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Pride and Praise - Daniel 4:4-37 - In Babylon

Breaking Barriers / Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church
The Truth Network Radio
June 3, 2023 8:00 am

Pride and Praise - Daniel 4:4-37 - In Babylon

Breaking Barriers / Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church

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June 3, 2023 8:00 am

Success and blessing can be very dangerous because they put us in a position to become prideful. Can we grow into people who can handle what God gives us to steward?

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Amen. Well hey guys, welcome across all of our locations today. I hope you guys are having a great weekend. I will confess I have a little bit of beard envy with Brandon, okay, on the screen.

He's got that nice tight. But hey, I got really cool news and that is that video was filmed a little bit earlier in the week. Since that video was filmed, three people have accepted Christ on Dalhousie's campus. From our City Project students being out there, sharing the gospel, and they're going to plug them into Poor City. Here's one of the coolest things about this year's class of City Project students. There's 15 City Project students and four of them have a background with M.H.

students. So what that means is we think our church planting pipeline starts with the college ministry. Oh no, actually it starts with the middle school and high school ministry.

But you guys know where I'm going with this. What feeds the middle school and high school ministry? Kids week. It's our kids ministry.

I'm going to do this, but I'm going to do it again. Guys, I want to invite you to think about serving June 19th through the 22nd. Some of you, there are people every single year, and I wonder what this speaks to your company, to your co-workers, when you decide to take vacation time to come up here and pour out for kids.

You guys can take that down. There's going to be kids here that they're only here one time a year. We get a chance to share the gospel with them.

Who knows? Through you jumping in and serving. And we've got places to serve for every single body, okay. There are places to serve in.

Parking and security, snacks, leading a class, worship, whatever it is, okay, that God has blessed you in and given you the ability to do. And if you think, man, I don't have any talents, we will find a talent that you have and plug you in, okay, to what is going on. Right now, our registration is sitting right over 600 kids, which is really exciting, because these next two weeks are the big push, okay. And here's what happens. This is just how it works. We have about 300 adults signed up, and I'm going to tell you something. If we end up with 500,000 kids, 50 adults signed up, we'll break 1000 with the kids. I can't tell you exactly how the math and how God always does that.

I'm just telling you, we think it works one way, it works the other way. When we prepare the jars, when we say, God, we're ready for you to pour out your blessing. We have prepared this place for this many kids to come across all of our locations. I don't know what he's going to do, but I've seen it happen a bunch of times in my life.

It seems like when we prepare the jars, he just sort of fills them. So if you have an opportunity, man, we would ask you to jump in with that. All right, we're going to be in Daniel chapter four today. So you guys, if you have a copy of scripture, can take it out and turn with me there.

We're going to continue in our series here. And this is pretty cool today. We get a chance to study potentially the only chapter of the Bible that was written by a pagan king, okay. Or at least it's a story told from his perspective. That's what we're going to talk about today. We're going to talk about Nebuchadnezzar and the great humbling. We're going to talk about pride that turned into praise. All right, but there's a great story here. It's a great humbling that happens in his life. And my hope is that we're going to be able to take from this story.

Guys, a lot of times there's a bunch of different things we can apply and all of that. There's really one big idea today. And that is this, success and blessing can be very dangerous. They can be very dangerous because they put us in a position to become prideful. And that's what happened to Nebuchadnezzar. Man, look at my kingdom. Look what I built. Look what I have done. And God actually in his grace humbles him rather than just taking him out. We're going to see that, all right.

But I just want to talk to us for just a minute. You know, many Christians, listen, many Christians will pass the test of poverty only to fail the test of prosperity. Many, look around the world, many Christians can endure affliction. Can we endure affluence? And I think sometimes what happens in Christian lives is this, we understand that principle. So here's what we do. And this is what I want to push us away from today.

Here's what we do. Because we understand the danger of affluence and success and blessing and these types of things, we want to shy away from them many times. And we don't want to step into God's full potential for our life because we've read the parable of the sower and the thorns really scare us to death.

