Daniel: Day 10

No Lost Causes

by

Today's Text: Daniel 4:1-37, Proverbs 16:18

I blame reality television.

And I don’t just mean just reality TV shows—I mean reality TV shows, and cable news, and YouTube, and Twitter, and Instagram and every other 21st century wonder that tricks me into believing I’m qualified to judge someone I’ve never even met. I’m never quite as irritable as when I’m watching people do things I cannot even begin to understand, much less justify or defend. And yet I can’t turn away! It’s the proverbial train wreck going on all around us—noisy and graphic and consuming and we just can’t stop looking.

Obviously technology isn’t really to blame here. I’m a grownup, and I make my own decisions. I decide what I will consume and how I will respond. But I’m a sinful grownup. And I know my saved-by-grace-alone self enough to know it could just as easily be me on the other end of that unfortunate YouTube video gone viral or that reality show that’s unbearable to watch.

Grace is the great leveler — we all need it, heaping amounts of it, all the time.

What am I really saying when I write off another person in my heart? Am I saying they’re beyond repair, that they’re not worth waiting for, praying for, hoping for? Am I saying the Gospel isn’t big enough for them, that God’s arms of compassion and grace aren’t long enough to reach them?

Were I Daniel, I would have thought all those things about Nebuchadnezzar. As a person who knew the God Nebuchadnezzar didn’t, such destructive choices would have been tough to watch.

I mean, look at this guy: when he wasn’t spending his time expanding his kingdom, he was admiring it, worshipping it, and ordering others to do the same. He was changing men’s names to what HE thought they ought to be, fitting what he saw as the square peg of their unimportant existence into the round hole of his own, selfish worldview. For crying out loud, he nearly had people killed for not being able to describe his own dreams back to him! Had a licensed psychologist been handy, I’m pretty sure ole Nebu would have been diagnosed with Grade A narcissism.

Enter the God of Israel. The God who sees, pursues, loves, forgives. With the one, true God on the scene, not even the narcissistic king was a lost cause.

It started with a dream. Nebuchadnezzar has another inexplicable dream, and he calls Daniel in to interpret it. So Daniel does, explaining that Nebuchadnezzar himself was the magnificent tree and that God was going to humble him in a dramatic and effective way.

What happens next is the stuff not even reality TV shows are made of — the king very literally goes crazy, becoming like the wild animals and beasts of the field. Nebuchadnezzar is humbled to the point of losing himself completely, but when his sanity is restored, his spirit is also restored.

But at the end of those days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity returned to me. Then I praised the Most High and honored and glorified Him who lives forever:

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and His kingdom is from generation to generation.
(Daniel 4:34)

This is an exclamation point moment! The king who had the whole world at his fingertips bows low before the God of heaven and proclaims, “All the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing” before the Most High King (Daniel 4:35). Counted as nothing! This, coming from a man who most definitely prized being counted as something.

In a remarkable example of God’s boundless goodness and grace, Nebuchadnezzar is transformed from destructive pride and self-exaltation to restorative humility. And our response should be? Praise be to the King of Heaven! “All His works are true and His ways are just. He is able to humble those who walk in pride” (Daniel 4:37).

Friend, you and I need God’s grace and Christ’s sacrifice just as much as anyone else on this vast, sinner-filled earth. When we are caught up in the confusion and noise around us, unable to look away from those our hearts are prone to judge, may we remember the beautifully disarming image of pompous king Nebuchadnezzar returning from the field to praise the God of heaven. And may we pray:

Father, capture the hearts of those lost in kingdoms of their own making — ourselves included — and seize our affections for you and you alone, the only true King. Amen.

SRT-Daniel_instagram10

  • Today I decided I no longer wanted to deal with some family members, just tired of the lies, the hurts, the drama. I was done, done, done!
    “What am I really saying when I write off another person in my heart? Am I saying they’re beyond repair, that they’re not worth waiting for, praying for, hoping for? Am I saying the Gospel isn’t big enough for them, that God’s arms of compassion and grace aren’t long enough to reach them?” Just what I needed to hear. I’m not giving up on them! Thank you, clearly I needed to read this today!!

