You know, there's a difference between having passive faith and having active faith. You can believe that God can do something, but do you believe that God will do something? Real faith isn't a blind leap based on an unfounded hope. It's taking steps based on truths we know about God.
Today on Connect with Skip Heiting. Skip shares how you can step up and live out the faith in your heart with your actions. But first, we want to share what God is doing through Calvary College. If you're ready to study God's Word beyond going to church and personal Bible study, you're ready for Calvary College. Take your learning and your life's purpose to the next level with an education in biblical studies.
Registration for the 2023 spring term starts October 3rd. Classes happen on site at Calvary Church Albuquerque and online. Classes like Spiritual Foundations, Personal Evangelism, Theology II, and Church History II. Plus, book specific courses like this.
Like Daniel, Romans, Acts, 1 Corinthians, and Revelation. Calvary College partners with Veritas International University and Calvary Chapel University so you can earn an accredited undergraduate or graduate degree. Or simply increase your knowledge of God and His Word. Your application for the 2023 spring term is available now. And classes start January 9th. Apply today at CalvaryChurchCollege.com. That's CalvaryChurchCollege.com. Now, we're in Daniel chapter 2 as we join Skip for today's study.
But what I remember is the vastness of the swimming pool was more in focus to me than the love and strength of my father and my older brother. But you know, there's a difference between having passive faith and having active faith. You can believe that God can do something, but do you believe that God will do something? Daniel, the prophet, is on the diving board of a crisis. And there he is standing there encouraged by God to step out because of the circumstances.
He's facing his own death and he has to make a choice. And he decides, this prophet decides, to step up and step out and fall into the everlasting arms of God for such a time as this. He puts his faith on the line by placing his faith in the Lord at a very, very strategic time.
Now, when we talk about jumping or taking a step, we're not referring to what one philosopher named Soren Kierkegaard talked about, the blind leap into the dark. No, no, this is a very calculated commitment that Daniel and his friends make based upon truths they know about God. And based upon those truths, they make that step. This is real faith. Real faith is betting your life on Jesus Christ, you might say, betting your eternal life as well as betting your temporal life. And so today's challenge is to step up, to make a step of integrating your spiritual faith inside, your spiritual world inside with your actual world going on on the outside.
And to insert yourself into situations that will hopefully bring change because of your faith in the Lord. Faith. Some people hear that we're going to go, yeah, yeah, yeah, faith. I'm not really a person of much faith. You know, I'm not into this whole idea there's a God up there and I'm just going to trust in him and live by faith in this unseen God. What's funny about that is we're so apt to trust people and so unapt to trust the Lord. We all live by faith in other people. My encouragement is to live by faith in the Lord, the greatest of all persons.
You know, it's interesting. You go to a doctor whose name you can't pronounce. He has degrees that you don't verify. He gives you a prescription you can't read. You take it to a pharmacist you've never met.
He gives you a chemical compound you don't understand and yet you don't hesitate to go home and actually take the pill. All the while, God is saying, step up, step out, jump and let me catch you. And we're going, oh no, I can't trust the Lord.
I think I'm going to drown. Now the story before us unfolds into three scenes. The first scene, scene number one, is in Nebuchadnezzar's bedroom. This king can't sleep.
He has insomnia. The second scene moves into Nebuchadnezzar's courtroom. He's with his advisors trying to figure out what this dream means and what to do about it. And then scene number three is in Daniel's prayer room as he gets his buddies together at home and they pray for what they ought to do in light of this crisis. So we're going to look at the king's insomnia. We're going to look at the Chaldeans incompetence and we're going to look at Daniel and his three friends, the captives, intercession. Or as the outline that I've made says, the king can't sleep well, the Chaldeans can't see well, and the captives can't sit well. We're going to look at just part of chapter two in the book of Daniel. The first is Daniel chapter two verse one and notice as we're in now the king's bedroom how the story unfolds. Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him. Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. And so they came and stood before the king. And the king said to them, I've had a dream and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.