And so we just want to shrink back. What if God doesn't want us to shrink back from those dreams that he's putting in your heart? What if he doesn't want you to shrink back from the fullest life possible to move the needle for his kingdom? What if he wants you to grow today into the type of person who can handle what he wants you to steward for him? Become that type of person, like gain the strength needed to grab onto something that is heavy. There is no doubt, all right.

Prosperity, blessing, success, affluence, they are powerful, they are dangerous. You got to be a pretty strong, mature believer. Maybe God wants to grow you in that today.

Maybe he wants to do that in your life. To borrow Paul's language that I've been reading in just my own kind of personal time, just a lot of Paul lately. And one of the things that he says that kind of jumped off the page is sometimes we can shipwreck our faith. One of the fastest ways we can shipwreck our faith is not being ready to handle the success and steward the blessings that God wants to give us. So let's grow in that today by looking at a story that is famous in the scripture for a guy who just wasn't ready for the blessings that God had put in his life and the leadership opportunities and the affluence and all that stuff. He wasn't strong enough to handle it.

He grabbed something that he wasn't strong enough to hold. Right, and we can grow today. We could become the people I think by God's grace that can be a type of people who even in the midst of success and affluence and whatever, I know everybody's not there, but chances are you're gonna be there at some point in your life at some point. And I think a lot of us are probably there.

Maybe you are there today. If that's where you are, are you developing the character to be able, man, to hold onto that without shipwrecking your faith to steward what God has given you? Look what it says in verse seven in chapter four. Now what, I've gotta skip through here because there's a lot of scripture today, okay? Nebuchadnezzar has had a dream.

Now you're caught up. All right, verse seven. Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers came in and I told them, because remember, this is the only passage of the scripture that's written by or from the perspective of this pagan king, okay? So he's saying, hi, this is Nebuchadnezzar.

I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its interpretation. At last, Daniel came in before me, who's name, he who was named Belteshazzar after the name of my God. Now just footnote that for a second, okay? Daniel's coming in. He's accepted this new name, the name of the pagan God. And in whom, in the spirit of, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. And I told him the dream saying, oh, Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too difficult for you.

Tell me the visions of my dream that I saw and their interpretation. Look at me quickly again at verse nine. Oh, Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians. Okay, now, this whole thing is about pride and praise, but I'm gonna stop for one minute and make a very similar point that I made two weeks ago.

Okay, and I just have to go there because we need this, I think, for our church and for unity. Now listen, this is 30 years after the fiery furnace, okay? So Daniel's probably in his 50s or something like that.

The king is enjoying his prosperity, his luxury. He has this crazy dream. He calls in the enchanters, the magicians.

They can't do it, of course. And so finally he calls in Daniel. Now, one of the points that I made two weeks ago in a sermon, I'm gonna make it real quick again here, is that Christians have got to be mature enough to understand what is black and white and what is gray in the Bible. Now what I mean by that is black and white clears a bell. Gray, it's like, man, I'm gonna have a conviction on that and you should, and my conviction, I think I'm right, and I've used the scripture to get there and I can show you how, but at the end of the day, if you don't agree with me, we're gonna have to just kind of say I agree to disagree without dividing. All right, black and white, gray.

Primary, secondary, closed hand, open hand. You can say it however you want, all right? Now here's what I would say. When things are gray, we need grace with each other. When things are black and white, we need backbone and courage.

But when things are gray, we need to be gracious with one another. Now why am I bringing this up here? Guys, I mentioned this before and I just wanna say it one more time. Has anybody wrestled with the fact that Daniel, who is put forth as a model for thriving in Babylon, has fully accepted the name, Belle is my God? I mean, how many of us can, I mean, can we fathom that? That my name is Daniel, that was my given name, but now I literally go by the name, a demonic idol is my God and I'm just deciding that right now, the best way that I know how, Jeremiah 29, to seek the peace of this city is not to have that be a hill that I die on. Have you wrestled with that? I mean, just think about that for a minute.

