God has an encouraging Word for you and me today through the Bible-based preaching of Dr. Don Wilton and a message on Sleepless in Judah. Yesterday we understood how cruel Nebuchadnezzar was, how he was feared, but now we're going to discover about how he's also afraid of the future and how we don't need to be afraid of the future.
Let's open God's Word together with the encouraging Word here with Dr. Don Wilton. Oh, these kings wrote it down, but they didn't follow it. Remember Saul? Remember David?
Remember Solomon? And so God says, I can't put up with this anymore, so I'm just going to tear it away from you. I'm going to divide the kingdom.
I'm going to destroy the northern kingdom. And so we find ourselves in Daniel chapter 1 where the Bible says, In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem and besieged it. Now turn with me to chapter 2. I want to read to you some verses from chapter 2.
In the second year of his reign, may I just say this and then we'll get this out of the way, because I know that we've got some scholars here. There's an apparent contradiction in the first verse. See, if you go back to chapter 1, some of you may not have noticed this, but I noticed this and it bothered me.
I had to go back and find out what it was all about. But if you go back to chapter 1 and verse 5, chapter 1 and verse 5, the king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table. They were to be trained for how long? Three years. But in chapter 2 and verse 1, it says all of a sudden now they begin to operate in the second year of the reign of king Nebuchadnezzar.
Well, I went back and began to listen to what others have said and do some research and I found something very interesting. You know, in the American presidential elections, we vote in November, but when does the president actually become the president? In January. What is he called before he becomes the president?
The president-elect. Well, it was no different among the kings of the Far East. The Oriental king system was a system of kingly accession and kingly accession took one year. And so we are in the third year of his reign because for the first year he was the king-elect. He had to spend a year of accession. It's called the year of accession.
A whole year, not just a couple of months. I just wanted to tell you that in case it troubled you. But something happened here to king Nebuchadnezzar. In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams. His mind was troubled and he could not sleep. So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers. Interesting group.
I'm going to talk about them in a minute. To tell him what he had dreamed. Amazing how many people are still summoning magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell them what they dream about. When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.
Pretty good problem. Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic. Now I'm going to show you just now from chapter 2 and verse 4 all the way through to the end of chapter 7, the original text is written in Aramaic. Now there are three languages, folks, watch me.
Important. There's Hebrew. The whole of the Old Testament is written in Hebrew except in chapter 2 verse 4 through the end of chapter 7. The New Testament is written in Koine Greek.
Alright. The third language is Aramaic. You get Hebrew, you get Aramaic and you get Greek. Aramaic was the language of the Gentile Babylonian court.
That's why this was written in Aramaic. So in verse 4, the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic and said, O king, live forever. Tell your servants the dream and we will interpret it.
The king replied to the astrologers, this is what I have firmly decided. If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. But if you tell me the dream and explain it and will receive from me, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.
What an incredible challenge. Once more they replied, let the king tell his servants the dream and we will interpret it. The king answered, I'm certain that you are trying to gain time because you realize that this is what I firmly decided. If you do not tell me what I dreamed, boy, this is a tough one. It's like the professors at college who give you exams and basically the exam is tell me what I was thinking.
We've all been there, haven't we? If you do not tell me the dream, there is just one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then tell me the dream and I will know that you can interpret it for me. The astrologers answered the king, there is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks. No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer.
What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, small g, and they do not live among men. This made the king so angry and so furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. Now what did chapter 1 and verse 17 tell us? Chapter 1 and verse 17 tells us that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were now included in all the wise men of Babylon. So Daniel is in a major predicament.
He is going to be included in this. Verse 13, so the decree was issued to put the wise men to death and the men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends and put them to death. When Arioch, the commander of the king's god, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact.
