Under The Influence

This teaching is based on John 8:36, which says, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Satan will do anything he can to keep us from knowing this. He doesn’t want to get caught, because when a “thief” is caught, he has to “restore” what he has stolen seven fold. Most believers are not “free indeed!” Why? Because they don’t believe that they can actually be in bondage. When Jesus made that statement in John, he was speaking to believers.

Mark 5:1 – Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. (Verse 2) And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, (demon-possessed) (Verse 3) who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, (Verse 4) because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.

(Verse 5) And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. (Verse 6) But when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. (He bowed down.) (Verse 7) And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do you You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” (The demon is talking through the man.)

(Verse 8) For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” (Verse 9) Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” (This is a Roman term meaning 6,826 soldiers.) (Verse 10) And he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. (Demonic spirits like to stay where they already have a stronghold.)

 

(Verse 11) Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. (Verse 12) And all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” (Verse 13) And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine; and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.

(Verse 14) Now those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. (Verse 15) Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. (Instead of being glad.)

(Verse 16) And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. (Verse 17) Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region. (Verse 18) And when He got in the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. (Verse 19) However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”

(Verse 20) And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. (Decapolis is not just one city, its ten cities, ten Greek cities.)

Demons Are Real

Sixty-one times the word demon is in the Gospels. Maybe the reason they are mentioned so much is because no one had ever taken authority over them until Jesus came. He began to confront strongholds and bondage’s. Demons are fallen angels; one-third of the angels fell with Lucifer when he fell.

Demons are “disembodied spirits.” They are always looking for a body to possess. However, there are cultures filled with people that do not believe demons are real. Some have even went so far to say that Jesus only pretended to cast them out so people would follow him.

Here is one commentary that thinks demons are not real: “These are persons, afflicted with especially severe diseases, either bodily or mentally, whose bodies in the opinion of the Jews, demons had entered, and their cure was thought to require the expulsion of the demon.” 

They believe that this opinion of demons was made-up by the Jews. That’s heresy! Why would our Bible say Jesus cast out demons if the demons weren’t actually there? However, there are people who see a demon in everything and there are people who say that demons simply don’t exist. Both of these types, Satan loves to hold in bondage. They are both in deception. If you are in ether of these two groups thinking, you need to move to the middle! We should neither be skeptics or superstitious.

A person will never be set free if they don’t believe they can be in bondage. You can’t cast out the flesh and you can’t disciple a demon. Do people need discipleship or deliverance? Yes, they need both. People do possess demonic bondage in their lives, but they have to recognize it.

People can be saved and love the Lord and still be in bondage to lust, immorality, anger, and so on. But, they have to know this is a demonic spirit and what kind it is. So, yes, demons can take Christians into bondage. Christian’s activity and behaviors can be influenced by demonic spirits. The only ones that can’t be set free are the ones that refuse to admit they are in bondage.

Demons Do Enter People

john 10:1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. John 10:10 – ” The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

The thief can get in! The thief, and we know who that is, can enter the sheepfold and the sheepfold are the believers. The enemy will do everything he can to get into the sheep – Christians, some other way.

The Scripture says, “He does not come “except”… And, every time he comes, he comes to steal from us, to kill us, and to destroy us! So, can a Christian really be possessed by a demon?

Demon-possessed in the Greek is actually two words: Daimonizomai; di-mo-ne-zo-mi. Demon zomai, means to possess – demonized. There are also two Greek words for possession. One is “ownership – to gain mastery over; to gain control over; to have power over.

We give our souls to Jesus, which is our mind will, and emotions, and were bought with a price, so we don’t possess our souls after being born again. Jesus tells us to “gain the mastery over our soul,” get control. So no a Christian cannot be owned by a demon. This becomes clear after knowing what the word possessed mean. We are owned by Jesus! But can a Christian be under the control of a demonic spirit? Yes.

Thayer’s definition: To be under the power of a demon. This happens in certain areas of people’s lives; in lust, unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, and son on. 

Louw Nida’s definition: One cannot speak of a person being possessed by a demon. A more appropriate expression may be “the person possesses (has) a demon. In other word: “The demon rides the person or the demon commands the person.”

If there is a sin that a person just can’t seem to overcome, then they are in bondage, under the influence of a demonic spirit. People will make the excuse, “I have a weakness in that area,” but have had it 20 years or all their life! Its bondage. If a person is in bondage in any area of their life, there is One who can set them free. His name is Jesus! But He can’t set you free unless you know and admit you’re in bondage!

Here is a good illustration: You leave your house and you leave a window open. When you return you find a thief in your house. Does that thief own your house? No! But he is in your house. He has control over your house until he is arrested and taken out in handcuffs. You have the authority to arrest him and throw him out of your house.