Okay, but it gets worse, right? He now has become the chief of the magicians. He is no longer at Hogwarts, he's Dumbledore. Okay, he's the guy at the very top of all of this. And I'm gonna tell you something, if we can't understand from this that part of thriving in Babylon is wrestling in that gray, is growing in that gray, is allowing the scripture to be complex when it is complex. If God wanted to tell us something that's clear as a bell, he would have, and he does on many, many, many issues. But I'll be honest with you, can you accept a name from a pagan king that means something demonic? Daniel did, I got my opinion on that.

Maybe you have an opinion on that, but Daniel did. It's part of wrestling, it's part of thriving in Babylon. If we're a type of people who think that there is a black and white answer to every single thing, we'll start slapping verses and you know, although he's approving of those. I mean, make it even worse, he's using his gifts and talents to further the rule of a pagan, murderous, slaving king. And yet he's trying his best to seek the peace of this city, of what God has called him to do in Jeremiah 29. Does that make sense? It's not, my point is this, we've gotta grow and realize there's complexities in some of these things. All right, you know, because we gotta wrestle too.

Listen, we're wrestling all the time. I mean, everybody's boycotting every single thing now. Do you join in, do you not join in? Can you even shop it?

Some of these, you know, can you shop at Target anymore? Exactly how much sin is okay to watch as a family movie? You know, I was thinking about this.

I was like, well, you know, my family loves the Sandlot, but there is an illicit kissing scene, swearing and tobacco use, okay? If that's a sin, all right, I don't know. But you know, it's like, I don't know. Is that okay, is that not okay? You know what I mean? Like we've got to be able to wrestle with some of these things. Maybe your company or company of a loved one donates to causes that absolutely do not square with the Bible.

Can you keep working there? These are the type of issues where it's like, man, we need to have a conviction, but we've got to understand the difference in saying I would never, and then saying you should never. Two different things. We've got to be able to be led by the spirit of these things, because if not, we will become Pharisees. And if you remember, that's who Jesus had his harshest criticism for. For whatever reason in our stream of church, and I am so guilty of this too, okay? We make a big deal if somebody looks at something that is sin and says that it's not, but we don't realize that it's a really big deal when somebody looks at something that isn't clearly sin and says that it is. Because that's actually when you have done what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 15. You are now teaching as a doctrine what are actually the traditions of man.

You know, so one actually maybe is kind of even worse. And we've just got to hold that and realize that, all right? So listen, as a model that is put forth, Daniel is wrestling with these things, and what he's trying to do to fulfill that, man, we're going to seek the peace of the city, is he's okay with going through some things, and then other things, it's a full stop.

We're going to see this later in his life. Oh, tell me I'm not a lot of prey to anybody anymore except for the king. No, we go to the lion's den, that's fine. Because it's black and white. Stand, backbone, courage, some things are gray.

We need to have grace with each other on this, all right? Verse 10, now here's what we get into this dream here. The visions of my head as I lay in bed were these. I saw and behold a tree in the midst of the earth and its height was great. The tree grew and became strong and its top reached into heaven and was visible to the end of the whole earth. Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant and it was fruit and it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it and the birds of the heavens lived in its branches and all flesh was fed from it. I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in my bed and behold, a watcher, a holy one, a divine figure.

Okay, there's a lot of debate on who this exactly is or whatever, but sent from God, we can I think say that. Came down from heaven, he proclaimed aloud and said thus, chop down the tree and lop off its branches. Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit, let the beast flee from under it. And the birds from its branches. Now this is one of the biggest, listen, you wanna talk about grace in the scripture? It's all over the Bible, from beginning to end.

You wanna talk about grace? But leave the stumps and its root in the earth bound with the band of iron and bronze. You bind something with iron and bronze to protect that stump from dying, to protect it from getting uprooted. Amid the tender grass of the field. Now, let him be wet with the dew of heaven. Let his portion be with the beast in the grass of the earth.