  • So much grace in the hard humbling of a prideful king, “he was transformed from destructive pride to restorative humility”.. it was hard, but it was grace. Father, give us grace- even hard grace- any grace that helps us see You for all that you are.

  • Daughter of God

    I think this is an amazing reminder, especially in schools with all the rumors and groups of “popular” and “non popular” kids. Everyone is on social media 24/7, but I think it would make a big difference if we stopes judging people because of it.

  • This is an awesome reminder that God is in control and not people no matter how powerful they seem.

  • michelle of LA CA

    Man I need to work on the judging ………… thank you for this reading .
    It hit my spirit .

  • Amidst trying and difficult seasons- He is there- perfecting our faith- and giving us faith to trust Him- He is the ultimate provider of grace, mercy, and love- He desires good things for His children- and is always protecting us- and sparing us- even on the darkest of days! Our God is faithful even when we are not! His love for us truly a beautiful gift!

  • **PRAYERS PLEASE**
    I have just reunited with my husband after being separated for what seems like forever, it has only been a few days and I'm remembering very quickly why I threw in the towel in the first place, he is worse than before, mocks my faith in God and is angry anytime he hasn't had a drink! I am angry and hurt and confused, I have prayed my brains out, fasted, lived my life and left it to God but he has come back colder and lost!

    Todays devotional reminds me that we have a great BIG God who is able to humble us when we need it, it reminds me that God is the God who saves, who gives grace and who has a plan for each of us! I had a dream yesterday that I cannot get out of my head, the fact that todays reading was about interpreting a dream blows my mind! God is with me every step of the way and all things are possible in Jesus name! Please pray for me sisters, for my home and my marriage, the enemy is hard at work in my husband but we have an all mighty all powerful God and I rebuke the enemy and plead the blood of Jesus over my family! Amen.

    • Sarah_Olsen

      Praying!!

    • Nancy

      Praying for you and your situation – for the Holy Spirit to keep your heart and mind strong and to give you a peace that only comes from the Lord.

    • Angela

      Praying for you!!

    • Addie

      Praying with you! <3

    • -M-

      Thank you so much ladies! Your prayers mean so much to me! <3

    • Tamisha

      I prayed

    • -M-

      Thank you ladies! Can I praise report? I can already see the Lord softening my husbands heart! We still have a lot to work out & I know we have a rough road ahead but our prayers are being heard and God is already confirming that this is where he wants me to be, still praying for strength and wisdom in this season of our life.. One day at a time and today is a good day, all glory be to God! So grateful for each of you who prayed over my marriage along with me, you are so loved! :)
      – M -

      • Cortina

        Just prayed for you! My husband, a non-believer who loved to use the Biblical term “unclean” to describe me, and I were separated 2+ years and God restored out marriage. Hang in there and trust God above all else and everyone else! Yet, surround yourself with people who support your marriage and will cheer you on, even when in the world’s eyes you would be justified in getting a divorce. God is bigger than the world and your marital trials! Hang in there!

        • -M-

          Thank you so much for sharing your testimony with me Cortina! It gives me hope and renews my faith! He is the God who heals and restores & I know that what He has done for you He will do for me and my family, yes He sure is bigger! Thank you for your encouragement and prayers! God continue to bless you and your marriage :)
          – M

    • Ash

      Praying for you!

  • What ran through my head today was that "even when we are unfaithful, He is faithful" (2Timothy2:13). And "He will continue the good work He has started in us until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phillipians1:6).
    May my heart be open to His Spirit this day, that He would continue to mold me into the servant He would have me be. That I would be faithful and seek His will for my life. In Jesus name, amen.

  • KLeighWilson

    In our society, judging others has become a sport. We can choose to play the game together or on our own. It is very easy and comes with little to no practice or skill. But what does take hard work, effort, and paying close attention to the holy spirit, is to not participate.