Lamentations 1:10 – The adversary has spread his hand over all her pleasant things; (talking about Israel) for she has seen the nations enter her sanctuary, those whom You commanded not to enter Your assembly. Lamentations 4:12 – The kings of the earth, and all inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem (but they did).

Joel 2:9 – They run to and fro in the city, they run on the wall; they climb into the houses, they enter at the windows like a thief.

When a Christian that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they usually end up doing or saying something they are very ashamed of afterward. Do those drugs or alcohol own that person? No, they are owned by God, but these influences have entered into his house, like a thief, to steal, kill, and destroy them. Christians who are under a demonic influence will end up doing something totally out of character, if they don’t get set free from that influence.

Luke 10:17 – Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (Verse 18) And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (When Satan fell, he was out of there faster than lightning could strike.) (Verse 19) “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Verse 20) “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

(Verse 21) In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said,“I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.

The “wise,” are those that don’t believe there are demons, so “these things” are hidden from them by the Father. They also don’t believe that believers have authority over them. We have two choices, either leave the demons in, or cast them out! The enemy will enter in through our history and our weakness, by telling us, “You think you can get free, but you really can’t. Not true.

Satan does not have the power to stop you or anyone else from coming to Jesus. Mark 5:6 – When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. Even the man that had a legion of demons in him ran to Jesus and worshiped him. Wow!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Are You Under Attack?

When people go through spells of sadness, you would think that the enemy would give them a break, but he doesn’t. He will attack, even when people are at their lowest and hardest times. Thoughts will flood people’s minds that are cruel and without mercy. Satan will put the “what if’s” in our mind: “What if I had done that, or what if I had not done that?” We would think in our hardest times, that there would be some kind of relief. So, when the enemy keeps attacking, how do we overcome?

Psalm 42 and 43 were written at the same time. They are divided in our Bible, but more likely were not when they were written. David wrote these when he was running from Absalom, his son that organized a takeover of David’s kingdom. It looks like David is losing everything; his family, his friends, and his position. David doesn’t think it could get any worse, but it does.

In 2 Samuel 16, when David is leaving Jerusalem, he runs into a man named Shimei, that is acting like the devil: 2 Samuel 16:7 – Also Shimei said thus when he cursed: “Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue! (Verse 8) “The LORD has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!” (Verse 13) And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and kicked up dust.

That is exactly the way Satan does toward us! He tells us that everything that is happening is our fault; we brought it on our-self; we should have done things differently and son on.

David flees to the wilderness and writes this Psalm: Psalm 42:1 – As the deer pants for water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. 

David is writing this while under attack. Deer will pant when they are being chased by an enemy. And, when deer are being chased and panting, they use up to 80% of their water reserve. If they are chased long enough, they will die. The first thing a deer does after getting away, is find water.

David writes, “My soul is tired of running!” And, “My soul is panting for God!” He knows that God is the only One that can refresh him. There are certain things we can do when under attack from the enemy:

We Need To Recognize We Are Under Attack

We are not just sad or depressed because things are going bad, we are in a battle: Psalm 42:3 – My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” 

I have had people say that to me whom are not believers when going through a hard time; “Why would God allow that to happen to you? Where is He when you need Him?” And, it usually comes from family or a close friend and that makes it hurt even worse.

Psalm 42:9, 10 – I will say to God my Rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” (Verse 10) As with a breaking of my bones, my enemies reproach me, while they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” ( and “they” are the enemy)

David had literal enemies and we have spiritual enemies. People will look at you and say, “Look what you’re going through. Where’s your God now?” We can’t think of anything that we have been doing wrong, things will just begin to turn in a bad way. Recognize that is an attack from the enemy and we need to say, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan!”

We can’t ever forget that Satan is a liar! He will put thoughts in our head that we are not going to make it, and we won’t without God! Satan will attack us when we are most vulnerable and tells us “You blew it!” It is a spiritual battle that usually goes on in our mind. Some will feel sorry for themselves and slip further into depression.

Satan will often produce the evidence to prove his lie. I’ts false evidence, but evidence just the same. Are we going to believe what God says about us, or are we going to believe a lie from someone who wants to destroy us?

Do you remember when Joseph’s brothers brought his coat to Jacob and Jacob believed a wild animal had killed him? That was a lie, Joseph wasn’t dead!

Don’t Listen To Yourself

Psalm 42:4 – When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.

David has been run out of Jerusalem and is talking to himself when he says, “My soul within me.” Woe is me! He then remembers going to the house of God with the multitude. When things get tough, we need to surround ourselves with fellow believers that can encourage us. Get in God’s Word and let the Holy Spirit speak, and put on some worship music. We can refuse to be depressed by attacking back!

Start Talking To Yourself In The Right Way

Our soul is our mind, will, and emotions. It’s the thoughts we have a problem with; it’s the emotions and feelings that will affect our decisions when in a spiritual battle. Stop listening to your feelings and start talking to your soul: Psalm 42:5 – Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.