Now this is getting a little weird, okay. Let his mind be changed from a man's and let a beast's mind be given to him. And let seven periods of time pass over him. The sentence is by decree of the watchers and decision by the word of the holy ones to the end that the living may know that the most high rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men. Now, I'm gonna skip about 10 verses here and just kind of fill us in because what Daniel does is Daniel retells the whole vision as he's telling the interpretation of it, okay. So you gotta catch this right now or the rest of the sermon may not make any sense.

This is the interpretation. Daniel says, Nebuchadnezzar, you are the tree because of your pride and because of what we see here in this last part that you don't understand that there is a God in heaven who gives kingdoms, you are gonna be cut down and you are gonna end up acting like a beast and you're thinking you're more than a man, you're gonna end up being sort of less and you're gonna end up coming into this time where you're acting like a beast but that won't be the end of the story because God in his grace is leaving a stump and binding it with iron and bronze or whatever said. Verse 26, and as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom will be confirmed for you from that time that you know that heaven rules. What he's saying is there will be a restoration. Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you.

Break off your sins by practicing righteousness and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity. Now, what do we see here? What's going on? This is what's going on in a nutshell and it's a very long story today, actually longer than we normally do, okay? So I'm having to hope you guys can just kind of stay with me and hold all this in our mind. But the core issue here, and we're gonna see how he walks in this, right?

Nebuchadnezzar, a year later, walks in this exact prophecy. But here's what the deal is. Daniel is saying, hey, you are this tree that has turned into a massive kingdom that spreads over the whole earth, but you think it's yours. At the core of it, you are thinking, because God gave it to me to control, actually, I'm the one who built it. Actually, I'm the one who owns it. Translation, you thought you built it, you thought it was all yours.

And actually, it was something that God had given to you. Now, one of the things that we've got to understand about this passage, because listen, there are three stories that collide in the scripture. And I know that I'm borrowing on some Old Testament here, and so I've gotta just, I've gotta hope that, you know, if you don't know what I'm talking about, man, we gotta just catch up, and you can.

You can jump in, you can get in the scripture, I'll give you where to go. There are three stories that collide in Babylon. One is the story of the Tower of Babel. Another, obviously, is the one we're telling here. Now another, we're gonna get into later, is the story of a guy named Jacob who saw a ladder that opened up to heaven, and he called it the Gate of Heaven.

Another way to say that is Babel, okay? That's kind of the idea. And so, what we have is, we have these stories that are kind of all layering up and sort of coming together. Now, what about the Tower of Babel and this story that he's seeing with his tree that goes up?

Well, there's a lot of similarities, right? This tree goes all the way up and touches heaven, and what he's saying is, you are that tree that has gone all the way up, and you're falling in danger of thinking that you built what it was, that you built your way all the way to God, that you proved something about yourself to him in your arrogance and in your pride. And the very same thing happened with the Tower of Babel. If you remember, the Tower of Babel was a symbol of pride and accomplishment, where the whole earth gathered together and built this tower. We're gonna build it all the way to God so that we can be like God as well, and that's what Nebuchadnezzar is falling into here.

Now, the story actually goes on, and what happens is very similar to the vision that he had. Look at verse 28. All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of 12 months, he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, is not this great Babylon, listen, which I have built by my power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty. While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven. Oh, King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken. The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, probably means seven years, until you know that the most high rules the kingdom of man and gives it to whom he will. And immediately, the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as an eagle's feathers, and his nails were like birds' claws.

So a year later, the dream is confirmed. Nebuchadnezzar is walking on the walls of the city, and he looks down, and he says, look at this mighty kingdom that I have built for my glory. I deserve it, I have built it, it's mine.