Very significant. He asked the king's officer, why did the king issue such a harsh decree? Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. At this, Daniel went into the king and asked for time so that he might interpret the dream. Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the god of heaven concerning this mystery so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. During the night, the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the god of heaven and said, and I'm going to read that for you next week, I want to go on to verse 24. Then Daniel went to Arioch whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon and said to him, do not execute the wise men of Babylon, take me to the king and I will interpret the dream for him.
That's as far as I'm going to read for you tonight. I want to show you again verse 18. If you were to say to me, pastor, what is the key verse in chapter 2? I'm going to suggest to you it's verse 18.
Here it is. He urged them to plead for mercy from the god of heaven concerning this mystery. He urged them to plead for mercy from the god of heaven concerning this mystery.
Isn't that powerful? We're all facing predicaments, folks. All of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God. All of us have stepped outside of the boundaries of God's grace. Do you know something the Bible says? No one is beyond the mercy of God. That's what the forgiveness of God is all about. That's why the only difference between the best of us in here and the worst of them out there is the grace of God.
That is a theological statement based upon the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. He urged them to plead for mercy from the god of heaven concerning this mystery. You see, friends, Daniel was offered the three big things in life. He was offered influence, he was offered wealth, and he was offered health.
I mean, what more can you have? May I say a word to our young people here? I will guarantee you the three most attractive things you will, and there's nothing wrong with these things, that you will be offered are going to be those three things, influence, wealth, and health. When you go for job interviews or somebody wants to get you, or there is an attempt to try and get you to conform to some group over another, or to belong to some organization, I tell you what's going to happen. The carrot sticks that are going to be dangled out there somehow are going to encompass these three great promises.
They are as old as Satan himself. Influence, wealth, and health. Daniel was offered the world. But you know what the Bible says in chapter 1 and verse 8? But Daniel resolved not to defile himself. Daniel decided that if influence, wealth, and health were going to be his, they were going to come because God gave them to him, not because he compromised God's standards in order to get them.
What a challenge. No wonder God blessed Daniel. Well, Nebuchadnezzar arrived in Judah with a marvelous dream.
This was a world conqueror, don't you think? This man had major manifestations of grandeur. Historians tell us Nebuchadnezzar was indeed a man of great influence, a man of great wealth, a man who had acquired everything that opens and shuts. But here in chapter 2 the Bible says, Daniel, at least Nebuchadnezzar, had a dream and his nightmare began. Let me say a few things about Nebuchadnezzar to put him into perspective. Chapter 4 and verse 19 reminds us that Nebuchadnezzar was a very cruel king.
Chapter 5 and 19 and chapter 1 and verse 10 remind us that Nebuchadnezzar was feared by other people. Chapter 2 verses 1 through 3 tell us that he was deeply afraid of the future. Just a word about dreams and visions. According to the scriptures, dreams are those things that God gives as he speaks to individuals while they are asleep concerning the revelation of the past, the present and the future.
We find this repeatedly throughout scripture. It was given, dreams were given by God to individuals. Remember what happened to Joseph? He dreamt.
Remember what happened to Solomon? He dreamt. Remember all the dreams of Jacob? He dreamt. God would reveal matters pertaining to the past, the present and the future through dreams. What are visions?
Visions, according to scripture, are those things that happen that God gives to those who belong to him while they are awake. Forgive the interruption, but my goodness, those are powerful words. But God says he's going to get our attention. Sometimes there are very tragic and enormous, mind-jarring ways that God gets our attention.
But sometimes, before he has to do that, it's just a gentle nudge. Is today the day of the gentle nudge where you know you need to make a change, a course correction? Would you like to have someone praying you through that next step? We're here for you at 866-899-WORD. Anytime, day or night, it will route to one of us happy to talk, to listen, to pray, to connect with great resources that will help you grow in your faith. That's 866-899-9673, and it's all there as well on our website at www.tewonline.org. Just know we are standing by to encourage you.
866-899-WORD and www.tewonline.org. Now back to today's message with Dr. Wilton. Numbers chapter 12 and verse 6 put it into perspective partly. When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions and I speak to him in dreams. So we've got two things happening here in visions and dreams. We've got on the one hand the revelation of God and on the other hand we've got the spoken word of God.
