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I Dare You: Be Humble! - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
January 16, 2023 5:00 am

I Dare You: Be Humble! - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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January 16, 2023 5:00 am

In Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar learns the greatest lesson of his long career—that God humbles those who walk in pride. But we can learn this same lesson in a much easier way. Join Skip as he begins the message "I Dare You: Be Humble!"


The revelation of the gospel that Jesus loves you and died for your sins and you can have heaven if you receive him. At that point, like Nebuchadnezzar, they have a choice to make.

They will humble themselves and receive it or they will puff themselves up in pride and say, I don't need it. Pride is a terribly destructive attitude that scripture warns us about repeatedly. And today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip explains why humility is so important in your Christian walk. But before we begin, we want to let you know about a pair of resources that help you love the time you spend in God's Word and see God's sweeping plan for humanity across the pages of scripture. So it's another new year and you've resolved to study through the entire Bible again. Very often, somewhere around 2 Chronicles, that wonderful goal can grind to a halt.

Well, this year can be different. We have a package of resources with an excellent strategy for successfully studying through all 66 books this year. It includes Skip Heitzig's book, The Bible from 30,000 Feet, which lifts you to a new biblical altitude to help you get a new view of the full counsel of God's Word.

Make 2023 the year you truly make it through a solid survey of the entire scope of scripture. This package also includes Skip's super accessible book, How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It, along with The Bible from 30,000 Feet. Both are our thanks when you give $50 or more today to help reach more people through Connect with Skip Heitzig. Skip has asked the team at Connection Communications to make it a priority in 2023 to take daily messages as you've heard today and expand them into more metropolitan areas. It is obvious that the population centers of our nation are in deep need of hearing the truth, and that is exactly our plan for the future with Skip's teachings. Will you help us make that happen? Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at slash offer.

That's slash offer. Okay, let's get started. We're in Daniel chapter four today as we join Skip for his teaching. One of the most destructive forces in all of the universe is pride. Solomon wrote in the book of Proverbs chapter 16, pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Pride is the only disease known to man that makes everybody sick except the one who has it.

Here's a case in point. Over 40 years ago, 1971, there was a historic fight called the fight of the century between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Before the fight, Muhammad Ali said these words, there seems to be some confusion.

We're going to clear up this confusion on March 8th. We're going to decide once and for all who is king. There's not a man alive who can whoop me. I'm too smart. I'm too pretty. I am the greatest. I am the king.

I should be a postage stamp. That's the only way I could ever get licked. Boy, did he get licked. Famous last words. Pride is the oldest sin in the universe and it shows no signs of weakening with age. It's what dislodged Lucifer from heaven. It's what drove out our first parents from the Garden of Eden. It is what is about to dislodge Nebuchadnezzar from out of his kingdom in Babylon.

C.S. Lewis called it the chief cause of misery for every nation and every family since the beginning of time. Nebuchadnezzar wanted to get that message out to as many people as he could that he was once prideful, lifted up, and that he had come to his senses and he wanted to let as many people know about that as possible. So after the event occurs, a total of an eight-year episode in chapter 4, afterwards he sits down in his right mind to write to all of the people that were in his kingdom.

And notice his conclusion. Verse 37, those who walk in pride he is able to put down or to humble. Well, if pride is your greatest enemy, then humility is your greatest friend.

And as Peter writes in 1 Peter chapter 5, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt you in due time. I read an article about a study done on how people viewed themselves versus how others who observed them view those same people. It was a study that was done on the University of California Riverside, and a group of students rated themselves as cheerful, warm, and intelligent, but observers saw them as hostile, deceitful, and condescending.

The name of the article, want to know what the name of the article was? Study says jerks have too much self-esteem. We're about to read of such a one in Daniel 4 once again. Nebuchadnezzar had no problem at all with self-esteem. We know that because in chapter 2, after seeing a dream, he was very impressed, but he went back to his old behavior. In chapter 3, he built a statue in his honor, commanded everybody bow to it.

Three did not. They are miraculously delivered. Once again, he's emotionally awed by that, but goes back to his old behavior until now. This seems to be what gets his attention for good. As he sits down and he writes this, we pick it up in chapter 4 verse 19.

That's where we begin this morning. Daniel 4 verse 19, this is the revelation to a powerful king. Notice, then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, that's his Babylonian name, was astonished for a time. Remember, the king has told the dream to all of his wise men, all the cheesy wise men who could never give an answer. Finally, he calls in Daniel. Daniel's listening.

He knows what it means. He was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the king spoke and said, Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.

Belteshazzar answered and said, my lord, may the dream concern those who hate you and its interpretation concern your enemies. The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens, which could be seen by all the earth. Hey, you think the tree in your backyard is big?

This is big. Whose leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and in whose branches the birds of the air had their home, it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong, for your greatness has grown in reaches to the heavens and your dominion to the end of the earth. And in as much as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field.

Let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him. This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord, the king. They shall drive you from men. Your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, and seven times pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomever he chooses.