Cast down, literally means depressed. David is not listening to those thoughts of depression anymore. He starts to talk to his soul, knowing God will help him. When people get depressed, they are being “pressed down,” but people have to recognize who is doing this to them – the enemy! When people get depressed, all kinds of bad things can happen, including suicide.

David talks to his soul again: Psalm 131:2, which says, “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. Like a bay when the bottle is taken away, our soul will cry out when under attack.

We have a spirit and we have a soul, and the spirit should rule over the soul, our emotions. However, when the soul, our emotions, want to rule over our spirit, depression can set in and tell us that everything is going wrong and nothing will work out and it’s not going to get better.

Before we are saved, our soul is in charge of all decisions. For some, that can mean for years their soul has been making all decisions and some not so good. But when we get saved, the Spirit comes in and says, “Nope, you are not going to do that anymore,” and then the battle begins. Always remember, the spirit is stronger. Our spirit is dead in our trespasses before being born again, but once saved, it is made “Alive!” When under attack, let your spirit tell your soul to, “Shut up!”

God To God

Just as the deer pants for water, we need to get to God as fast as we can when under attack. Our look on our face will tell others our countenance. We expose a lot with our expressions, but look what David says in Psalm 43:5 – …”the help of my countenance and my God.

When David looked at God’s  face, it changed “my face.” If we look to God’s countenance, it will change ours. David realized he didn’t have to be in Jerusalem or in the house of God to be near Him.

Here is another thing that will help when in a battle: When we begin to pray, enter His gates with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise. Think about what all God has done for you and be grateful for it. Don’t let the enemy tell you how you should feel. And we certainly don’t start our conversation with God by griping and complaining.

When under attack, get to some water, and the water is the Living Word of God!

How Should We Respond To Culture?

We live in a major cultural shift. If the church is asleep, it will not be able to handle the things that come against her in these last days. The best Biblical example I can use of someone that was in a corrupt culture is Daniel. What happened in Daniel’s life is a play-book for us today. He had to navigate a Jewish faith in a Babylonian culture. He not only survived it, he had influence in it and he did it without ever compromising his faith.

If we look at Daniel, we will see how to live in a society that hates God and keep our faith and influence at the same time without compromise:

Daniel 1:1 – In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. (Verse 2) And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god: and he brought the articles into the treasure-house of his god.

(Verse 3) Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, (Verse 4) young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had an ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.

(Verse 5) And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. (Verse 6) Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.

Gathering young minds to dictate every aspect way of thinking to adapt to their culture, is exactly what is happening in our schools today. Teachers are indoctrinating this generation how they should speak and think. Certain words are offensive, which never used to be and getting them to think everything should be free at the expense of someone else paying for it. Over half of the college students are so confused, they don’t even know what gender they are or what they want to be called.

However, God did not call us to reflect this culture, He called us to set it and influence it with His teachings and principles. That is why it is so important what a child is taught at home. But if a child is not prepared beforehand, they will be tremendously impacted by the culture they live in.

How has our culture today impacted the church? It always starts with a small erosion from within the body of believers, the church. For instance: “Maybe we don’t need to be so strict on sin and preach repentance.”

Culture Will Try To Rename You

This is going on right now in our society today. Maybe not in changing your literal name, but changing your identity, in how you see yourself! Oh, and if we Christians disagree, we are the ones that have a “phobia.” Look what they did to Daniel and his three friends:

Daniel 1:7 – To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.

Names were always a sign of ownership. When God puts a new creation, a new heart, in us through belief in His Son, we have a new identity. But the Babylonians, by changing these young men’s names, wanted to obliterate anything God had put inside of them – change their identity! On some of the college campuses today, if you call a person by the wrong gender, you can be reprimanded.

The enemy will always try to put a “label” on you which is not what God calls you. For instance, Daniel’s name means “God is my Judge.” Belteshazzar means “lady, protect the king.” They were even trying to create “gender confusion” back then! If you study pagan religion, there was always gender confusion. That is straight from the devil.

Hananiah means “Yahweh has been gracious.” But Shadrach means “I’m afraid of God.” Mishael means “Who is, what God is.” Meshach means “I’m despised, contemptible and humiliated.” They changed their names from “confidence” to cowards. The enemy will try to change the redemptive name we have from God.

Azariah means, “Yahweh has helped.” Abed-Nego means “I’m a servant of Nebo.” The enemy has a label for each one of us, and for many they have bought into that thinking that strips their real identity and it is defining their lives. That’s why when someone stops drinking alcohol, is born again, they are no longer called an alcoholic, but society says they are always an alcoholic. Not so, and neither is a drug addict once they stop, still a drug addict. If you are born again, you are a child of the Most High God not what you used to be!