    This requires a daily self-humiliation, setting our gaze upon a God who sees the motives of our hearts and chooses to shower us with love and grace. As we experience God's infinite love toward us, we are more able to see others through His lens. We cannot by any means reach perfection, but we can grow in humility knowing that "pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

    Thankful for this challenge today.

  • I have been feeling so uncertain lately. We live in an area being ravaged by wildfires and when I watch the news it seems as though the world around us is spinning out of control. I see people making very bad choices and condemning those of us who believe. It’s hard to not judge them or just plain give up on humanity all together. This message was so timely for me. It stirred that faith deep down in my heart and made my soul sing. Thank you!

  • The past few mornings I have been struggling with a girl who I disciple. She is simply avoiding me and wont hear the truth, it breaks my heart. I have been begging the Lord for clarity on if i need to cut her off, or keep pursuing. My pride wants to never admit I am hurt by others, but I am. I am so hurt by her. It makes me want to give up and act like its her loss. HOW PRIDEFUL OF ME?!

    I am so thankful for these daily devotions that bring me right back to truth. I am so thankful for the way the Lord knows exactly what we need and how He tunes our heart to glorify Him, to turn us back to Him. I am encouraged, and hopeful!

  • Buckets and buckets of GRACE! God is so good.

  • Sarah_Olsen

    This is such a great message and you ladies always have insight that really speaks to my spirit.
    God is so awesome! Isn’t it such an uplifting notion, that our Father, loves us so much He will humble us to bring us to Him. When we are at our most prideful moments, He will discipline us and show us that His grace is all we need :). He prepares us for something more than just life, He prepares us for hearing His voice. We will be so in tune to Him, that we can shut out the turmoil of judgement and offer up Prayer and kindness in return. Thank you sisters for sharing so much. And thank you God for fixing me when I’m broken, even if it feels like you are breaking me to do it. You always have my best interest in mind. I love you, Jesus!

  • I am lost in a kingdom of my own making. And it’s a lonely, empty kingdom. All year, I have been trying to shake it. To walk away. But to no avail. It holds me stuck often feeling forgotten by God. Yet in a corner of my heart, the quietest of voices wonders if God might be chipping away. Slowly, tenderly, patiently working on my weary, tattered heart. And that gives me hope.
    Praying along with SRT – that God would fully capture my heart and seize my affections for Him and Him alone. I do not want to be in my kingdom any longer. But I know that only God can deliver me, redeem me, and restore my life to Him. But as much as I want this refining work to be done soon, I know His timing is perfect. He wants me to remember this. So, in this what-feels-never-ending season, I will continue to seek Him first and to root my days in hope.
    Forgive me, Lord, for building my own sandcastle kingdom. I desire your everlasting Kingdom. Please quiet the noise and reveal to me Your way, Your Kingdom.

    • Rochelle

      Praying right there with you. For you, but also for myself. It’s a daily struggle :)

    • Those seasons are hard, Beverly. But keep being faithful.

      I once heard a sermon on this passage that noted how often we over look the 7 years – 7 YEARS – Nebuchadnezzar was in this state. It's a mere sentence in the Bible, but we those were seven long years. I think that is critical to remember when the struggle is real. Change doesn't always happen over night but God was working and in the end Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom and honor were all restored to him.

      God is faithful. Always faithful. <3

      • Beverly

        Thank you for your encouragement, Katie! In light of your words, I also came across 1 Thessalonians 5:24, "He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it." He is faithful. Always faithful. Grateful for your words.

