Friday, July 31, 2015

Keeping It Real

Originally Published on Thursday, October 21, 2004

Keeping It Real

Daniel 4 is a chapter not often mentioned. Not even in the Daniel and Revelation Seminars is it talked about. A lot of the focus is in the miracles, dreams and prophecy. However, Daniel 4 is a powerful chapter. Daniel 4 is the gospel in verity. Daniel 4 shows us that we are sinners in need of a Savior, what we become when we are proud and rebellious, and what we can become if we just listen and submit to God by faith. Like Nebuchadnezzar, we would be not afraid to worship God and tell others about it if we tasted and saw how good He is. 

You see, outside of Christ we are all Nebuchadnezzars. In our sinful nature, we are all proud and rebellious. Pride and arrogance are usually combined in the Old Testament, and sometimes used intermittently. These terms mean presumption, swelling, exaltation, and puffed up; thinking yourself more important and better than you really are. Pride is a delusion that comes from our human sinful condition, and rebellion follows in its trail. Rebellion is unwillingness to yield to the authority of the ruler or government to which one owes obedience. Now, if obedience as per the Old Testament, means to listen attentively, to hear-- with a willingness to do, then rebellion is obviously disobedience whether felt or expressed verbally or behaviorally. Sinfulness is the path of wanting to do your own thing, your own way, and in your own timing. It is self-righteousness, and nothing less. As has been so aptly stated by Pastor Sequeira, "All of this world's systems- nationalism, commerce, education, politics, recreation, sports clubs, are based on Satan's principle of self-love." Self-centeredness, and selfishness underlie all of these systems, because they were constructed by sinful human beings, for whom self seeking is the norm. According to I Cor. 13, love seeks not her own, is not puffed up, is not boastful, rejoices in the right... you get the picture. So none of the systems devised by the world (human beings) are based on true love. Instead ethics and morals, and policies have been used to replace God's indwelling Spirit. But,they are all vanity and futile (Ecclesiastes 2:11) and will fade away like a leaf. In reality, when we put our trust in these systems, and their outcome to "have the good life," we fail of reaching the mark of God's character He has set before us, and we sin--"for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." (Romans 14:23.) 

We can understand why God sends us His messengers, trials and judgments, if we want to. He wants to restore us to what we would have been had we never sinned. Sin is deceptive, and we have a bent to it, a tendency to lean into crookedness. We can never be with them (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) while we have the attributes of His mortal enemy. Thus the messengers, trials and judgments are to allow us to see how we really are, and who He really is in relation to us. God want us to get a reality check. In a sense God wants for us 
to keep it real. This is an _expression now used to mean: do not forget where you come from, and the ones who love you. God is trying to remind us that we belong to Him and no one can ever love – agape - us like He does. God is reminding us that we need to totally depend on Him, if we are to be good and righteous. "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" (Rom. 3:10.) and, "there is none good but one, that is, God." (Mark 10:18.) 

Like with Nebuchadnezzar, sometimes His judgments seem harsh. But, are they really? Someone determined that between Daniel 1 and Daniel 4 was at least 25 years. In twenty-five years he still did not get it. You may also notice in Daniel 4, and throughout the Scriptures, that God always sent warnings prior to sentencing the guilty parties and executing the sentence upon them. There was ample time and opportunity for Nebuchadnezzar to repent from his proud and rebellious ways. I would argue that God revealed his character to Nebuchadnezzar and those surrounding him, through 
the Hebrew captives who served him. He is not a God who hides His true nature. To save the king, God allowed him to become outwardly, what he was inwardly: a beast without consciousness or dignity. God did say He would humble the proud. He humbled King Nebuchadnezzar, and He will humble all of us-- to save us from ultimate destruction-- if it is necessary. Talk about keeping it real. Daniel 4 says, 

Dan. 4:34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes 
unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and 
I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 
Dan. 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and 
he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the 
inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? 
Dan. 4:37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of 
heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. 

Nebuchadnezzar's words-- his ultimate praise of God's sovereignty and power, can be ours if we only learn his lesson. Sister White says, 

The lesson that the Lord would have all humanity learn from the experience of the king of Babylon is that all who walk in pride He is able to abase. By stern discipline Nebuchadnezzar had to learn the lesson that God, not man, is Ruler, that His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. So men today must learn that God is supreme. When men gain success in the work of the Lord, it is because God 
has given them this success, not for their own glory, but for God's glory. He who seeks to steal a ray of light from the glory of the Lord will find that he will be punished for his presumption. (E. G. White Notes, p. 26) 

Christ says in Revelation 3:20-- " Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if 
any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will 
sup with him, and he with Me." How will we answer Him? 
Raul Diaz & Maria Greaves-Barnes 

Raul Diaz