And in as much as they gave the command to leave the stump and the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you after you come to know that heaven rules." Evidently, as soon as the king tells the dream to Daniel, the king could read in Daniel's face, this is not good. It says he was astonished.

The word is appalled. He was emotionally agitated by what he heard because Daniel knew what the dream meant instantaneously. And he was astonished because there's nothing worse than having the most powerful man in the world lose his mind. The implications of that trouble Daniel.

Now, this reveals something to me. Daniel does indeed reveal the truth to the king. He doesn't hold back.

He tells him exactly the interpretation, but the fact that he was astonished and said, oh, I wish that this did not apply to you, shows that Daniel, though he proclaims judgment on the king through God's revelation, that he loved this king and he didn't want these things to come upon him, that there was a relationship that had developed of love and sweetness between the two, that though Daniel tells him the truth, his heart is troubled because of it. All true servants of God are like this. No authentic servant of the Lord relishes God's judgment on unbelievers.

Wait till you get yours. That's not the attitude. We should never proclaim doom with a smile. When Jesus saw what was happening to Jerusalem, he wept over it as he saw the coming judgment. He says, oh, king, you are the tree.

A big gulp happened in Nebuchadnezzar's throat, a big lump, because he was smart enough to know what was going to happen to him. The tree gets chopped down. A stump is left that is protected for a period of time. Now, we told you last week that often in the Old Testament, the metaphor of a tree often represents a powerful ruler or a nation, usually one that is prideful.

If you want to write down references to look at that, Isaiah chapter 2, Ezekiel chapter 17, Ezekiel chapter 31, Hosea chapter 14, and Zechariah chapter 11 all use the imagery of a tree that is dealt with as it refers to a nation or an individual. Now, here, the tree that is chopped down is the tree that is chopped down speaks of the disgrace and removal of King Nebuchadnezzar, who will be left as a stump. In other words, God isn't done with him yet.

He eventually will reign again. King Nebuchadnezzar is listening to all this. He's listening.

He's getting information. He's getting revelation. But what is happening to Nebuchadnezzar happens to every single person who hears the gospel, whether they hear it through a personal testimony of somebody or they are watching a television program, an evangelistic crusade, or they hear a radio broadcast, or they read something. When they get the revelation of the gospel that Jesus loves you and died for your sins and you can have heaven if you receive him, at that point, like Nebuchadnezzar, they have a choice to make.

They will humble themselves and receive it, or they will puff themselves up in pride and say, I don't need it. What I like about Daniel is that once he gives him the information, in verse 26, he doesn't stop and say, and now may the Spirit of God apply this truth to your heart, O King. No, he takes another step from revelation to confrontation.

He presses it home a little bit further. Reinhold Niebuhr once wrote, man does not know himself truly except as he knows himself confronted by God. Now watch how God confronts him through the prophet Daniel. Verse 27 is the confrontation. Therefore, O King, now that is not interpretation, that's confrontation. There's a therefore.

He's going to apply it. Therefore, O King, let my advice be acceptable to you. Break off your sins by being righteous and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps, perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity. In other words, dude, if I were you, I would repent right here, right now.

I'd get right with God. How many of you think Nebuchadnezzar did that at that point? He didn't do it. That's not his M.O. He's listening. He's impressed. But he's not going to change right away.

He should. Daniel was right. God would have prolonged his prosperity. Isaiah chapter 55, verse 7, same promise, basically. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Here's what I want you to see. Daniel did not just give the king revelation, information. He gave him compassionate confrontation. That is the kind of counsel that must be given to anyone who is in sin. Compassionate confrontation, where you lovingly, gently, but firmly get in their grill and tell them what's up. It's the Galatians chapter 6, verse 1 kind of compassionate confrontation.

You know that verse? If a man be overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted. Compassionate confrontation. This is not blind compassion, where you close your eyes and you're reluctant to say anything about anything going on in that person's life. We are not going to be a spiritual ostrich with our head in the sand, pretending that there's not bad things happening.

Nor is this brash opposition. There's some people who pride themselves in being sin sniffers. It's what I'm called to be.

I am God's sin sniffer to the body of Christ. I'm the fault finder, and they're just ready to go at it and cut people down at any turn. No, you must have the right context for this kind of confrontation, and the context is relationship. You just don't walk up to someone and spew loveless, stinging words. You have no right. But if you have a relationship established, you have both a right and a responsibility to lovingly confront. I believe this is lacking more and more in family life, in the home, where children are just left to do whatever they want because I don't want them not to like me if I were to discipline them or to confront them. If you don't get that child's attention, you're rearing a monster. Listen to this.

This is from the Houston Police Department. They printed a leaflet a few years ago entitled, How to Ruin Your Children, and they gave a list of several things. I'll just bring out three. Number one, begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. Number three on the list, never give him any spiritual training.

Let him wait till he's 21 and let him decide for himself. Number five, pick up everything he leaves lying around so he will be experienced in throwing responsibility on everybody else. When I read through that, I thought, that's Nebuchadnezzar.