When Culture Shifts, We Must Know Who We Are

Culture will try to change our standards also. Culture will try to get us to compromise what we once believed was wrong! Tells us its “out-dated” thinking. This takes the church into the forbidden. For instance: “You don’t have to be married, just live together. The marriage license is just a piece of paper.” And the worse one yet is: “It’s my body and I will do what I want with it!”

Daniel 1:8 – But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Daniel didn’t start preaching to them that this was from the devil, he simply asked if he could not defile himself. He was polite, as we should be. Daniel had already purposed in his heart not to compromise his standards. 

In this day and time, we better know what we believe, settle our core beliefs, and know what is compromise and what is not. Just how much of today’s culture do we really let into our lives? When we see culture shift, we need to reaffirm our convictions.

Culture Will Test Us

Many today will be tested in a lot of areas, and some only a few, but we all will be tested in today’s society. How much we tolerate to enter into our lives is up to us.

Daniel 1:9 – Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and good will of the chief of the eunuchs. (Verse 10) And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.” (Verse 11) So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, (Verse 12) “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. (Verse 13) “Then let our countenance be examined before you, and the countenance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” (Verse 14) So he contended with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.

When the culture we live in starts to shift, we have to respond in the right way. We can’t fall into the two ex-streams: God didn’t call us to just be right! He called us to be effective. The goal is not to prove our point and that person be told, “You’re going to hell if you don’t change.” The goal is to be a good witness and win them over to understanding our God.

The other ex-stream is by telling a person that “you” love that person, that needs salvation, more than God does. Example: “I know the Bible says that, but God doesn’t really mean that for you.” When the truth is: God loves us so much that He calls us out of our sin and wants us to live for Him.

Jesus gives us the perfect balance of how we are to respond: John 1:14 – And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

When Jesus loved people, He did it with both grace and truth. Grace comes first. We connect before we correct. Love people first and then show them grace. Truth without grace is just plain mean. It’s right, but it’s mean. We can be right but also helpful.

Grace without truth is “meaningless!” The truth is what’s sets us free, so if there’s no truth with all that love, then its all meaningless. But when we put grace and truth together, we get good medicine.

Jesus gave us an example of this in Chapter 8 of John, when a woman is caught in adultery:

John 8:1 – But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. (Verse 2) But early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. (Verse 3) Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her  in the midst, (Verse 4) they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. (Verse 5) “Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” (Verse 6) This they said, testing Him that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. (Verse 7) So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

I want you to notice something: Jesus is in the temple and the floor in the temple is not dirt, it is stone. They brought the woman directly into the temple and sat her down in the midst of all these men, including Jesus. Jesus wrote on the ground, hard stone, with His finger and He does it again.

(Verse 8) And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. (Verse 9) Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. I don’t know what He wrote, but He wrote it on that hard stone on the floor of the temple, because it says they “went out one by one.” They went out of the temple! Nowhere does it say that Jesus went out to meet these accusers because they had interrupted His teaching in the temple. Wow!

(Verse 10) When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,  “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” (Verse 11) She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

Grace first, then truth! Grace invites us to be free, so that the truth can literally set us free. Jesus loves us but loves us too much to leave us the way we are. God will give us the confidence we need to stand firm in the middle of a shifting culture! He will prepare us for every test!

 

 

The Reversal Of Pride

In the Book of Daniel, there were four powerful kings that God used as His instruments. We’ve looked at three that had a strong spirit of pride: Nebuchadnezzar was under the “The Seduction of Pride”; Belshazzar was under “Stubbornness of Pride”; Darius was under the “Deception of Pride”; and now the last king, Cyrus, the “Reversal of Pride.” All four of these kings reigned during the 70 years that the Jewish people were in captivity in Babylon and Daniel ministered to them all.

Daniel 1:21 – Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus. Daniel 6:28 – So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

The book of Daniel has 12 chapters; the first 6 are what happened during the 70 years while God’s people were in exile. The next 6 chapters, are the visions that Daniel received. Some of these visions are about the end times; some are about what would happen up to when the Messiah came and about what happened when He came.

Daniel 7:1 – In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts. Daniel 9:1 – In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me – to me Daniel – after the one that appeared to me the first time.

Daniel 9:1 – In the first year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans – (Verse 2) in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD, given through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolation of Jerusalem. (Daniel understood that they would be released after 70 years.)

Daniel 10:1 – In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision. Daniel 11:1 – “Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him.”

If you have been seduced by pride, then you are stubborn and easily deceived. You cannot get through to someone who is stubborn and full of pride. They are so hard to talk to, especially about the things of God. They have a closed mind.

Some people have to learn humility the hard way and force God’s hand to humble them, as Nebuchadnezzar and Darius was. Belshazzar died the very night that he saw the hand writing on the wall. However, Cyrus shows us that pride can be reversed.

Why Does God Humble People?

