King Nebuchadnezzar has another dream, but this one turns out to be more of a nightmare. None of the other wise men were able to make known to the king the meaning of the dream, but he knows he can count on Daniel for the interpretation because Daniel has proven himself to be someone with God’s hand upon his life, someone in whom is the Holy Spirit, who receives revelation, illumination, and interpretation from God (Daniel 4:8-9).
Now, I could be wrong on this, but it IS possible that the other “wise-men” knew what the dream meant, but lacked the boldness to share it…because the dream is rather straight-forward. Part of sharing God’s message is the willingness to speak both good and bad news (Joseph also experienced this – Genesis 40). God’s messengers need courage.
Daniel 4:22 (NKJV) “It is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth.”
King Nebuchadnezzar had risen to the top of the world, but he would lose his sanity, become like a beast, living and sleeping outdoors, eating grass, until he realized that the, “…Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” All kings need to acknowledge the King of kings, all people in any position need to realize that – God put you there, and hence, honor Him.
Daniel gave the king good counsel, the dream was a warning:
Daniel 4:27 (NKJV) “Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about God, is HE IS Merciful. Even if He declares His coming judgment, there is hope, that if we turn from our sins, He will relent from the just punishment we deserve (Jonah discovered this).
King Nebuchadnezzar did good for 1 year…but then he forgot. And one day as he’s looking out at his kingdom and all its glory, he took the credit for it…that he was the one who built it, by his power, and for his honor:
Daniel 4:30 (NKJV) “The king spoke, saying, ‘Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?’”
While the words were still in his mouth…God judged him. The dream became a reality. The king lost his mind, his throne, his place in his home; like a vagabond, without food, long unkept hair, untrimmed nails…the “best” became a beast. We all need to know, this is us without God.
It took some time, but eventually the king’s eyes were opened. Nebuchadnezzar learned a few things.
Daniel 4:34–35 (NKJV) “And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted 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. 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?”
Do I know that God rules in the kingdom of men? Do I know that God rules in my own life? Help me Lord.
Nebuchadnezzar also learned that God is able to put down those who walk in pride (Daniel 4:37).
2 Peter 1:1-21
Peter now gives us this second epistle in which he will warn the church of false teachers, but before he gets there, he spends some time building up the brethren a bit. They say that a great defense is a great offense, and the way that we can keep from going backwards is by growing forward.
The big burly fisherman has definitely softened over the years. I thought it was interesting how he uses the word “precious” eight times in his two letters, mentioning:
the precious faith of believers (1 Peter 1:7; 2 Peter 1:1),
the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:19),
the precious stones we are (1 Peter 2:4),
our precious Jesus (1 Peter 2:6-7),
the precious inner beauty of a wife (1 Peter 3:4), and
the precious promises we possess (2 Peter 1:4).
Peter came to a precious place. How awesome is the transforming power of the Holy Spirit!
When we were saved and thereby escaped the corruption in the world, we were given everything we need pertaining to life and godliness. With this gift of salvation we must give all diligence to add to our faith. 1 Peter 1:5-8 is often referred to as the “ladder of virtues, it’s good for me to check my heart for each virtue, one by one, step by step.
If these characteristics are not present in my life then Peter tells me that I’ve lost sight of the fact that as a Christian, I’ve been forgiven of so much. I’ve been saved from the power and penalty of my sins, which is in all reality, hell, now and forever. O that I would have a greater heart of gratitude for the grace I’ve been given!
If these characteristics are present, the doors of heaven swing open wide, which most likely is a reference to the joy and abounding assurance of such a life – richly rewarded now and in the future to come (we might want to review that ladder of virtues).
Faith + Virtue + Knowledge + Self-Control + Perseverance + Godliness + Brotherly Kindness + Brotherly Love = Abundant Entrance
Peter is completely convinced by Christ, so he determines not to be negligent to remind the people of this, over, and over, and over again. This is a large part of my calling as well. The truth I am called to teach is not necessarily new, but it’s true – mere reminders to the majority of the people of God who know these things already.
Peter brings up the “tent” – isn’t it fascinating the way our bodies house the inner man, and one day we will take down this tent, and trade it in for a mansion?
Peter was not only determined to remind the people while he lived, he also wanted to make sure the people always had reminders after his decease. This may have been why he was writing things down…and he therefore continues to minister today. Peter had no doubt whatsoever about the truth of the Gospel or the majesty of Christ, after all, he was an eyewitness! He heard the messages and saw the miracles, he witnessed the Lord transfigured and resurrected! Not only that, He heard the Father’s voice about His Son – AND – he had the Spirit’s voice in the Scriptures. The greatest proof for the validity of Christianity is not our experience, but rather the exposition of the Scripture. The Bible is not of private interpretation, Peter says, it’s not a book written by men, humanly, no, these authors were Divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is why we look to the Holy Spirit for illumination, for help in understanding the meaning…after all, He wrote it!
More awesome words about the Word!
Psalm 119:97 (NKJV) “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.”
Do I LOVE God’s Word? Do I meditate on it all day? I should!
We have many enemies in life – the world, the flesh, the devil and his demons. They often influence people who oppose us and oppose God’s work through us (think of giants like Goliath, or fellows like the Pharisees). The only way we can be wiser and outsmart our enemies is through the Bible, the Word of God.
As we read, study, memorize, hear it taught, and meditate on God’s Word personally, the Holy Spirit can make us wiser than our human teachers. Not that it’s a competition in any way, but that’s the reality of the reward of personally studying God’s Word in sincerity.
Part of the way we don’t stray from God, is by not straying from His Word. It should be sweeter than our favorite desert and make us hate the things God hates.
God’s Word guides us like a light – for the days are dark:
Psalm 119:105 (NKJV) “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
We find the word “afflicted” frequently in this chapter. And while affliction can refer to any type of difficulty or discipline, it may also refer to the conviction we experience as we truly “hear” God’s Word. It afflicts us and has the power to revive us (both are miracles).
We ask God to teach us His Word; that we’d never stray away – that we’d stay safe in His hands, undaunted by the wicked plans of the enemy – that we’d rejoice over God’s Word in our hearts and that we’d echo the sentiment of the Psalmist:
Psalm 119:112 (NKJV) “I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end.”
Proverbs 29:17 (NKJV) “A man burdened with bloodshed will flee into a pit; let no one help him.”
“A murderer’s guilty conscience hounds him, tormenting him and causing him to try to escape punishment. His only escape is death. One who tries to console or rescue him is out of line; to aid a criminal is wrong.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary
Edgar Allan Poe, wrote a short story all about this, entitled, “The Tell Tale Heart.”
“Let no one help him,” means no one should be an accomplice to bloodshed in any way, before, during, or after.
David Guzik, “Often it is best to let people suffer the consequences of their sins.”
Proverbs 29:18 (NKJV) “Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved, but he who is perverse in his ways will suddenly fall.”
We are to walk “blameless,” which means that the accusations of the enemy don’t stick. Not that we can ever be perfect, but we can be proper (Romans 13:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:10).
The salvation he speaks of, is not necessarily in reference to salvation from damnation, it speaks more along the Ines of being rescued from the calamities and troubles of life.
“A blameless life (walk) brings safety (cf. 1:33; 3:23; 18:10; 28:26), but a person whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall. Similar statements are given in Proverbs 10:9; 28:10.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary