Friday, 2 October 2015

Bible Reading: Daniel 4v28-37 'Humbled at last'

As Nebuchadnezzar recounts the testimony to his empire of God's work in his life one of the striking thing is his honesty about his sin and rebellion.  Pride is replaced by an honesty and integrity that seems to see God glorified and not do anything that gets in the way or deflects from that glory.

Nebuchadnezzar refused to repent, he refuses to heed warning, to acknowledge God as Sovereign and so twelve months later as he revels in his achievements, in his sovereignty he is struck down.  It's worth saying that in many ways his boasting is right; he has done some amazing things – he rules Babylon that has become the empire, he has built or renovated over a dozen temples, completed the great walled city of Babylon, and built a new palace with connecting hanging gardens. But he does  not and will not acknowledge God, he thinks it is all due to his sovereignty and power.

The response to such arrogance is, verse 31, 33,  instant – the decree is issued just as in dream.  Twelve months have passed but God does not forget, his word does not fail, God is faithful.  Nebuchadnezzar refuses to acknowledge God’s glory but boasts in his own and so God removes it.

But notice that there is again the promise of mercy, verse 32, even in the word of judgement in the word “until” God's judgement is designed to bring Nebuchadnezzar to his senses not to destroy him, it is to humble him not to damned him.

In verse 34 we see that cause and effect of God's decree being fulfilled: this proud boastful, self assured, self-adulating king is humbled and he raised eyes heavenward and his sanity is restored. Then he praised the Most high.  Looking to heaven suggests that he is seeking God (34), and his praise of God gives God the glory he has up to now refused to – God is king!  And as a result, verse 36, God is merciful and responds to Nebuchadnezzar repentance and recognition of him as Sovereign Lord.  And, verse 37, Nebuchadnezzar's change is not temporary but permanent, he now lives to praise and exalt and glorify the king of kings - there are few better statements that sum up the believers life and purpose.  Salvation by grace leads to a life lived for God's praise, exaltation and glory.

It is good to think on how we received mercy, how gracious God was in humbling us, in bringing us to the cross where we stood amazed at his love for us.  As we do so may we head in to today resolved to therefore praise, exalt and glorify the King of Kings.

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