Boom. Now, if you're like me, it's like, okay, I have no idea what it's like to be a king, walking on the city, and think I've built the whole thing, right? But you know, there's another story in the Bible that's very similar to this that kind of humanizes this for us. Can you think of another king who was out in a stroll at the top of his kingdom and was looking all around one day, right? See, I don't know what it's like to say this is my kingdom, but I think the story of David, actually, there's a lot of allusions to it here. If you remember, in this story, Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar before he falls, what does he say? You are the tree. What does Nathan say after David falls?

You are the man. What happened in David's life? He stood up on the top of that roof and he saw Bathsheba and he decided, this is my kingdom.

And it doesn't matter what's going on. I have a desire here, and this is my kingdom. And I have built it, and I will take it. Now, that still may not, you know, it's like, well, okay, that's a little bit different. Maybe that humanizes it a little bit for us.

Guys, certainly you can see where I'm coming from. Can we not understand how many times in our life do we say, this is my home, and it will run exactly as I say? How many times do we say, these are my kids, and their destiny and their future is in my hands? How many times do we say, this is my business, this is my classroom, this is my team, right?

The same heart beats in us, guys. Man, just a tragic story that has haunted me from a few years ago. There was a pastor, you know, big, big church that had been, you know, years there and all that kind of stuff, and he ended up falling out of ministry. And the way that he fell out of ministry was a story that happened just like this. Man, he started sinning. He started sinning against staff, sinning against his family, sinning against himself. People tried to talk to him, wouldn't listen. And the last straw for this brother was when the directional elders, whatever they would have called it, okay, we would call it directional elders here, but when the elders of this church came, and they said, man, we gotta talk to you, we've gotta confront you, you know what he said? He said, I am the senior pastor here, and this is my church.

It's haunting to me, right? Because I even know for me, man, I'm not immune. I mean, how many times could I end up falling and thinking this is my ministry, or this is my community group, or how many of us might think this is my thing? Like, we think things are ours, and when we do, we manifest the pride.

This is what I was talking about in the introduction. When I say we have to grow into the type of people who can handle the success that God is calling us to steward, all I mean by that is can we handle the knowledge of, it's not mine. Amen.

That's all that I mean. That's really all it comes down to, that God has done this in my midst. He has used me for his glory. Man, it's not mine. This position isn't mine. This house isn't mine.

This family isn't mine. Man, God has blessed me and given it to me to steward for a little while. See, pride, let's talk about pride, because that's what goes on. Why do we think it's ours?

What fuels up and wells up in our heart? It's the pride. Pride is the satisfaction drawn from one's own achievements. That's the definition of pride.

Now, there's a part of that that's not bad. Guys, we say proud. Paul says this in the New Testament. He says I'm proud of you and all that kind of stuff. There's a way that we use little, you know, a lot of times I'll say capital P pride or lowercase, okay? And sometimes it's like, it's a good way to think about it. When one of my boys does something or Hattie Jo kicks a goal for soccer and I say I'm proud of you, I don't think I'm getting struck down by being sinful, okay?

It's like, man, we're excited, we love, we use that word. But this concept of the satisfaction that comes my own achievement, I on my own did this or that. That's what happened in Nebuchadnezzar. I mean, that's what happened to David.

That's what happens to us. It's mine. I stand up on the city wall and I say, look at what I have built. He actually says for my glory, my majesty. Many of us would never say that with our lips, but we manifest it with our heart.

We manifest it in our life and it's a gross violation of the creative design because what do we have that we were not given, right? You know, I thought about this story. You know, in 1942, Douglas MacArthur, he had to leave Bataan.

Some of you guys might remember this. He had to leave 90,000 troops behind in order to get out and make it to Australia and be able to fight and live to fight another day. And the big mantra from MacArthur was, I will return, I will come back. And it was a tragic thing.