Because “Pride comes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall!” If people will open their minds and hearts to the All Mighty, they will learn humility before they are destroyed. He loves us enough to show us when we are being stubborn or deceived.

God’s Plans For Us Are For Our Good

Deuteronomy 8:16 – “who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end. This passage was what God said to the children of Israel in the wilderness. But what about when they were captive in Babylon, was that for their good also?

Jeremiah 24:5 – “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans. God didn’t do this to punish them. They had not let the land rest every seven years like He had instructed them, so this was His way of teaching them humility, He disciplined them. He did it for their good.

Jeremiah 29:10 – “For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.” (Verse 11) “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thought of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

These next verses are the last two verses in the Hebrew Bible, not the book of Malachi. Our Bible is not written in chronological order, as some will argue. The Hebrew Scriptures end with the re-building of the temple in Jerusalem. Hebrew Scripture is divided different then our Bible: The “Torah” is first, then the “Prophets,” and then the “Writings.”

2 Chronicles 36:22 – Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, (Verse 23) Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdom of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? May the LORD God be with him, and let him go up!

God Knows You Before You Know Him

It is believed that Daniel not only read Jeremiah’s writings, he read Isiah and showed them to Cyrus and then Cyrus gave the decree to build the temple. Daniel had access to the Scriptures. Isaiah 45:1 – Thus says the LORD to His appointed. To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held – To subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not shut: (Verse 4) For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.

Isiah 44:28 – Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” and to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” ‘

Cyrus made the proclamation: “God has told me!” How else would he have known, but Daniel show him the words of Isaiah? What Isaiah wrote, was 150 years before Cyrus was even born and made this proclamation. The other amazing thing is that God said, “I named you!” And God calls Cyrus His shepherd. The first 10 years of Cyrus’ life, he was raised by a shepherd and his wife. He had been taken at birth and traded for a dead baby. His grandfather was king and had a dream that his grandson, when born, would one day overthrow the grandfather and that’s exactly what Cyrus did. And that’s how Cyrus got back in the palace and became king. However, God knew all that and it was written down about 150 years before it happened!

When Daniel shows Cyrus that God knew all this and is the One that named him, what else could he do but what God commanded him to do?

God’s Plans For Us Includes Provision

Ezra 1:4 – And whoever remains in any place where he sojourns, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem. Ezra 3:7 – They also gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre to bring cedar logs from Lebanon to the sea at Joppa, according to the permission which they had from Cyrus king of Persia.

God was providing for them in everything they needed through Cyrus. This is the “reversal” of pride. When pride gets reversed in our life, we immediately step into God’s plan and also step into God’s provision. If you will recall when the children of Israel walked in the Promise Land, there were houses already there, built by giants. Now when they go back to Jerusalem, after being humbled for 70 years, they begin to build with everything being provided for them.

We all have a choice whether to humble ourselves or wait until God does it. I’d rather do it myself. But He will do it in order to accomplish His purpose. If God has to do it, I can almost guarantee, it is not going to be pleasant.

2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. We humble ourselves before we pray! Praying with a prideful heart won’t go as far as the ceiling. 

James 4:10 – Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. Jesus is the perfect example that we all should follow: Philippians 2:5 – Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, (Verse 6) who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, (Verse 7) but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. (Verse 8) And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Humble – to rank yourself below others. Philippians 2:3 – let each esteem others better than himself.

Renew your mind with the word of God; take every thought captive; have the mind of Christ. If we do that, we will humble ourselves and God won’t have to do it for us!

The Deception Of Pride

Anytime a Christian is going through a difficult time in their life, the enemy will try his best to deceive us. Satan wants us in his bondage to manipulate us with deception and fear. We have studied the first two kings in Babylon that had prideful spirits, and now we will look at the third king, Darius, which was deceived:

Daniel 6:1 – It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps (governors), to be over the whole kingdom; (Verse 2) and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. (Verse 3) Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. (Verse 4) So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.

Daniel was faithful, responsible, and always trustworthy, and the other governors were jealous of him and tried to find fault, but none could be found.

(Verse 5) Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” (Verse 6) So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: “King Darius, live forever! (Verse 7) “All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisers, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.

The men had told the king that they all were in agreement. That was a lie. They had not included Daniel. The only way Satan can get you into bondage is to get you to believe a lie. Here was the problem: Darius liked the idea of being worshiped, so these men told him that for thirty days the people couldn’t pray to anyone but him, and all the other governors agreed to this. Darius didn’t know that this was with the exception of Daniel. The deception was because of a lie and Darius believed it. I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again, “When someone digs a hole for another to fall in through deception and lies, they themselves will fall in it.”

Pride Opens the Door To Deception

Daniel 6:8, 9 – “Now, O king, establish the decree and signed the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” (Verse 9) Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.

Darius had a problem with insecurity which is the root of pride. He had been a general, but because he had conquered Babylon, Cyrus made him the king. Darius was a Mede, not a Persian which made him feel inferior to the Persians. The Medes had joined the Persians so that they wouldn’t be destroyed.