    • michelle of LA CA

      I loved reading your message . You gave me some hope and I have often felt the same as yourself . It has been a hard year and I've been a christian all my life and your message hit home . Your message touch my heart . Thank you for sharing .
      You're so right , " I will continue to seek Him " . In the madness of day to day there is a glimpse of Hope and we have to believe that ………
      You're in my prayers Beverly .
      Michelle of Los Angeles

      • Beverly

        Thank you, Michelle. You will be in my prayers, too!
        On a side note, not sure if you are looking for a faith community… but I have often found myself listening to messages by Erwin or Hank from Mosaic LA. I also had a friend who attended there when their family lived in LA. I'd recommend it. :)

  • I believe that part of the reason we all get sucked into reality tv and all is that we went to see ourselves as better, We know we sin but maybe others sins are bigger(false) Sin is sin, it separates us from God. In Oswald Chambers, I see…"We see where other people are failing, and then we take our discernment and turn it into comments of ridicule and criticism, instead of turning it into intercession on their behalf." Ah ha moment,
    Intercession, turn it back to God for his work not our attitude that would criticize, or compare. Thank you Jesus that you give mercy when I forget to look up.
    And Father , be with Jasmine and the baby that it may bring you GLORY.

  • I have this note/paraphrase in my Bible (dated from 2002) regarding Daniel 4:25-26: "A picture of God's sovereignty: Nebuchadnezzar, until you embrace the truth the you aren't sovereign, but God is…that you don't rule your life, but God does, you will never break from that insane experience." Chuck Swindoll

  • "What am I really saying when I write off another person in my heart? Am I saying they’re beyond repair, that they’re not worth waiting for, praying for, hoping for? Am I saying the Gospel isn’t big enough for them, that God’s arms of compassion and grace aren’t long enough to reach them?"
    This hit home, because the answer is usually yes to all of these. We cannot answer like this! His arms are able to reach the unreachable in our eyes and we are meant to share with them the news, pray for them, and wait on the Lord to do what we cannot.

    • Michelle

      Thank you!

    • Michelle of LA CA

      Yep this hit home with me as well . It was a tough mirror to hold up and see myself .
      Something to work on . Thank you for your reading

  • A much needed read for me today. I have a friend that I need to extend more grace to…even when she continues to make poor choices. I become so impatient and I want to tell her…"if only you would do this and not do that.." It's hard to sit by and watch her misery when I can clearly see it's the choices, situations and people she chooses to hang out with, although she knows God, her actions are clearly different, but yet she complains that her life is a big mess.
    Lord, help me be like Joseph. Help me show grace, and patience and speak words of love when the moments call for it.
    Please guide my friend to you. amen.

    • Beverly

      I am so sorry, I went to hit like, and with my phone, I hit the unlike by mistake. I am unable to 'undo my mistake'. But I wanted you to kn
      Now that I have a co worker that I am praying the same thing for today

  • As someone reading the bible for the first time, I thought the book of Daniel was a bit difficult to understand at first, but I am so glad the Holy Spirit pushed me to keep going! I read today’s passage with a smile on my face. I could FEEL the transformation of King Nebuchadnezzar, I believe, because God has transformed ME over the last year (without the gnarly hair and nails). What a wonderful gift to step outside the harmful ego and focus upward instead of inward. Have a beautiful day, ladies.

  • MNmomma (heather)

    ***PRAYER REQUEST***

    Ladies, would you please join me in lifting up my friend Jasmine in your prayers? She has complete placenta previa and has hemorrhaged twice now. She is just about 33 weeks along, and has been told she will have an emergency c-section should she hemorrhage again. She is currently in the hospital – about an hour and a half away from her hubby (but thankfully closer to her family). We are praying for a miracle – that her placenta move out of the way, that she is able to safely deliver at term….that baby is healthy…

    Thank you sisters!!!

  • When I read Daniel, I notice the difference in the way Nebuchadnezzar speaks about God. In Chapter 2, after Daniel interprets his first dream, Neb says,

    “Truly, your God is the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret.””
    ‭‭Daniel‬ ‭2:47‬ ‭NLT‬‬

    And in chapter three after the rescue from the blazing fire, he says,

    “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”
    ‭‭Daniel‬ ‭3:28‬ ‭NLT‬‬

    YOUR God. THEIR own God. Even though the events were dramatic, it wasn't personal to him– until God humbled him. Finally in this chapter of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar ends with

    “I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me.

