Title: GOD AND MAN AS THEY REALLY ARE
Text: Daniel 4:34-35
Scripture Reading: Daniel 4:1-57
Subject: The Greatness of God and Insignificance of Man
Date: Sunday Morning – October 3, 1993
Nebuchadnezzar was a great and mighty king in Babylon. He ruled with an ironclad fist and a rod of steel. No one dared defy him. This mighty king was a very proud man. He had accomplished more than most men dream about; and he was proud of it. He was a boastful, blasphemous idolater. But Nebuchadnezzar was an object of mercy to whom the Lord God was determined to make himself known.
God had purposed from eternity to display in Nebuchadnezzar his greatness, his glory, and his grace. He was determined to make the proud Babylonian King to know and acknowledge that “the most High rules things in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.”
NOTE: Clearly, this is the theme and emphasis of this chapter – (vv. 17, 25,26, 32). The chapter was written to teach us both the greatness of God and the insignificance of man.
The title of my message is God and Man as They Really Are. You know the story of Nebuchadnezzar. God set out to bring this proud man down, to humble him, to break him, and to make himself known to him; and he did it.
· God took away his mind. Nebuchadnezzar became a raving lunatic!
· He was put out of his kingdom and driven away from society.
· For seven years he grazed like a wild beast, living in the fields.
Then, after seven years of lunacy, God gave Nebuchadnezzar’s mind back to him, restored him to his kingdom, and Nebuchadnezzar was a changed man. God had taught him what all men, sooner or later, must learn. Read the confession Nebuchadnezzar made in verses 34 and 35.
Proposition: Our text is a declaration of the glorious majesty and greatness of our God and of the utter insignificance of man.
I hope that by now we have all learned to rejoice in the sovereign majesty of the Lord our God.
“Keep silence all created things,
And wait Your Maker’s nod;
My soul stands trembling while she (speaks)
The honors of her God.
Life, death, and hell, and worlds unknown,
Hang on His firm decree;
He sits on no precarious throne,
Nor borrows leave to be.
Chained to His throne a volume lies,
With all the fates of men,
With every angels form and size
Drawn by the eternal pen.
His providence unfolds the book
And makes His counsels shine;
Each opening leaf and every stroke
Fulfil some bright design.
Here He exalts neglected worms,
To scepters and crown;
(And then,) the following page He turns,
And treads the monarch down.
Not Gabriel asks the reason why,
Nor God the reason gives,
Nor dares the favorite angel pry
Between the folded leaves.
My God, I would not long to see
My fate with curious eyes,
What gloomy lines are writ for me,
Or what bright scenes may rise.
In Thy fair book of life and grace
May I but find my name
Recorded by electing grace
Beneath my Lord the Lamb!" – Isaac Watts
1. The Doctrine of Our Text.
2. The Blessedness of this Doctrine.
3. The Affect of this Doctrine Upon Believing Sinners.
I. First, I want to show you The Doctrine of Our Text.
I will spend the bulk of my time here, because it is far more important that you understand what God says than that you what I may say about what God says. So I want us to look at this divinely inspired text of Holy Scripture as it stands in the Book of God.
In an attempt to refute the things taught in these verses, some have suggested that they are not inspired, that they are only the writings of a heathen king. But their arguments are of no value. 3 Reasons –
· Nebuchadnezzar is here telling us what he had experienced. God himself was his Teacher. He knew by personal experience the things he here declares.
· The Holy Spirit has been pleased to include these words in the volume of Inspiration.
· All that Nebuchadnezzar here teaches is repeatedly confirmed throughout the Scriptures.
In these two verses Nebuchadnezzar the king speaks as a prophet of God. Let those who are wise hear the voice of the learned. Here are five things that all men and women must, sooner or later, learn and acknowledge. These are not questionable, or debatable issues. They are divinely revealed facts that must be acknowledged. You will acknowledge the, either in the experience of God’s saving grace in Christ, or in the experience of His endless wrath in hell. May God graciously teach them to you now.
A. The Lord Jehovah is the Eternal, Self-Existent God. Nebuchadnezzar was a religious man before. But now he had discovered Who God is. He said, “Mine understanding returned to me, and I blessed the most High, and praised and honored him that liveth for ever and ever.”
