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Most High Is Sovereign

by David Johnson

IMG_0666(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

It is great to be together again as we look into the Word of God. The title for the lesson is, “Most High is Sovereign” and the text in the Old Testament, the book of Daniel chapter four beginning in verse 28 through to the end of the chapter verse 37.  Listen to the Word of God.
All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon he said: is not this the great Babylon I has built as the royal residence by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty? The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven. This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar. Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the most high is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.

Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.  At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar raised my eyes toward heaven and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the most high. I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion. His kingdom endures from generation to generation.  All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: What have you done? At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom.  My advisors and nobles sought me out and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before.  Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, prays and exalt and glorify the King of Heaven because everything he does is right and all his ways are just and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. This is the Word of God.

Certainly this is a very instructive portion, this fourth chapter of the book of Daniel. God is gracious even with a pagan king full of pride who basked in his own glory. This was the case with Nebuchadnezzar. God gave him 12 months to humble up and repent and renounce his many sins.  He did not.  God’s grace ended and judgment fell. God is long suffering and patient, but judgment falls when we do not repent. For example, God waited 120 years in the days of Noah before judgment fell. God gave the inhabitants of Jerusalem about 40 years after they pushed the Romans to crucify the author of life before judgment fell. Certainly God is long suffering even, of course, today regarding this present, evil world.  Because confession, repentance and humility before a holy God begins with God’s people, with us as God’s Church, as the Lord’s Church and that all would repent and come to be forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ today.

In Daniel chapter four and verse 30 it says, in part: Is not this the great Babylon, I have built as the royal residence by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty? Notice all the personal pronouns that Nebuchadnezzar uses in lifting up exalting himself.  Nebuchadnezzar’s pride and ego were his undoing.  Pride undid the angel Lucifer into the devil and ruined one third of the angels that followed Lucifer and became demons.  According to Proverbs chapter six and verses 15 through 17 it says, in part: The Lord hates haughty eyes.  That is, full of sinful pride and self glory. We all should heed God’s warning and wisdom of, for example, Proverbs chapter three and verse 34 that says: He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble. We should know that often pride precedes a fall which is exactly what befell King Nebuchadnezzar whom basked in all of his building achievements as probably the greatest builder of antiquity of ancient times, 49 building inscriptions have his name on them that have been uncovered thus far.
Nebuchadnezzar also, for example, built according to archeologists, 17 religious temples in the precincts of the city of Babylon. He completed two great walls that surrounded that city of Babylon. The outer wall was wide enough for chariots to pass each other on its top. He had canals dug from one end of the city to another to facilitate commerce.  He, Nebuchadnezzar had built the magnificent Ishtar gate, a double gateway through the walls of the city.  And the walls were covered with bulls and four legged dragons in high relief. Nebuchadnezzar’s greatest building feat were the hanging gardens. One of Nebuchadnezzar’s wives, the Princes of Media grew homesick for the mountains of her homeland. So to satisfy her, he had a 400 foot mountain built on the roof of the royal palace complex. This mountain was planted with trees and plants, an ingenious hydraulic machine, terrace system was devised to lift water from the Euphrates River to water the elevated gardens.  These hanging gardens became so famous the Greeks named them one of the seven wonders of the world.   Now that is a gift we might consider for the woman that has everything.

In Daniel chapter four and verse 31 it says, in part: Your royal authority has been taken from you.  God has the ultimate royal authority over all rulers, all nations and peoples. The one true God will not indefinitely tolerate ignorance of ignoring of his authority and sovereignty over all. And that certainly includes today and for all rulers and monarchs and dictators.  In verse 32 it says, in part:  You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle.  The mental illness that Nebuchadnezzar was stricken with has a name today it is called lycanthropy. This type insanity causes a person to act like a wild beast. Yet the victim still retains an inner consciousness. This explains Nebuchadnezzar’s ability to change his attitude while suffering this madness.
It is interesting to note that for all, at least four years according to the secular historical government records of Babylon uncovered in King Nebuchadnezzar’s name, that his name actually disappeared. Yet his name reappeared in government records before the king died, evidently during this time of madness.

In Daniel chapter four and verse 32 it continues:  Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge the most high is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes. Here seven times equals seven years. This can be verified by comparing Daniel chapter seven and verse 25 with Revelation chapter 12 and verse six which says, in part:  1260 days which equals 42 months or three and a half years. Now also comparing it with Revelation chapter 12 and verse 14 which says, in part:  For a time, times and half a time, which equals also three and a half years.  So a time equals one year.  And so seven times equals seven years.  The most high equals the one true God of the heavens and the earth, who is sovereign master of the universe, to whom all will bow eventually as the King of kings and Lord of lords.  All sinful pride must not persist.  We all are vulnerable to God’s chastening. Physically we are one heartbeat away from the grave. Mentally we are one brain aneurism from a vegetable. Financially we are one disaster from bankruptcy and spiritually we are one hardened heart from eternal separation from God.

So as the apostle Peter learned himself and wrote in 1 Peter chapter five and verse six: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand that he may lift you up in due time. And time did come when even King Nebuchadnezzar repented, set aside his pride and was forgiven and reinstated, reinstalled to his kingdom, to his throne under the most high who is sovereign.

In Daniel chapter four and verse 34 it says, in part: I Nebuchadnezzar raised my eyes toward heaven. Those words signify Nebuchadnezzar’s repentance and finally humility toward the one true God’s throne room in heaven to which Nebuchadnezzar—remember, a pagan who acknowledged the one true God of the cosmos, not an image, not an idol, not a statue of gold on earth, not a false God.
Did Nebuchadnezzar persevere even in saving faith?  Only God knows.  But he did praise, honor and glorify the one true God, the invisible, invincible God and not just his own achievements, his own attainments, his own kingdom or empire and not his own gods as a pagan.
Consider part of the heathen’s tremendous transformation as the Hebrew prophet Daniel records regarding Nebuchadnezzar, because God gives grace to the humble, even to those like Nebuchadnezzar with a greatly inflated self delusion of grandeur who didn’t deserve God’s forgiveness, because God’s grace was there and God forgave and lifted his insanity and even, according to Daniel chapter four and verse 36, I was  restored to my throne and became even greater than before.  So even more spectacular than Nebuchadnezzar’s transformation is God’s grandiose grace which none of us deserve.

Note that in Daniel chapter four and verse 37 it says: Now I, Nebuchadnezzar praise and exalt and glorify the what, the who?  The King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.  Imagine Nebuchadnezzar the most powerful man of his generation on earth acknowledged, praised, exalted, glorified, the vastly superior majesty and monarch King of heaven, infinitely above and beyond all kings, all flesh and blood.  And everything he does is right even causing a man to eat grass like a cow, even the most powerful and prideful person on earth he is able to humble.
It was the great preacher Charles Spurgeon who wrote, quote: Every man likes to feel like he has a right to do with his own as he pleases. We all like to be like little sovereigns, end of quote.  However, only the most high is sovereign.  We need to recognize he who mocks, God mocks the proud mockers, but gives grace to the humble. And we should remember, again, that often pride precedes the fall which is exactly what can happen to us if we are not careful.  Let us remember to humble up and always to fess up when we mess up as we recognize and exalt the most high who is sovereign.

 

                      David Johnson is minister of Sellersburg Church of Christ in Sellersburg, IN.




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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4