If you've ever read about the Bataan Death March, I mean, just thousands and thousands of deaths and you know, the people that were as the Japanese invaded. But two years later, MacArthur did come back. He kept talking and you know, kind of a brash guy, kind of, you know, was talking to, you know, everybody knew I'm coming back, I'm coming back. And I don't know if this is true or not, all right. I remember this story from when I was in college. But the story goes that when they were coming back to liberate the Philippines, all right, the minister of the Philippines was in the boat and MacArthur was in the boat. This is the story, the way the story goes. And the minister of the Philippines said, you've got to get the skiff really close to the beach because I don't want to jump out in the deep water.

Why? I don't want my people to see that I can't swim. MacArthur said, you know, that's a good point. I don't want my people to see that I can't walk on water. I think about that, you know, I think about stories like that, I think about the way that we view our own accomplishments sometimes, right.

The way that we think have we done it. This is a pretty scary verse. Proverbs 16 five, everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord.

Be assured he will not go unpunished. The Nebuchadnezzar is humbled. How did he get humbled?

Man, he acted like more than a man. So God treated him like less than a man. In order to humble him, it's his grace.

He could have just taken him out. We're gonna see that in a story in the next week or two, okay, where one king manifest probably like that, gone because that's what you deserve. Grace is getting something that you didn't deserve. And it's just grace in his life that he gets the long hair and the claws and all this. I'm gonna be honest with y'all, when I was in Sunday school as a kid, this story scared me to death, okay.

I mean, just the image of the claws and the image of the, I don't really know, the hair like as long as an eagle feather and just the imagery of all that kind of stuff, they kind of scare me to death. Actually, there's a clinical, you know, name for this. And there's been other people who have, I know this is crazy, this is crazy. There's been other people who have suffered from a very similar thing.

It's called clinical lycanthropy. And there's been different stories about people. It's really where the mythology of werewolves comes from that people just one day sort of think they're a cow or they think they're an animal.

And it's kind of a crazy thing. Well, something like this was going on with Nebuchadnezzar for seven years. And now here's what happens. Look at verse 34. Probably seven years later, at the end of the days, Nebuchadnezzar, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven and my reason returned to me.

You see how that works? Man, he lifts up his eyes and his reason returns. And I bless the most high, pride to praise. And I praised and honored him who lives forever. His dominion is an everlasting dominion and his kingdom endures from generation to generation.

What a turn. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing. And he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. And none can stay his hand or say to him, what have you done? At the same time, my reason returned to me and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and my splendor returned to me.

Apparently he was restored to the place of prominence where he was. My counselors and my Lord sought me and I was established in my kingdom and still more greatness was added to be. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the king of heaven for all his works are right and his ways are just. And those who walk in pride, this is the whole point, those who walk in pride, he is able to humble. Now this, I'm gonna tell y'all as a preacher, this is one of the stories where it's like, man, I don't know, should you just read it? And then we all go home.

I mean, it's like the point is so evidently clear, right? Of when we think it's ours and then in God's grace, he humbles us, he doesn't even have to do that. It's such a good thing for us to study today because I know in my life, man, there are many areas of my life where I need to be humbled. We need to see what God is doing in Nebuchadnezzar's life. That humility finally is manifest for him just as he understands, man, this is not my kingdom and it is actually God who controls who is in control. I told you guys the very first sermon that we talked about this in Daniel chapter one, that we can almost understand nothing else if we don't understand the sovereignty of God. And now Nebuchadnezzar is starting to get that and starting to understand it. This event happened in his life for the sake of his humility.

You know, I think about this in my life, a very similar thing happened to me. I didn't turn into an animal, but I was humbled. This is funny, Anna ran a marathon a month ago or something like that and she crushed it. She did awesome, it was her first one. And so I told you guys, we were training for a marathon. She was trained to run one, I was trained to watch one. I did my part, she did her part, okay?

So, but anyway, this is classic, this is just classic me, okay? We had done, you know, she's done the marathon, sitting in the new river, you know, trying to get her legs, you know, to maybe have a little bit of the swelling down, the freezing cold water, we're there, awards ceremony, all that. We finally get in the car to leave and I can't find the car keys. Okay, now we're sitting in the middle of the most, I mean, Todd, North Carolina.