And these two are juxtaposed together. And when we come into Daniel chapter 2, this is exactly what happened. I want to remind you and I think it's very important that God not only spoke to his own through dreams, but he spoke to pagan people. God did not only use those who belong to him to speak to them, but he used those who didn't.
The case in hand is King Abimelech. You will remember how Abram took Sarah, his wife, down into Egypt, became afraid that he would be arrested and killed and so he basically lied to King Abimelech and said that Sarah was his sister and so Abimelech took Sarah into his court and married her. How did Abimelech come to know that Sarah was the wife of Abraham through a dream? God spoke to Abimelech and Abimelech of Egypt was certainly no God-fearing man. Another case was Gideon's attempt to conquer the Midianites and you will remember the story in Joshua and Judges, how that the Midianites had dreams and that God spoke to them through their hearts and revealed to them, to these pagan Midianites, that Gideon was going to conquer them. But the most perplexing question of all is why did God speak or reveal his plan to Nebuchadnezzar, who was such a wicked king?
Now folks, I'm asking a question here. Is it possible that God could use ungodly people in America today to get his point across to those of us who love him? It's a very deep question there. Is it possible that God in his permissive will can allow certain things to happen even in our own beloved nation, can raise up leaders even in our own beloved nation who epitomize godlessness and that God could use them and speak through them or use them as a channel in order to get his message across to those who claim to love him?
Wow! Is it possible God is trying to tell us something in America today? Is it possible that God could use the ACLU to tell me something about himself?
Is it possible that God could use a liberal judge who doesn't hold to the values aspired to by Almighty God to make pronouncements that would get my attention as a believer? Why would God speak or give his plan? Folks, do you understand that in just a moment, in a couple of weeks or months maybe, you and I are going to find ourselves plunging headlong into major prophecy again. We're going to find ourselves dealing with the rapture of the church and with the tribulation and with what happens to believers and life after death and the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. We're going to find ourselves being taken by the scruff of the neck and plunged headlong into the master plan of a God who loves us. Now, why would God begin this whole thing by using someone as despicable as King Nebuchadnezzar?
I've got five suggestions. Number one, perhaps because God did not have much else to choose from. Maybe God looked at America and said, there's nobody who's got enough willingness to stand up and to say what God has to say, so I'm going to allow you to raise up someone who's not going to do that.
And I'll just speak through him or through her. Maybe here in the time of Judah when Jehoiakim reigned such a wicked king that compromise had confused the principles and precepts upon which God had established his people. Perhaps the church in this time had become to look so much like the rest of the world that God said I can no longer use my church.
So why don't you just carry off all the holy things from within the church, put them alongside the gods of the world, confuse and compromise them and maybe in this way I will get the attention of my people. May I suggest to you that God wants to make an announcement. One way or another, God is going to get our attention. You see, we spoke about love this morning, folks. Love is something that knows no limit. It bears all things, it believes all things, it hopes all things and it endures all things. I believe God who is sovereign and who is eternal is willing to wait as long as he needs to wait so that his people will turn back to him and by whatever means to get our attention, he is going to get it.
Young people are word. You mess around with God. It may take 30 years to get your attention but God is going to get your attention.
Truth always prevails. God always wins. And you and I might decide that we are going to take some detour and we are going to go for this angle and we are going to go that angle and we are going to bring about to rule over us the kings that we decide and we are going to set in place the principles and precepts we decide. God says, okay, I will let it happen but I am going to guarantee you one thing. I am going to get your attention because I am God and I am sovereign and there is none like under me.