Daniel 6:10 – Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.

Daniel was not doing this to make a point, he was doing what he normally did. Why did he pray toward Jerusalem? According to the dedication of the temple by Solomon, in 1 Kings 8:35, Solomon said, “If the skies are shut up and there is no rain because Your people have sinned against You, and if they pray toward the temple and acknowledge Your name and turn from their sins because You have punished them. And Daniel prayed three times a day because of Psalm 55:17 – Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.

So, how did Daniel keep from falling into a spirit of pride himself? Because he knew the word of God and he stayed in it. He knew to pray toward Jerusalem, because he had read 1 Kings and he knew to pray three times because of the book of Psalms. Knowing God’s word will keep us from having a spirit of pride.

Pride Always Brings Regret

After the decree was signed by Darius, he found out that Daniel was praying to his God and did everything he could think of not to follow through with the punishment of throwing Daniel in the lion’s den.

Daniel 6:16 – So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you. (Verse 18) Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him.

Anytime decisions are made based on pride or insecurity, we will regret it. We should be getting our principles to live by from the word of God. When things are done out of need or an insecurity, we usually make the wrong decisions, because it was not God’s will, or we weren’t willing to wait on Him.

Pride Causes Spiritual Blindness

So King Darius can’t sleep all night and when morning came, he rushed to the lion’s den and asked, “Daniel, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Daniel tells him that the Lord’s angel came and shut the mouths of the lions.

Daniel 6:23 – Then the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God. (Verse 24) And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions – them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom  of the den.

Would you looky there! The deception was gone because Darius saw what Daniel’s God was able to do. He knew who was responsible for the deception and he brought swift judgment on those men. Once we find out that we have been deceived, we need to do something about it. We need to acknowledge it because if we just let it lie without saying anything, that will make us as bad as the ones doing the deceiving.

Jesus explains spiritual blindness in John, Chapter 9: Jesus and his disciples are walking and come upon a blind man. The man doesn’t call out to them and has been blind since birth. The disciples ask Jesus is this man blind because of his sin or his parents sin and Jesus answers: John 9:6 – When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. (Verse 7) And He said to him, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So he went and washed, and came back seeing. (Verse 8) Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” (Verse 9) Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” (Verse 10) Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” (Verse 11) He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.” 

(Verse 12) Then they said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.” (Verse 13) They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. (Verse 14) Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. (Verse 15) Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” (Verse 18) But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. 

(Verse 19) And they asked them saying, “Is this your sin, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see? (Verse 20) His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; (Verse 21) “but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.”

(Verse 24) So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.” (Verse 25) He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” (Verse 26) Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” (Verse 27) He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? So you also want to become His disciples?”

That made the Pharisees furious so they kicked him our of the temple. But Jesus went and found him. When “religion” kicks you out, Jesus will come find you! Here is the cure for pride: (Verse 39) And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” (Jesus is talking about spiritual eyesight.)

(Verse 40) Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?” (Verse 41) Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sins remain.

In other words: “If you would just admit to Me that you can’t see without Me, I would take away your sin!” All of their sin would be removed. “But since you say that you can see without Me, your sin remains with you!” Because of their pride, they were not forgiven. However, if they had humbled themselves and asked for His help, He would take away all their sin.

When we swallow our pride and admit we cannot do anything without Him; we cannot save our-self, then we humble ourselves and ask for His help, He will forgive our sin. We can read the Bible all day long but never understand it until the Lord opens our spiritual eyes. When we admit that, He will heal our spiritual blindness.

 

The Stubbornness of Pride

Have you ever known people who are stubborn or hardheaded? When it comes to the things that God is trying to show or tell them, do they just ignore it? In the Bible, Jonah was stubborn at first, but eventually did what God wanted him to do. However, there is one person that simply refused to “Read the Hand writing on the Wall!” His name was Belshazzar:

Daniel 5:1 – Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. (Babylon had become the leading city in the world and might have had a population of 200,000 people.)

(Verse 2) While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them.

Culture and Biblical language will call the grandfather and great-grandfather and any ancestor the father. Belshazzar was Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson. Belshazzar’s mother was Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter. Belshazzar takes the things that his grandfather took that had been dedicated to God in the temple, and pours themselves wine and drinks out of them.

(Verse 3) Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. (Verse 4) They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone. (Verse 5) In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

(Verse 6) Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. In other words: He “freaked out!” This is the first time that “knees knocked, ” had ever been mentioned in any historical document.

(Verse 7) The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed in purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” (Belshazzar was actually the second ruler. The first was his father who was out building temples to the god of sin.)

(Verse 8) Now all the king’s wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. (Verse 9) Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed and his lords were astonished. (Verse 10) The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. And the queen spoke, saying, “O king live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change.