He's like a spoiled brat. He's so powerful but so petulant, and so Daniel moves from revelation to confrontation in verse 27. I will say, before we move on, that this is part of the job of any pastor, part of the job, not all the job. Part is to nourish, to feed, but if need be, to confront, and the Word of God, just through sermons, will do that. When Paul writes to the Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians, chapter 1, he writes, 1 Thessalonians, chapter 5, he writes to the church, he reserves a little section for leaders of the church, and he tells them, confront, or excuse me, confront, comfort the faint-hearted, uphold the weak, but he adds this, warn the unruly.

That's the confronting part. He tells them, you have a dual role, to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. Martin Luther put it this way, a preacher must be both a soldier and a shepherd. He must nourish, defend, and teach, but he must have teeth in his mouth and be able to bite.

Daniel could bite. He did it softly, gently, but he did it. Therefore, O King, I urge you, turn from your sin, do it now. This is also the duty of every Christian, not just every pastor, not just prophets in the Old Testament.

Every Christian, I believe, has this obligation. Jesus confronted scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, even his own disciples. Paul the Apostle confronted false prophets.

He confronted legalists. He even confronted Peter the Apostle and Barnabas and even the churches he wrote to. But, though it is the obligation of every Christian, make sure you meet the qualifications. Qualifications are mentioned in that verse I just pulled out of Galatians chapter 6, verse 1. If a man be overtaken by any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted. There's four qualifications in that verse.

Number one, you need the right basis. You who are spiritual needs to be a saved, spirit-filled, spirit-directed individual and approach. Number two, it needs the right motive. You who are spiritual restore such a one. Doesn't say punish such a one or condemn such a one or make that person really feel bad.

Restore. Number three, you need the right attitude. Restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness. You are not the gospel Gestapo. There is no such role in the body of Christ in the spirit of gentleness. And then it says this, the right precaution, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted. You approach with the humility of a forgiven sinner. You're approaching someone who's overtaken and at sin in a fault, but you approach with the humility of a forgiven sinner.

Considering yourself, lest you also be tempted. I think a good example of this approach is the Lord Jesus Christ when his disciples came to supper one night. It was the last supper and they had dirty feet. And what did Jesus do with their dirty feet? He washed them. He didn't chop them off. Dirty feet, whack. He didn't take out a pocket knife and scrape the dirt off their feet.

He gently and thoroughly washed their feet. The right combination of compassion and confrontation can be powerful. Great story over a century old of a Swiss evangelist, rather famous one at that time by the name of Cesar Millan. And he approached a woman on a train, a young woman, very forthrightly, but gently. And he just said, I hope that you're a saved woman.

I hope that you're going to heaven. She took umbrage to the conversation. She bristled at it.

She didn't want to discuss it. And then he said, again, very gently, but forthrightly, I mean you no offense. I just want to make sure you're going to heaven. Three weeks later, that young lady found that evangelist and said, I could not get that conversation out of my mind. And ever since I've been trying to get to Christ, what must I do?

And he said to her, you have nothing of merit. You must come as you are. Out of that experience, that young lady by the name of Charlotte Elliot wrote a song, Just As I Am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me, and that thou bitched me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come.

It became the hallmark, and still is, of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association used in their Ultra Call song. Revelation and compassionate confrontation. Question, will that change a person? If you approach with revelation, truth, and compassionate confrontation, will that change a person? Maybe. Sometimes it will.

Sometimes it will not. But you've done your job. You've delivered the goods, and you leave the rest up to the Holy Spirit and let the hound of heaven get tougher if he needs to.

It's his job. Speaking of that, let's see how tough he can get. We now go from the revelation to a powerful king and the confrontation to a vulnerable king to the humiliation of a prideful king. Verse 28.

All this, that is all that Daniel said, came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of 12 months, he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. Twelve months. A whole year passes. You can forget a lot of what happened in a year.

The impression that whatever happened made on you 12 months ago can fade very quickly, and you can become desensitized after 12 months. So here's my question. Why the delay? Why didn't God fulfill this dream immediately on Nebuchadnezzar? Why would God wait 12 months? I'll spell it for you.

M-E-R-C-Y. Mercy. God was being merciful.

God gave 12 months time, an entire year, for this guy to heed the warning that Daniel gave to him in verse 27. That's Skip Heitzig's message from his series, I Dare You. Now, here's Skip to share how you can help keep this broadcast going strong, connecting you and others around the world with God's word. As believers, we're called to encourage, teach, and share Christ with one another.

That's the sole purpose of this radio ministry. We want to connect you and as many people as we can to Jesus through these Bible-based messages, and your partnership helps make that possible. Please consider partnering with this ministry today through a generous gift to keep these teachings coming to you and others.

Here's how you can do that. Visit slash donate to give a gift. That's slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. Tune in tomorrow as Skip reveals that pride is a disease that will make God your enemy, and there's only one cure. Three times this verse is mentioned in scripture.

I guess it must be important. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. He opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble. Disease, pride, cure humility. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-16 11:05:58 / 2023-01-16 11:15:05 / 9

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