I mean, there's nothing forever, either in any direction. People are leaving and now we're looking for the keys. I mean, she's up walking around after running 26 miles. I got her out there looking around on the ground for these keys for an hour and a half, okay? Everybody's leaving, I can't, and if I'm lying, this sounds like a preacher story, if I'm lying, I'm dying, okay? I'm sitting there the whole time and I'm going, man, I really, I'm in a bad spot here, guys, okay? I mean, she's gonna run a marathon, I got her out here walking around. We've been sitting out here for an hour and a half, everybody's leaving, I don't know.

There's very few times in my life, I don't know if you're like this, where I'm like, Anna, I have no idea what to do. Okay, I don't know, can an Uber come out here? Do we get a friend to drive all the way?

Do we get the car towed? Like, I don't know what to do. It's her Honda van that you can't just get, I don't know what to do with the key. I'm like, man, so I'm sitting there and I'm like, man, I really need to send out a text to some people to pray for me to find these keys, okay? But I'm not gonna do it because I can't, I can't, right? I can't, I mean, they know that.

The executive team at Mercy Hill, they mean this lovingly. They're like, dude, you're like the smartest, stupid person we've ever met, okay? So it's like, I'm just, I have the, you know. And so I'm like, man, I'm not gonna do it.

I'm not gonna do it. Well, an hour and a half in, I'm desperate enough. I'm telling you guys, I send out the text message, okay, to the executive team here at Mercy Hill. The second I hit the text message, a thought pops into my mind. And the thought was this. Your hands were totally full when you walked back to the van, you had all of her stuff. And I was like, my hands were totally full. I called Anna and I said, Anna, look on top of the car. That's where the keys were, okay? My hands were full. I would put the car keys up there and do that. And I thought about that story because I thought, man, I honestly believe that God used those keys to humble me.

I need it for some reason. I needed to send that text and to be the one that was like, hey man, I need prayer because I'm an idiot. And then I found them, okay? And it's a little bit like this story because what happens is the second he kind of has the realization of humility, right, that's what we wanna break through and see here today. What we're looking for today is those areas in our life where we know I am manifesting this is mine, but it's not mine. And if we can just have that moment of humility, man, what is God gonna do?

There may be floodgates that open up upon us in terms of our relationship with him, man, in terms of the feelings that we have towards him, man, in terms of the open hands that come from that with our time, talent, and treasure and living the adventure of the Christian life because of that humility that begins to come in to our heart. So guys, application today, in seasons of success, we need to be humble and grateful, not prideful. I don't have to ask you today, are we being prideful? There's probably areas of all of our life where we're like, man, if I'm just honest with myself, I'm beginning to think this is mine, that is mine.

I'm manifesting pride as if I built it, I own it. And there's probably areas in every one of our life and that is so dangerous, okay? Especially for those of you, and I know many of you, and I don't want you to hear that, no, listen, the furthest thing from my mind is the whole preacher thing of demonizing success. No, what we need to do is pray for that blessing, pray for success, but pray that God will give us the character to be able to handle it. Grow into the type of people that can handle it so that we can steward it for his kingdom.

If you are in a moment, I'm gonna tell you, Jesus didn't say it's harder for a poor, brokenhearted person to get into the kingdom than it is for a camel to go through the eye of the needle, did he? It's for the rich man, why? Because success and affluence, man, it can blind us to the dangers. It can make us complacent.

Man, we're relying on our own talent with thinking it's ours. I mean, ask Mike Tyson, 1992, Buster Douglas, Tokyo, right? The greatest upset in boxing history.

Buster Douglas knocks Iron Mike Tyson out, he'd never even been knocked down. Comes out later, then Mike ain't trained for the fight, he's laid out all night drinking the night before, hadn't done a thing, why? Because nobody can beat him, why? Because he's built this.