(Verse 11) “There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father (grandfather) light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father – your father the king – made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. (Verse 12) “Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”

(Verse 13) Then Daniel was brought in before the king. And the king spoke, and said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah?

Look how arrogant Belshazzar was. He reminded Daniel his place, that he was nothing more than a captive. Daniel was a slave, so he needed to remember his place in front of the king. (Verse 14) “I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you.

So Belshazzar had heard of the things of God and he knew there was Holy God. (Verse 15) “Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation of the thing. (Verse 16) “And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

(Verse 17) Daniel answered, and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation.

In other words: “I’ll do what you ask, but I don’t need your bribe.” (Verse 18) “O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. (Verse 19) “And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down.

Keep in mind, Belshazzar was a “crown prince,” not the king. His father was the king. So in essence, Daniel is reminding Belshazzar of his place, just as Belshazzar had done to Daniel. One of the reasons that Belshazzar was so stubborn towards the things of God, is because he wanted to be the king over all, but he never really was.

(Verse 20) “But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. (Verse 21) “Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him grass like oxen, and his body was wet with dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.

Daniel gave Belshazzar a history lesson in what happened to his prideful grandfather before he ever interprets the writing in such a way that maybe Belshazzar will “get it,” but he doesn’t. (Verse 22) “But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. (Verse 23) And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. (I imagine about now, Belshazzar is sorry he ever brought Daniel in to interpret the writing.) 

(Verse 24) “Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written. (Verse 25) And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. (Verse 26) “This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; (Verse 27) “TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; (Verse 28) “PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” (Verse 29) Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. 

(Verse 30) That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. (Verse 31) And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

Belshazzar Saw But He Didn’t Look

Growing up, Belshazzar had seen all the things done by God. He had watched, because Daniel had been there a long time and he knew what had happened. He had heard the stories of Daniel in the lion’s den and the three Hebrew boys in the fire, but he paid no mind to any of that. He also knew what had happened to Nebuchadnezzar eating grass until he was humbled by God, but again ignored all of it. He then took what was holy and used it for himself in his palace.

Spending time with God in reading His word, prayer, and worship will bring us an intimacy with the One who will bring understanding and that will break stubbornness.

Belshazzar Heard But He Didn’t Listen

He had heard all the things that Daniel had done, but it still didn’t change him. We can be a witness for others by telling them the good things that God has done for us, but if they are not open to it, they have a blindness that they refuse to see. I’ve talked to people that I cannot convince that there is only one way to God, but they insist that they are a “good person,” and they don’t need to do it the way God says. They don’t listen.

Belshazzar Knew But He Didn’t Learn

See, hear, and know; look, listen and learn. Belshazzar could have looked into God for himself, but he was too stubborn and ended up paying the ultimate price. Stubbornness is a person’s strong will, turned towards themselves, instead of God. A strong will is not bad if it is turned in the right direction. Being transparent to others so that they can see into us will help us to overcome our stubbornness.

When people turn their strong will toward God, others will see a change in them. It will be a total transformation.

 

 

 

The Seduction Of Pride

During the time of Israel’s captivity in Babylon, there were four kings that had a very strong spirit of pride, but Daniel was a great influence on all four. The first king we are going to look at is King Nebuchadnezzar. The Israelite’s ended up being in captivity for 70 years physically, but God did not want them to be held captive spiritually.

Pride is one of the first attacks the enemy will come with when he wants to destroy the purpose of God. Pride was the cause of Lucifer being kicked out of heaven. The first way Satan will attack is by:

Not Giving God the Glory

By not giving God the Glory, we allow the enemy to get a foothold in our lives. We look at what we have or what we have done and think we did it “All by ourselves!”

Daniel 1:1 – In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. (Verse 2) And the Lord gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah into his hand, with some articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure-house of his god.

This verse is very plain when it says, “And the Lord gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.” However, Nebuchadnezzar took all the credit. There was no acknowledgment of God whatsoever. This whole attack on Israel was set up by God to discipline God’s people not punish them.

1 Corinthians 15:10 – But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

By God’s grace, we are able to do what we do, even though we work very hard to obtain it. We did not control which two people would give birth to us; we did not control what kind of environment we would start our lives; or what part of the earth we would be born in, let alone what time in history we would be born. God controls all of that. So, when we have success in our lives, why not give God the glory for that accomplishment? And if we live to be a very old age, is that not also by the grace of God?

Daniel 1:3 – Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of the eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, (Verse 4) young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge, and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldean’s.

Satan is always trying to teach the next generation a different language and literature. Even now, he has changed the meaning of words and he’s trying to tell the next generation, that is not what our “founding fathers” meant when they wrote our constitution. But our founding fathers did mean for us to have freedom “OF” religion, not freedom “From” religion. The government is not to tell us how or when to worship.

Daniel 1:6 – Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. (Verse 7) To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.

