanding in the heart, which leads to effective and positive surrender to Jesus as Lord through confession, repentance and faith.” Only heaven knows why God permits
Da 4:32 “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.”
We might be extremely educated with a high eye-Q and take years before Truth is understood in the soul. We might however be “just normal” and Truth gels almost immediately in the soul. Only heaven knows why. There are some people (like myself) who needed, (like Nebuchadnezzar) much work by God before we came willingly to acknowledge Daniel’s God as the real Sovereign over all mankind throughout all the world, known or hidden.
1) The seven times has passed.
Da 4:34 At the end of that time. Praise God that for His elect, the times of struggle with pride to subdue “self” and come to Jesus willingly, will end.
It might takes years. It might be unpleasant as in the king’s case … he was like a brute beast, living as a beast … but the time frame required to understand the gospel does end.
2) The ingredient that brought “the end” was submission. Submission in the sense of a deep heartfelt acknowledgement that Daniel’s God is the only true God … the one who rules and reigns as King of Glory. I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven. Although there is more to it, the king stopped, surrendered and believed! He did what God required … it’s like the one who stops and does what God requires through the gospel. Why did the king “look to heaven”? Why does anyone “look to heave”? The king came to understand that his help came from the God of Heaven alone. There is no other “real” god. There are no contending forces to the Throne of Eternity. The God of Heaven is Sovereign and the king came to realize this. The battle for the soul can be intense, for the enemy of man’s soul is gruesome, deceitful and cunning. Yet God is stronger. It causes me to think of the fisherman, playing the fish, sometimes for lengthy periods until the fish submits to the fisherman. What happens with the fish?
(1) The need to escape knowing it is trapped and would die if it does not get free.
(2) Scientists seem to agree that although it might not be in the same sphere as humans, fish feel pain.
So the fish will fight, resist and attempt to free itself … and when it can’t, it submits and surrenders … knowing death is inevitable. The soul of man will resist the gospel, fighting (literally arguing, screaming, shouting, running, resisting) to prevent losing personal control over “self”. The process is often intense and could be extremely painful, expensive and humiliating … until man’s soul submits and surrenders to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The fisherman might not always get his way as some fish escape … but the Great Fisherman of man’s soul never loses His catch. He will bring that soul to the eternal shores of glory … kicking and screaming … but He will land the soul! In the 1950’s there was a serial on Springbok Radio … “No place to hide”. The elect of God will be saved. There is no place to hide to prevent surrender. It will happen.
3) The restoration of the soul. Far too many people mix Biblical language with political language because, seemingly, some might think heaven is this earth. The truth is that man’s soul is in a terrible condition being lost in sin and depravity. It is only once God’s Spirit comes in power and might and grants that soul “spiritual life” that the soul becomes restored. This restoration means “becoming right with God through Jesus’ sacrificial, substitutional offering”. Naturally restoration with mankind needs to follow, but “surrender to Jesus’ Lordship” means the restoration of man’s soul! At the moment the king believed, he says … and my sanity was restored. Nebuchadnezzar, through pride and arrogance thought he was untouchable and invincible. After much resisting, God’s time for his soul came and with it sanity was restored. His madness ceased. All mankind are spiritually insane affecting sensible thought when it comes to God. The sin ridden soul cannot think rationally in spiritual terms. A dead soul cannot behave as a living soul before God. A dead soul cannot consider spiritual matters. A dead soul cannot worship God who is Spirit because the “wave length” is spiritual. Please note that I am not including evil forces who are spirit beings. They might be spirit beings but they are spiritually dead beings and together with their master (satan) and his followers, they might communicate … but it is not on the “wave length” God and His people communicate and relate. Be it this king or any soul, the starting point of the restoration of the soul is agreeing with God. He is right.
Thank You, Father, that in love and grace You draw mans’ soul who are elect to Yourself irresistibly. Thank You for the new mind and sanity You give us in Jesus Christ. Amen.