Tuesday Night: How Great Is Our God!

Songs: How Great Thou Art; How Great Is Our God; Great is the Lord Almighty; Our God Reigns
Solo by Brooke Greening “Creation Sings” (Getty) - wonderful words, title song on new Steve Green CD
Harp Offertory “Our Great Savior” - beautifully done
Daniel 4 – Dr. Dan Davey

Introductory Comments:

  • Daniel 4 is the only chapter in the Bible written by a pagan king (Gleason Archer).
  • This is the 3rd direct, miraculous encounter with God that Nebuchadnezzar has had in the book thus far.
  • This encounter is different and will affect Nebuchadnezzar for 7 seasons.
  • The event of this chapter takes place near the end of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign (total of 43 years).
  • Verse 36 tells us that majesty was added to Nebuchadnezzar when he was restored. 
  • In the Septuagint, 4:4 adds a note “I Nebuchadnezzar in my 18th year” – which leads us to 586 B.C.  Some say this is God’s way of getting back at Nebuchadnezzar for the captivity of Israel.
  • Nebuchadnezzar is writing to give clarity about his illness.
  • We need to be careful to infer from the text that Nebuchadnezzar is a believer but it may well be the case (2:47; 3:29; 5:17-21).

Notes from the Body of the Message:

  • Verse 1-3 are probably written post-facto. In the Septuagint, they are attached to the end of ch. 3. The term “The Most High God” is precious in the OT. It gives the idea of “the sovereign one, the one who is freeing.” Isaiah 14:14 includes an acknowledgment by Lucifer of who God is.
  • Verse 4, what had Nebuchadnezzar accomplished? The first Babylonian king to subdue Egypt.  He was the head of gold in the dream.
  • Herodotus visited Babylon 100 years after Nebuchadnezzar. He writes:

~Babylon was built in a square 16 miles on each side.

~Surrounded by a moat

~Beyond the moat, a 333' high wall

~100 brass gates

~Divided into 2 portions by Euphrates

~75' behind the main wall is another wall

~250 towers on top of the wall, each one 450' high

~8 main gates

~7-story ziggurat to Marduk

~180 altars to Ishtar, goddess of love

~Image of Baal of solid gold, estimated to weigh 50,000 lbs.

~3 palaces in the city, one with the hanging gardens with hydraulic water pumps

  • Verse 5, everything changes; fear enters
  • Verse 7, magicians, etc., come in and do not have the answer
  • Verse 8, Daniel comes in last “because he planned to be last” (Leon Wood) “an intentional lateness”
  • Conversation in vv. 10-18

~Nebuchadnezzar likened to a tree

~“Could be seen to the ends of the earth”

~Verse 14, cry from the angels to cut it down

~Verse 15, mercy of God “leave the stump and its roots”

~Verse 16, Nebuchadnezzar’s heart will be changed

~Verse 17, we get the interpretation before Daniel speaks

  • Verse 19, Daniel is stunned for a time, probably an hour. He tells Nebuchadnezzar that he wishes the dream was for his enemies; however, he relates that Nebuchadnezzar is the tree.
  • Verse 27, Daniel appeals to Nebuchadnezzar that he turn from his sins. The problem is Nebuchadnezzar’s conduct which is sinful. Nebuchadnezzar is totally consumed by self (palace, gardens, gates, moats, walls, etc.).
  • Speaking on preaching: “I shudder at my pride, my depravity. This is not a game. We’re standing between the living and the dead.” - Davey
  • When it’s all said and done, Nebuchadnezzar is unmoved! Verse 28-29, twelve months later, all is forgotten. Likely, this came immediately after his conquering of Egypt, the pinnacle of his kingdom. Upon his proud proclamation, he is struck immediately by God.
  • Nebuchadnezzar sank to a sub-human level as a victim of boanthropy, verse 33.
  • Verses 34-37, at the end of this time of suffering, when his mind returns, he exalts God.
  • Transcendence and Immanence of God in verse 35.

Thoughts in Conclusion:

  1. God is sovereign and singularly blesses/breaks men for His glory.
  2. The sin of pride is much more serious to God than it is to man.
  3. Salvation is more than humble words in a moment of crisis; salvation is a broken will over personal sin. It moves us from paganism to holiness. A cultured pagan has room in his lifestyle and language for God, but a pagan’s heart has no room for Jesus Christ.

When I consider the words of this text, I would say to preachers “Preaching is not a performance; preaching is God using you as a messenger for Him. The goal of preaching is that the text preaches itself. God uses me as I allow His Word to flow through me.  It is my worship to the Lord. We give our soul to the text. I’m concerned b/c people don’t want to study the text, the languages of the Bible. I look at Daniel 4 and the preaching of Daniel is in one verse and everything happened b/c it was God-ordained.”
 

A Personal Note:

This was the highlight of the conference for me so far.  The message tonight was a wonderfully text-driven, Spirit-empowered communique from a humble and prepared pastor.  I also was delighted to meet SI Member Will Hatfield and thrilled to finally meet Dr. Kevin Bauder in person!  I have immensely profited from Dr. Bauder over the years.  He loves the Lord, the Church, and the Word.  Also great to be reacquainted with Kevin Mungons, my SI buddy and editor of the Baptist Bulletin.  Tomorrow, I am looking forward to hearing my seminary prez Dr. Tim Jordan in the afternoon session.  I know it will be great! WiFi access in the conference center is still not functioning as hoped so Twittering may or may not be happening in the days ahead. 

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