    “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.””
    ‭‭Daniel‬ ‭4:2, 37‬ ‭NLT‬‬

    Isn't that true for each of us? We can hear of the things God has done and see the miracles He's performed, but until it becomes personal and we let Him in, the relationship isn't there! God is awesome and never changing. Each of us has to come to know him as OUR own God, not just the God that does great things for other people.

  • Caroline @ In due time

    So grateful He is the God of mercies and miracles!

    http://Www.in-due-time.com

  • Amen! Me included.

  • Today hits hard. My husband is not a believer and I’ve been feeling the judgment creep in– I am growing in Christ, but where is my husband? It can be tough to pray so long for someone, and it gets discouraging when I feel as though there’s no progress- I want to write him off as too hardened sometimes. But God loves him more than I ever could and is pursuing him. We both need His grace! ‘Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord’. Ps 27:14.

    • Elise

      Praying for thou today Addi! Stay strong and don’t grow weary in doing good sweet sister! Praying for peace and encouragement for you’re heart today!

    • Bcoffeelover

      Addie I thank you for your honesty! Praying for what God is doing and will do and praying if there is anything you are able to do He will show you and give you the courage to do it. In Jesus Name Amen

    • scootermae

      Addie, do you have the book, The Power Of A Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. A great book and I have found great comfort in praying for my husband and wonderful verses to claim over his life and different areas of his life.

    • Shay

      This is my first time to this site and I’m so happy I found it. I am also dealing with a close friend who is trapped by many mistakes in her life and a husband who is questioning his faith. I find myself judging and distancing myself from my friend and feeling let down by both. God is pursing them both with his love and I pray they will open their hearts and let Him in. I pray I can open my heart as well to seek out his word to lead others.

  • This post hit me pretty hard this morning. I find myself often falling into that trap of judging those I don't know, and even those I do. It's something I've been working on because it's so draining. I enter the viscous cycle of self-doubt and let insecurity creep in and feel as if by judging, I am able to say my sins aren't as bad. But God… Today I am reminded to extend grace. I pray I would remember I need God's grace just as much as anyone else. I pray my eyes would be on Him and Him alone.

  • rmwiggy94

    for the last several weeks we've been doing a series on the Gospel at my church. one thing that my pastor touches on over and over is that the Gospel is for everyone. no one is too far gone. Jesus didn't come for those who were already perfect, those who had their lives all together, because frankly, no such person exists. He came for sinners (matthew 9:12), of whom i am chief. there's no one who needs His grace any more or less than me.
    also, i love nebuchadnezzar's proclamations at the beginning and end of chapter 4. at both times he had his powerful influence over the whole world, and look what he's proclaiming. God's greatness! God is praised, and the whole world hears it.
    i'm loving this study of daniel. i've never really understood the book too well before, but my eyes are being opened to so much!

  • Kristine

    Oh to see people through God’s eyes, not my own. I have some challenging students in my class this year, and sometimes it is so hard to love them the way I know they need. But God sent His Son for “whosoever”, for anyone, for everyone, for me… Help me remember that You love us all, mighty King or lowly pauper, rich or poor, “gifted” or “challenged”, You love us all the same, without labels. Help me love unreservedly, without labels.

    • scootermae

      So thankful that God has you in the classroom, pouring your lives into others and seeing not only their need, but also maybe those strengths that no one else sees. You never know how God will use you in the lives of others, particularly those that are hard to love…..

  • Candacejo

    I think it is amazing how God showed such mercy to King Nebuchadnezzar. He gave him 12 months from the interpretation of the dream to change, (or at least that is my take). At the end of the 12 months he was filled with even more pride as he looks out over his kingdom and begins his "My, my and mine" speech.