You know, power has its price tag. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Nebuchadnezzar has made it to the top, but he's now a state of anxiety. The cares of the day become the fears of the night. You know, once you're on top of the hill, once you're king of the hill like this guy is, there comes a time where you start wondering how long are you going to be there before somebody else tries to make a power grab, come in and take over and get you off the hill and make themselves the king. So he's worried.
It's nighttime. There was a minister who asked a young boy, young man, do you say your prayers at night? He says, Yes, sir, I do. The minister said, Do you say your prayers in the morning?
He said, No, sir, I don't. I ain't scared during the daytime. But Nebuchadnezzar, worried during the day, but petrified here at night, he takes his problems to bed. He's in that dream state where the wild things are.
You know what it's like when you're trying to fall asleep and all those things you have put away and put at bay come to haunt you during the night. What should have been a place of rest for the king becomes a place of torment. Now, who was this Nebuchadnezzar?
We've talked about him last week, mentioned a little bit about him, but. Here's a few more details. Nebuchadnezzar was the oldest son of Nabal Palacer.
You're thinking that doesn't help me out very much. Well, Nabal Palacer was the guy who founded the Babylonian empire and he passed it on to his son, Nebuchadnezzar, who was out fighting battles. And he fought a very strategic one that brought captives, including Daniel, to Babylon. For two years, he was the co-regent with his dad, Nebuchadnezzar and Nabal Palacer.
But then dad died. Nebuchadnezzar is now in charge. His dad, Nabal Palacer, gave him the name Nebuchadnezzar, which means, interestingly, Oh, Nabu, protect my son. Nabu was one of the chief gods of Babylon. He was called the god of wisdom. Oh, Nabu, god of wisdom, protect my son.
What's interesting about that name in light of this chapter is Nebuchadnezzar is going to find out that his god doesn't have much wisdom and he is unable to protect him as he brings in all of these astrologers to help him unlock the meaning of this dream. Now, Nebuchadnezzar was known in history for his cruelty. He killed a lot of people.
In fact, he did it very slowly. He was the guy who would roast people over fires and watch them burn as they were flayed to death. This is the guy who, in 2 Kings chapter 25, in taking Judah captive, takes King Zedekiah, kills Zedekiah's sons before his eyes, puts him in chains and takes him to Babylon so that the last memory he has as a slave is seeing his sons die. Oh, and then Nebuchadnezzar gouged out King Zedekiah's eyes so he would be blind after seeing the death of his sons.
He would be blind the rest of his life. This is the king who built that fiery furnace we're going to get to in chapter 3 and threatened to throw people in if they didn't bow to the image that he produced. Now, some people look at this and go, oh, well, you know, this is what kings do. Kings are so temperamental. Yeah, temperamental. In Nebuchadnezzar's case, it's 90% temper, 10% mental.
He's just a reactionary and he's a violent guy. So the text says he had dreams and his spirit was troubled. The word troubled means to press or to beat upon. This guy was disturbed. I believe that God has ways of getting people's attention.
If he can't get your attention during the day, he might just sneak in at night. And here he speaks to him through a dream. The dream we won't get to until next time, but did you know that everybody dreams? Every night you have dreams. Now, I've had people say, well, no, I don't dream. No, you don't remember your dreams, but according to dream research, the average adult dreams five times a night. That once you fall asleep 90 minutes in, you start your first dream and they recur about 90 minutes apart with increasing longevity, increasing length.
Now, the recall is another story, but you are dreaming as you're dealing with things during the day. So what is going on in your brain is the large brain cells in the brain stem are spontaneously firing, sending their stimuli to the brain's cortex and your brain is trying to figure out what it all is and sees those images. In this case, God is directing that cortical stimulation and speaking to him through it. Now, if you read the Bible, you know that this is not uncommon that the Lord, in certain cases, used dreams to speak a message or to direct people's lives. As in the case of Jacob, when he runs away from home and he sees in a dream a ladder that goes up to heaven, the angels of God descending and ascending on it. Or Pharaoh, who sees a dream in ancient Egypt and Joseph, who sees dreams and is able to interpret dreams. Or Solomon, who saw a dream of God and God said to him, ask whatever it is, I'll give it to you. That'd be a nice dream to have, wouldn't it?