Then Nebuchadnezzar has a dream, and he calls his wise men in and tells them to not only tell him the interpretation, but tell him what he has dreamed. He didn’t recognize the supernatural, because he thought, if you are intelligent , anyone could do it. But his wise-men told him that it was impossible to do this.

So the king sends out a decree that all his wise men will be killed, including Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. But Daniel said, “Hold on a minute.” and Daniel sent word to the king that his God could tell him the dream and interpret it. So Daniel is brought in front of the king: Daniel 2:26 – The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?” (Verse 27) Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. (Verse 28) “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made know to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these:

There is a part that we play in God’s divine plan, but we need to have a humble spirit like Daniel. There are those who have a false sense of humility too when they say, “Oh, it was all God, I didn’t have anything to do with it.” There is a danger also when people don’t reject the glory that men give them:

Not Rejecting The Glory Of Men

People will try to give you glory for what you do for God and some will take that glory with a spirit of pride. Yes, it is fine to honor someone for a great accomplishment, but there is only one person who gets glory and He shares His glory with no one! That is what Lucifer tried to do when he led heaven in worship. He wanted some of that glory that was given to God.

So, Daniel interprets this dream and part of this dream is about a figure of a man and its the kingdom. He talks about the future kingdoms and goes on all the way down to the feet of clay of the statue. Then Nebuchadnezzar tells Daniel that, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of Kings, and revealer of secrets. Then the king promoted Daniel. and then: Daniel 3:1 – Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.

Then Nebuchadnezzar puts out a decree that whenever they heard music, all people will fall down and worship the gold image. After Daniel interpreted the dream, he was promoted. Daniel could have taken that glory with pride, but he didn’t and neither did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.

Do you ever notice people in leadership who seem to have their heads above everyone else? They have taken their position and let it go to their head. I have seen this so many times in a body of believers and before long they are no longer in that position. Most of the time they get mad and leave the church because they cannot take correction.

Then it was reported to the king that these three Hebrew boys would not bow down to the image. So the king orders these three to be brought before him. He gives them a chance to bow down before the golden image, but they refuse.

Daniel 3:15 – “But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands.

This is an example of someone in position, a high position, that gave a command and has defiance put in his face, so he gets furious. I’ve been around people like this. It is not a pretty sight, but yet they don’t see anything wrong with their attitude and neither did Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 3:19 – Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Therefore he spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it usually heated. 

Daniel 3:21, 22 – Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. (Verse 22) Therefore because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.

Did the king and the others that were watching not see that the men who took the three Hebrews up to throw them in the fire, burned up but the boys did not? Would that have not made a person stop and know that there was something supernatural happening?

Daniel 3:24 – Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O King.” (Verse 25) “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

When the enemy tries to hurt God’s children, the only thing that will be burned up is the “ropes” that bind us, whatever that may be. Jesus was in the fire with them, and He will be in any fire we go through.

Keep in mind: Nebuchadnezzar was not a Jew, but yet God kept trying to get through to him. After this ordeal with the fire, Nebuchadnezzar puts out a declaration that the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, is the true God, and from now on, everyone has to worship Him, however, this did not last.

God gives people not only a second chance, but over and over He gives chances to come to Him. No matter what a person has done in their past, God is still trying to reach them because He loves them. Another seduction of pride is not speaking humbly.

Not Speaking Humbly

We can train our-self to “speak humbly.” Nebuchadnezzar has another dream in Daniel, Chapter 4, and the dream is about him, and God is actually going to humble him. Then Daniel tells the king this dream is going to happen in 12 months. And the way God humbles the king is that he went crazy in the head and ate grass for seven years. I don’t think any of us want to push it that far, so we can humble ourselves.

Daniel 4:29 – At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. (Verse 30) The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for honor of my majesty?” (Verse 31) While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken; the kingdom has departed from you! (Verse 32) And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the fields. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” (Verse 33) That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.

Why is it so important to watch what we say? Because of Matthew 12:34 – “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

We all say stupid things at one time or another, but this Scripture uses the word “abundance” of the heart. We’ve taken this to mean, whatever is in your heart, it will come out of your mouth. This Scripture is talking about “What we say in abundance.” It is what is in “abundance” in our heart. If there is an abundance of prideful, arrogance statements coming out of our mouth, then that tells us there is an abundance of pride in our heart! And let me be clear: God will deal with that! God will and does humble the ones that exalt themselves.

Daniel 4:34 – And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. (As soon as He turns to God and praises Him, God heals him.) (Verse 35) All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” (Verse 36) At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. (Verse 37) Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to abase.

Now that’s recognizing the God of all. God restored the prideful Nebuchadnezzar and God will restore each one of us that might get a spirit of pride. We will have warnings just as this king was given warnings. Pay attention when you hear yourself boasting about something. That is treading on thin ice.