    Then when he is nothing more than an animal in the field eating grass and bugs, as low as you can possibly go, he surely wonders if he will ever get out of such a mess. And then he lifts up his eyes to the heavens….and God restores. And Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges the One who is in control of it all and gives HIM praise.

    When we think someone (or ourselves) is surely at the bottom of life's barrel, that there is no hope for their sin-sick condition, remember this king!! God loved Nebuchadnezzar!! He taught him a lesson to be sure but it was all about mercy. And this story is even all about Jesus Christ. He reaches to the lowest of the low, (that's me!) and lifts us out of our misery, restoring us to our rightful place in His presence. Cleans us up, inside and out and gives us back our right mind. Full of His spirit and made new, we want to tell others, just as King Nebuchadnezzar did.

    " At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise 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." Daniel 4:36-37.

    I sure don't want to be humbled in the way that this king was, I don't want to be full of pride, full of myself and puffed up that He has to bring me low. Praying today we will learn from Nebuchadnezzar to give glory to God in all things for He alone is worthy! ♥

  • Kelly_Smith

    I, too, identify with the struggle to see others with grace instead of judgement. It is tempting to look around at the sins of others and feel a false sense of holiness. My sins couldn't possibly be as bad as their sins. This is the same trap Nebuchadnezzar fell into as he walked on the roof of his palace. "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?" I say the same thing in my warped, sideways holiness. "Is not this my great life, which I have created by my good works and right living for my own honor?" God, in His grace, does not cut me down or send me into the wilderness to eat grass. He uses passages like Daniel 4 to remind me that I am in need of grace just as Nebuchadnezzar and my Neighbor are in need of grace. "Those who walk in pride he is able to humble."

    (I wrote about this earlier this week. Looking Sideways for Holiness –&gt; http://mrsdisciple.com/looking-sideways-for-holin… )

    • Candacejo

      Powerful blog post Kelly! Praying I realize but for the grace of God go I…thank you for sharing. ♥

    • scootermae

      God has really been showing me how I can't comprehend His grace and mercy until I come to see my sin for what it is. Keeping me from God, regardless of how 'big or little'. I loved what you wrote 'I cheapen grace, I disregard mercy'. It seems like I am forever playing the horizontal comparison…how do I look compared to the next, how do my kids behave compared to hers, how good does my life look….I can always find someone I am better than, but compared to Christ, we are nothing. Help me to continue to fully grasp mercy as I fully come to grasp my wickedness.

  • carlybenson

    I love that God doesn't give up on Nebuchadnezzar. On one level it's hard to believe Nebuchadnezzar still thinks he's in charge after the events of the previous 2 chapters and the ways he's seen God's power. But I know I am the same in many ways and need to be repeatedly reminded that God is in control and I am not. I think God has been teaching me that through various situations lately, and it can be painful to have to give up control but it is also giving me greater peace as I realise that God really is in charge and I can trust him.

    • Dianem

      I love that God doesn't give up on___________. (fill in the blank)
      You are so right and thank you for bringing this thought to my attention this morning.
      May God bless you all this great day with riches from His loving arms.

    • Rochelle

      This was impressed upon me, as well. I love that God loved the king enough to humble him. He didn’t write him off, he instead brought him through something so hard it saved him. And He does this for us. What a loving, just Father.

  • Looking upwards ….for sure, and letting the praises of and in my heart, be released outwardly towards my God….

    Good morning my dears.. Praying you well this fine Wednesday…xxxx

  • Alexis C.

    For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and His kingdom is from generation to generation. (Daniel 4:34). We are blessed by a consistently loving and forgiving Father.

  • Pillie Nkasara

    Oh Lord yours is the greatness!!!

  • When I look down at my feet, or out across my surroundings, things are pretty crazy-making as far as the eye can see. But I love reading what finally restored Nebuchadnezzar:
    "I looked up to Heaven, and my sanity returned to me."
    That's it. Right there. Looking to God and focusing on what He is doing is the only way to stay sane amid all the craziness.

Further Reading...