Sunday 24th January 2021

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Our confidence is in the Lord, the source of our salvation.

Rest is found in Him alone, the Author of creation.

We will not fear the evil day because we have a refuge;

in every circumstance we say, our hope is built on Jesus.

He is our fortress, we will never be shaken. We will put our trust in God.

Noel and Tricia Richards @ 1999 Kingsway's Thank You Music.

In chapter 4 of the Old Testament book of Daniel we read the king’s own account of how he had another dream, (if you didn’t read the whole chapter on Wednesday then do so now) and Daniel, being referred to by his Babylonian name of Belteshazzar is asked to explain the meaning of the dream. Read what the king says to him Daniel 4: 9-16

The voice then goes on to give a reason for these events in verse 17:

‘so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign.’

Daniel explains that the tree represents King Nebuchadnezzar, and the cutting down of the tree means that the King will be driven away from people and live with the animals. The command to leave the tree’s stump and roots in the ground, means that there is the opportunity for the King to be restored to his former position, but Daniel adds that this will only happen (v.26-27) when the king acknowledge that the God of Heaven rules.

The king doesn’t take Daniel’s advice, but then a year later the dream becomes reality. Historians are in general agreement that Nebuchadnezzar disappeared for a period of time, v.32 talks about seven periods of time - months, seasons or years? we don’t know, but the bible does go on to tell us what eventually happens.

Read Daniel 4: 34-35

Those same historians note that when the king reappears, he was a changed man. In scripture we see that he went from talking about his own mighty power (v.30) to in v.37 acknowledging the mighty power of God.

So, here we have a fascinating event in the life of a king, but how can it help us this week? Well, if we start to think about the king’s outlook on life “I can do it - I believe in myself!” He has complete confidence that he is in charge of his own life and if there is a God, he doesn’t need him.

King nebuchadnezzar thinks in a similar way to people we could find ourselves talking to tomorrow. He was willing to acknowledge that Daniel’s God had helped Daniel, but didn’t see the need for himself to ask God to help him. Doesn’t that sound just like people we know who will accept that our faith in God is good for us but see no need for God in their lives?

So, as we see that King Nebuchadnezzar’s attitude to life and God are attitudes we see all around us, perhaps we can also see that they need ‘a Daniel’, someone who will show them God’s love and care, and pray for them, help them to see that God is relevant to their lives – that they don’t need to try and cope on their own.

Daniel doesn’t give up on the King, he still takes every opportunity to tell the king about God and to pray for the king. Have we got friends who we have stopped praying for? Perhaps because we have seen no change in their attitude or we have seen a change – but then it fizzled out – just like king Nebuchadnezzar’s acknowledgements of God’s power.

So, from these events which happened 2,500 years ago, I’m hoping we can see that no person’s circumstances takes them beyond the reach of the power of the living God and as we read our covenant verse and remember that he is the living God and endures for ever… we should be inspired to never stop praying for those who haven’t yet put their trust in the Lord and as we pray expect to see God challenge lives, and change their lives

The starting place for us to become consistent and persistent in praying for our friends, is for us to be clear in our own minds as to who God is and so along with our Covenant verse (Daniel 6: 26b-27a) use these lyrics to lead you into prayer, first for yourself and then for others who don’t acknowledge ‘that the Most High is sovereign’ (Daniel 4:17)

Lord, I come to you, let my heart be changed, renewed,

flowing from the grace that I found in you.

And, Lord, I've come to know the weaknesses I see in me

will be stripped away by the power of your love.

Hold me close, let your love surround me,

bring me near, draw me to your side;

and as I wait, I'll rise up like an eagle, and I will soar with you;

Your spirit leads me on in the power of your love

Lord unveil my eyes, let me see you face to face,

the knowledge of your love as you live in me.

Lord, renew my mind as your will unfolds in my life,

in living every day in the power of your love.

Geoff Bullock © 1992 Word Music Inc.

Page last updated: 27th January 2021 6:00 AM