Especially if it actually turned out to be true. And then one of the most famous dreams is that of Joseph and Mary. As they, in a dream at night, an angel appeared to them and spoke to them and said to Joseph, don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for this holy one that is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. So God speaks through dreams and here he's getting the king's attention. The king can't sleep well.
Now this is a setup. Now the camera turns from scene one, the king's bedroom, into the king's courtroom. This is now the advisors being called in, verse four. Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic. Oh king, live forever. Tell your servants the dream and we will give you the interpretation. The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, my decision is firm. If you do not make known the dream to me and its interpretation, you will be cut in pieces and your houses will be made in ash heap.
Do you think he meant it? Yeah, I do. Yeah, great, you know, great boss to have. If you fail at the job, you'll be dismembered and will burn your house down. However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore, tell me the dream and its interpretation. They answered again and said, let the king tell his servants the dream and we will give its interpretation. The king answered and said, I know for certain that you would gain time because you see that my decision is firm. If you do not make known the dream to me, there's only one decree for you, for you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me until the time has changed.
Therefore, tell me the dream and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation. The Chaldeans answered the king and said, there's not a man on earth who can tell the king's matter. Therefore, no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean. It's a difficult thing that the king requests and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods whose dwelling is not with flesh.
Interesting insight into their theology. For this reason, the king was angry and very furious and gave a command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree went out and they began killing the wise men and they sought Daniel and his companions to kill them. So the king can't sleep well and now the Chaldeans can't see well.
You need to understand that ancient prophets or prognosticators, people who could tell the future were called seers because they could see into the future and then seeing into the future, they would tell you what those details are. But obviously, in this case, the Chaldeans can't see very well. Now there's a list of people that are mentioned. First of all, Chaldeans. Chaldeans was an ethnic designation for people who lived in Babylon or who were of Babylonian origin.
Nebuchadnezzar was Chaldean. But here, as it's in the mix of the other people with their job descriptions, the Chaldeans here seem to refer to those who were in charge of this royal court. Also on the list, magicians are mentioned. Magicians are sacred scholars. Astrologers are mentioned next. Astrologers were a class of priests called magoi or, as in the New Testament, the magi. And then we have the sorcerers that are also mentioned on this list. Now sorcerers were people who used herbs and charms and potions to foretell the future. So you have the cream of the occultic crop standing before Nebuchadnezzar and they got nothing. This sounds like a New Age bookstore as you look at the people who are right in front of them, but they can't tell them the future. They even have to admit failure.
There's not a man on earth who can do what the king commands. Many years ago, before I gave my life to Christ, I used to dabble in the occult, more in spirit writing and astral projection, the paranormal. And I did so because of the sense of empowerment that I got from those activities. It really was a powerful thing. Certain things happened, whether it was auto-hypnotic or whatever.
I felt empowered and that was one of the big draws for me getting into it. But though it's always been fascinating, these kinds of things, to people, a recent Harris Poll tells us that though the majority of Americans say that they believe in the basic concepts of the Bible, there's a growing interest in other spiritual ideologies. For example, 51% say they believe in ghosts. 31% believe in astrology. 27% believe in reincarnation, in fact believe that they are reincarnated from some other previous life form. In the United States, that means that 125 million people believe in astrology. And that 70% of those read their horoscopes every single day for direction. In fact, 7% have said that they have altered their decisions, made different choices that they were going to do based upon an astrological reading they read.
You go, well 7%, what's that? 12 million people? 12 million people so buying into it that they'll change their decisions based upon what the stars are supposedly saying.
What's most alarming is what a recent Gallup poll has said, that at least 10% of evangelical Christians also believe in astrology to some degree. I can tell you this, just by looking at those stats, there's a spiritual hunger in our country. We've been looking for the American dream and for a lot of people the American dream has failed.
And people are saying, now what? All that we wanted and looked to has failed, now what? There's a deep spiritual hunger within every person. And as in this court, there's failure, the Chaldeans have failed. Okay, this little incident of the failure of the Chaldeans who can't see into the future very well, serves a few different purposes.
It does a number of things. First of all, it rattles the faith of the king. The king has believed in his pantheon of deities and his world view of the Chaldeans and the magicians and the astrologers up to this point.
I think his faith in all of that is being rattled because they can't do anything for him. And it gets them thinking about the future because as we'll see next time we're together, next week, the dream is about future world kingdoms and Nebuchadnezzar now starts thinking about the future of his kingdom and the future of the world after his kingdom, which is a good thing. Because a lot of people don't think much about the future, they only think about the present. In fact, for most people, it's all about immediate gratification.
What's in it for me right now? There's an old scorn that is often directed to Christians saying, oh, you're so heavenly minded, you're no earthly good. Well, it's also possible to be so earthly minded, you're really not much good either for heavenly or earthly purposes. You need to be thinking about what happens after you die.
You need to be thinking about the future because the future comes whether you like it or not. Jesus in the New Testament told of a very wealthy man who had a lot of goods and he stored them up and he didn't know what to do with it all. And one night he died and the Lord said to him, you fool, this night your soul shall be required of you.
Yeah, it's foolish to only think about the now and not think about the future. Nebuchadnezzar is now, his attention has been gotten by the Lord. His faith is being rattled and that's a good thing. Many years ago in Texas, there was a preacher by the name of George Truitt. Now, George Truitt is known in Baptist circles. He was the pastor of First Baptist in Dallas up until the 1940s and he knew many wealthy oilmen when the oil business was just really kicking off down in Texas. He was invited over for dinner one night into this wealthy oil baron's home and he went up on the upper level of the house which was a big balcony overlooking fields that he owned. And the oil tycoon, taking him outside, said to Pastor Truitt, I came to this country without a penny. Now, everything you see in that direction, that direction, that direction, and that direction, I own. I own everything you see in all of these directions.
George Truitt put his hand on the man's shoulder and says, how much do you own in that direction? You've only thought of the temporary. You've been very successful but you haven't planned very well.
Have you thought about your future? So this whole incidence of failure for the Chaldeans rattles the faith of the king. Second thing it serves to do is it reveals the fraud of the Chaldeans. They can't really produce here. Dreams and almonds were supposed to be their forte.
They can't deliver the goods. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series, I Dare You. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Right now, we want to share about a great resource that helps you draw even closer to the Lord as you fall in love with studying scripture. Ready to upgrade your Bible study in 2023? We have a plan and a package for you. Skip Heitzig's book, The Bible from 30,000 Feet, is an ideal companion for a survey of the entire scope of scripture.
Here's a great goal for the coming year. Conduct a personal study of all 66 books as Skip Heitzig guides you from a biblical altitude of 30,000 feet. We want to give you firm direction to unlock the riches of God's word by sending you two resources from Pastor Skip. How to study the Bible and enjoy it, and The Bible from 30,000 Feet.
You'll gain helpful Bible study tools as you practice how to observe, absorb, and interpret the Bible, then apply it to your life. These two resources are our thanks for your gift today of $50 or more. Skip has asked the team at Connection Communications to make it a priority in 2023 to take their daily messages as you have heard them today and expand them into more metropolitan areas.
Will you help us make that happen? And with your gift, you will receive copies of How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It and The Bible from 30,000 Feet. Both books by Skip Heitzig to kickstart your 2023 Bible study plans. Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. The world is constantly trying to pull you away from God's will.
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Thank you. Join us again tomorrow as Skip Heitzig explains how prayer helps you step up when it matters most. Your prayer life is directly proportional to three things. Number one, your perception of prayer. Number two, your perception of God.
And number three, your perception of the problem. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection. Connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-04 21:41:04 / 2023-01-04 21:50:34 / 10