Our God sits upon the throne of heaven and says, “I live forever!” He hath life in himself.” He is the great “I Am.” Only our God can declare, “I am God, and beside me there is none else.” He declares, “I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live forever!”
The Lord Jehovah Alone is eternal. He is the only underived, self-existent, self-sustained Being. The God we worship is the only Being in the universe who necessarily and from his own nature exists. God alone must be! All his creatures depend upon his will for everything. He depends upon nothing! He only “hath immortality!” (I Tim. 6:16; 1:12). Essentially, that means two things.
1. God alone is truly Independent.
We are dependent upon many things for our existence: food, heat, light, water, air, shelter, clothing. And all of that God gives us. All life depends upon him! But he needs nothing from any of his creatures. God is! Nothing of his Being is derived from something else, but all that exist is derived from him. He was as glorious before he made the worlds as he is now. He was as great, as blessed, as happy as satisfied before he spoke this vast universe into existence as he is today Nothing in God’s great Being depends upon anything outside of himself!
2. The Lord our God alone is Immutable.
All our lives are full of changes; but God never undergoes change of any kind. “The creature is made subject unto vanity.” But the Creator is without variableness nor shadow of turning. He says, “I am the Lord; I change not.” (Mal. 3:6 – Ps. 102:25-27; Heb. 1:10-12; 13:8). Our God does not change and cannot change…
· In His Being!
· In His Purposes!
· In His Love!
· In His Grace!
Perfection demands immutability. It will not allow change. Go back into eternity past, as far back as your mind will carry you. There sits Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit upon His throne in the fullness of his triune glory. Now run into the fartherest distance of eternity future. Still the eternal, triune God sits upon his throne, exactly as he always has been, in all the fullness of his glory, unchanged and unchangeable. Satan and the legions of hell attack his throne. But God is unaffected. Mankind, like a mighty army is risen up in enmity against him. But God is unchanged. There he sits in the calm serenity of absolute sovereignty, in his immutable glory!
B. Secondly, Our Great God is the God “Whose Dominion Is An Everlasting Dominion.”
“His kingdom is from generation to generation.” Not only is he the eternal God, he is also the reigning Monarch of the universe. He is God upon the throne of indisputable and uncontestable sovereignty. He reigns over all by right, because he is God (Matt. 20:15).
“The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all” (Ps. 103:19). “The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord setteth King forever (Ps. 28:10).
God reigns everywhere, at all times, over all things, absolutely. Satan may lead one third of the heavenly hosts in rebellion against him; but Jehovah reigns! Adam may rebel against his dominion; but Jehovah reigns! Pharaoh may torment and afflict his people; but still Jehovah reigns! Judas may betray his Son, wicked men may crucify him, doing exactly what they will to do; yet Jehovah reigns and does exactly as he will, even by the hands of wicked men! He has never vacated his throne for a second and never shall! Amid all the calamities and tragedies of life, amid all the sins of men and demons, amid all the corruptions and upheavals of society, our God reigns!
1. In Creation!
2. In Providence!
3. In Grace!
C. Thirdly, Nebuchadnezzar learned, and so must we, that Man Is Nothing!
“And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing!” (See Isaiah 40:15, 17).
1. We are nothing in ourselves and can make nothing of ourselves, but what he allows.
2. We are nothing in comparison with God, less than nothing, just vanity!
“Great God, how infinite thou art!
What worthless worms are we!”
3. Any man who is taught of God is made to know his own nothingness.
Illustration: Isaiah “Woe is me!”
Mephibosheth – “Such a dead dog as I am!”
David – “Who am I, O Lord God?”
Job – “I abhor myself!”
“What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou exsitest him?” Who are you? Who am I? Who are we that the most High God should think of us? We are grasshoppers before him, worthless, insignificant, offensive, and repugnant! Before him, we are less than nothing!
a. In our Election we are nothing (John 15:16).
b. In our Redemption we were nothing (Isa. 63:3; Gal. 3:13).
c. In our Regeneration we were nothing (John 3:8; 6:63).
d. In our Justification we are nothing (Rom. 3:24).
e. In our Sanctification we are nothing (I Cor. 1:30).
f. In our Preservation we are nothing (I Pet. 1:5).
g. In heavenly glory we shall yet own ourselves to be Nothings and Nobodies and cry, “Christ is All!” (Ps. 115:1; Rev. 4:10-11; 5:9-10).