It's his, and he was blinded for what that pride could do in his life, sneaking up on him and gave him a knockout punch. I don't want that to be us here today. We need to grow into the people that can hang on to the good blessing that God is giving us.

You know why I'm not a fan sometimes, okay? And I'm not gonna say this for every single person. In general, you know I'm not a fan of young people, either physically, like they're just young in their amount of years, or people that are really spiritually young. Man, I'm not a huge fan of a brand new believer jumping into a dating relationship, love, sex, marriage, you know why? Because those things are powerful. Here's the deal.

If you grab on, you think you're holding it, it's holding you. Are you, what I mean by this is, man, God has good blessings out there for us, but we've gotta be mature enough to handle them, or else it'll turn into isolation, it'll turn into sexual sin, it'll turn into all types of shame. Does that make sense? Success, affluence, those types of things, it's the same way. If we're not growing into the people that can handle it. Okay, so how do we do that?

Let's close like this. How do we do that? The way that we do that is by remembering one thing, and I'm gonna show you the gospel and we're gonna be done, all right? We gotta remember, unlike Nebuchadnezzar, what we have is always more than we deserve. What we have is more than we deserve. What do we have that we were not given? Now, God has to do the spark work of that in our lives.

Okay? God's gotta make that true in our heart. Well, what we can do is stare right in the face of the gospel, and we can understand that if God gave us life and he gave us salvation, what else is there?

What else is there that he wouldn't have given us? All of the blessings in our life start there. I told you earlier, this story, you gotta follow me on this and we'll be done. Y'all, this story, you gotta just kinda, I hope you follow, Babel, Babylon. Well, in between those two things, you have this beautiful story of a guy named Jacob later in the book of Genesis.

And Jacob's story is like this. He saw something too, just like Babel, that connected earth to heaven. Just like the tree that connected earth to heaven. He saw something that connected heaven to earth. He saw a ladder in a dream, a place called Bethel. And he begins to look at this ladder, and what does he see on the ladder? He sees the angels of God that are going back and forth, back and forth, and he wakes up and he calls the place the gate of heaven, for he has seen God, not that he has built a ladder to God, but God has brought something to him. And then, listen, Jesus picks up on this in John chapter one and this is what he says.

Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. Now, what does that mean? Here it is, listen, I'm out of time, but here's what this means, okay?

You wanna boil this whole thing down? I think Jesus is saying this. You got two choices when it comes to how you're gonna live. Either you build it to prove that you can be like God. Prove yourself to God.

That's Babel, that's Babylon. Or you understand something of Jacob's ladder and you understand what Jesus was saying. You don't build to get to God. You receive that God has come to you. And that's what God has done in sending us his Son. Jesus Christ is the ladder. He is the gate. He is the way that we come to God, the way that God comes to us. He is the place where heaven and earth collide.

This is so important for us because it gives us life. You think about Jesus Christ, you think about what he has done for us. You know, in the story today, we saw a king that said, man, I built this, it was my world. Well, you know what? Jesus actually did build it, it was his world.

It actually was. Well, what did Jesus do? He humbled himself.

Man, he came for us. He became that ladder that heaven and earth could collide. And in his humility, Jesus wasn't treated like a beast. He was sacrificed like a lamb.

So that what is true of him could be true of you. And our sin, we deserve nothing but death, hell, separation. But in the gospel, understanding that we have this ladder, not that we build our life like Nebuchadnezzar, the kingdom all the way to heaven, not the Tower of Babel, but that God has come to us and we see what Jesus Christ has done, then we understand this. Not only did he create our life, but he gave us salvation and recreated our life. And if that is true, then what else?

I mean, if that is true, then what else do we have that we have not been given? Let's pray. Father, we come before you right now. And God, we just ask, Lord, that in these next couple of minutes, God, that you would move, Lord, that you would move people to a posture of humility today. Break through to them in Christ's name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-03 18:27:46 / 2023-06-03 18:46:51 / 19

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