What is man that thou art mindful of him? May I submit to you that perhaps God spoke and gave his plan to the wicked king Nebuchadnezzar because God did not have too many other people to choose from. I don't think they were lining up saying, Lord, send me. I tell you I have been so proud of people in our church who during these days have stood up and said, I want you to know something without apology, God is calling me and I am willing to stand before God's people and say, you can count on me God. God is looking around, he is looking up and down this congregation. He is not interested in deacons and preachers and positions and all these things. He is just looking for a group of men and women and young people who are willing to stand up and call a spade a spade. He is looking for people who are willing to assume the mantle of leadership and folks listen, if he doesn't find it in us, well he'll just go and find somebody else. Even if that somebody else is not someone who believes in him, you know what God will do?
God will use that person in order to get our attention. We don't care about morality in this country. We don't dare stand up and defy the polls. We never would consider overturning an electoral vote. We're here to serve the people. Why? Because we believe we are a democracy which we are not.
We are a constitutional republic. God says, I want you to know if you don't operate according to the standards that I've set before you, I want you to know I'll choose King Abimelek. I will choose King Nebuchadnezzar and I will put my plan through the ages through someone who is ungodly.
Why? Because I am God. But I'm going to tell you something.
I'm going to get your attention. Number two, perhaps God gave his plan to Nebuchadnezzar because he wanted to prove his power. I like this one. See, we're going to discover here that there is a proverbial tug of war between the wise men of Babylonia and the godly standards of men by the names of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Perhaps why God spoke to Nebuchadnezzar was that he wanted to prove once and for all who was the god of the ages. I don't know what God must have thought in chapter 2 and verse 11 when the sorcerers and the astrologers said what the king asks is too difficult for no one can reveal it to the king except the gods.
Can you imagine that? I mean, these gentlemen were so wise. They just knew everything. These were the top of the pops. This was the cream and the custard of Babylonia. These were the people who were the ultimate.
They sat on the rooftops and occupied the most lofty places of high office. And yet they looked at King Nebuchadnezzar and said to him, Oh, King, what you ask us is so difficult. In fact, it's so difficult. Only our godless gods could ever reveal this to you. Maybe God wanted to prove to them how wrong they were.
Number three, perhaps God spoke and gave his plan to Nebuchadnezzar because Nebuchadnezzar was the first Gentile king over Judah. It is an incredible thing, God's grace, but it's a gift that needs to be received. It just sits there waiting.
It could be like leftover Christmas gift that's here 16 days into January sitting around. There's a gift ready for you, the gift of eternal life. Before we get away, here on The Encouraging Word, here's our pastor and chief encourager, Dr. Don Wilton.
Are you ready? Would you pray this prayer with me right now? Dear God, I know that Jesus loves me and that he died on a cross for me. Today I repent of my sin and I confess my sin to the Lord Jesus and I give him my heart and my life. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. If you prayed that prayer from your heart and you've given your life to Christ, I welcome you to the family of God. You are my brother, my sister in Christ. Let's get engaged together because we are connected together forever as believers in Christ.
And don't leave whatever you do because I'll be right back. Contact us online at TEWonline.org, a great place to also discover what it means to be an encourager. Hello, my friends. I want to speak to you personally today from my heart to yours. I don't think there is ever a better or more important time for us to respond to our world by standing up for righteousness. Now with this in mind, I would like to invite you to become an encourager ministry partner. You see, together we can impact lives both now and for all time and all eternity. The encouraging word is a viewer and listener supported ministry. And to know that you are standing with me financially enables me to move forward with confidence to do the work God has called me to do. So please call and just simply say I want to become an encourager.
Thank you so much for helping me. We would love to hear from you. The phone number is 866-899-WORD, that's 866-899-9673 or online at TEWonline.org, that's TEWonline.org. God has called us to encourage you. I started receiving your daily God as a birthday gift. I have been so blessed and moved by the daily word. It's as if this devotional was tailor-made especially for me. I in turn gave a donation and signed my niece up to receive it. She called me in tears saying, Aunt Barbara, God is speaking to me personally. Every word has given me hope. Thank you for this ministry.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-01 11:51:46 / 2023-01-01 12:01:38 / 10