Chapter 4 - The King's Tree Dream
King Nebuchadnezzar is in a time of prosperity. He is enjoying his time of abundance and is lacking for nothing. Yet he finds himself with this message from God in a dream. Daniel is called to translate the dream for him and is immediately concerned for the King. He tells him the meaning of the dream is for him to renounce his sinful ways or he will be stripped of his abundance and will find himself eating like the animals of the fields. Daniel warns the king that 7 times will past before King Nebuchadnezzar will renounce his sin and his kingdom will be restored.
The questions this leaves me with is, "Why when we are warned does it take 7 more times before we learn? Why are we so stubborn not to see how really patient God is with us?"
In the study of chapter 4 we are given several examples of men who chose pride over humility, disobedience in instruction, testings end when they accomplish their purpose and praise and thanksgiving should be given for mercy.
The one example that stands out to me here is in the story of Saul. As King Saul's kingdom became larger...he became more and more disobedient to God's instruction. He began to make choices he thought would please the Most High God...and refused to listen to instruction. These verses tell a story of Saul's final act of disobedience and the Lord's rejection of him.
“Enough!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
“Tell me,” Saul replied.
Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’ Why did you not obey the LORD? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD?”
“But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.”
But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”
Rebellion can be seen in so many things. Saul was told to completely wipe out the Amalekites...yet he brought back the King Agag. He didn't even see how this was wrong. He tried to justify his actions by stating..."But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.”
Instead of obedience Saul was after a prideful mission. He didn't wipe them out...he took their king and their sheep & cattle. None of which the Lord told him to do.
The bigger the man the harder the fall. We have so many examples today of people, men and women who are powerful by today's standards. They have taken in riches and misused the abundance they were given. Bernard Madoff and his $50 billion ponzy scheme. People trusted him to invest their money in an honorable way. Now he sits in prison for his actions.
Martha Stewart used her power for self gain. Today she is still able to go right back to her wealth and be visible to millions. What disturbs me is the world see her as someone to model their homes and lives after even today. We see media ads for her product line and we keep buying them...I'm confused by this?
Isaiah 26:3 tells us:
"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."
I believe people like Bernie Madoff and Martha Stewart are reasons our economy is suffering so deeply today. You can't fraud people of 50 billion dollars and it not effect the economy...it has to. You can't use your position for self gain and not expect it to become a scandal to millions.
Even for me...I have to remember daily that my very job is a gift from God. He expects me to use it to further His Kingdom. If I fail to do that, He will remove me from it. It's that simple!
God's Word gives us this command to live by.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
God in His unconditional love is so patient with me. He gives me so many opportunities to correct my behavior. He wants me to prosper...not to fail. He wants to bless me not to remove His gifts from me. He wants me to offer myself as a living daily sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him.
This is what we are called to do...this is our act of worship to Him. He gave us eternal life...He calls us to act holy and pleasing to Him in return.
"I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations" (Psalm 89:1).
"Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him" (Psalm 32:10).