God alone saved us and called us, justified and sanctified us, preserves us and will present us before the presence of his own glory, without fault, holy and unblameable in his sight. And God alone shall have the praise!
D. Fourthly, Nebuchadnezzar learned that God’s Infinite Power is Constantly At Work, Sovereignly Accomplishing His Will.
Read the next line of our text. “And he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.” There are no exceptions! (Ps. 115:3; 135:6).
1. God’s will is done in heaven – Always!
2. God’s will is done on the earth – Always!
3. God’s will is done in hell – Always!
With unexplainable, infinite, sovereign power God almighty so governs all beings and all things that all, either willingly or unwillingly, accomplish his will. Both the good and the evil acts of men and angels are so completely and absolutely ruled by our God that nothing ever comes to pass except according to God’s will and power (Pro. 16:1, 9; 19:21; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28).
Illustration: Shemei and David – (I Samuel 16:9-14).
Spurgeon said this – “The miracle of divine glory lies in this – God has made men free-agents, endowed them with a will, with which will he never interferes, except according to the laws of mind; that he leaves them absolutely free to do what thy will; and yet, such is the magnificent strategy of heaven, such is the marvelous force of the divine mind, that despite everything, the will of God is done.”
God rules everywhere! But suppose he does not – If god does not rule everywhere and everything, then somewhere there is something that rules God, and he is not omnipresently supreme! If God does not have his will, someone else does, and that someone is a rival to God. Such a blasphemous doctrine would scare me to death, were it true. Nothing would be safe. No promise could be believed. The very throne of God would be in constant jeopardy! I dare not even believe that sin is exempted from the sovereign control of God’s providence, and the over-ruling dominion of his power (Ps. 76:10).
E. Fifthly, Nebuchadnezzar found out, (and all men will one day find this out), - The Will of God is Irresistible And Unimpeachable.
Read the last line of our text – “And none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (See Isa. 14:24, 26, 27; 46:9-10).
You can argue with God, if you dare be so brazenly proud and presumptuous (Isa. 4:9). I am not here to apologize for his works or to vindicate his character. I am here as his messenger, to tell you who he is and what he has done. And this I declare…
1. No one can hinder God, or even cause him to pause in the accomplishment of his will.
The creatures is powerless to resist, stop, hinder, or alter the will of the Creator. His will is irresistible. You can no more resist the will of God than wax can resist fire!
2. It is right for God’s will to be done – He is God! Who knows better than God what is right? Whatever he does is right. And the day is coming when all the world will be made to see the rectitude of his government (Dan. 4:37).
God moves in a
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints,
fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord
by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is
sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain. – William Cooper
II. Secondly, let me show you something of The Blessedness of This Doctrine.
Here are five things that demonstrate the blessedness of the doctrine of God’s glorious sovereignty.
A. It shuts sinners up to God!
You have no alternative. You are in the hands of God. You must be reconciled to him, or you must be damned. The only terms of peace he will accept is the blood and righteousness of Christ. You must bow to Christ, or he will crush you in his wrath. “Be ye reconciled to God!”
B. Nothing so greatly encourages Our Faith in our God as the Knowledge of His Glorious Sovereignty – (Rom. 8:31).
1. We trust a God with whom nothing is impossible.
2. Our Divine Protector and Provider is the Infinite God!
C. This Doctrine Assures us that the Purpose of God According To Election Must Stand and Shall Be Accomplished.
1. Nebuchadnezzar was chosen of God!
2. When God put him on the throne, he was doing him good.
3. When God brought him down, he was doing him good.
4. When God left him to live like a beast, he was doing him good.
5. When all others had cast him off, despised him, and counted him to be but human rubbish, God Almighty took Nebuchadnezzar up in the arms of grace.
NOTE: Providence often moves slow (7 years). But it always moves with deliberate purpose.
NOTE: We must not judge God’s providence, but trust it.
6. God knows how to humble proud sinners.
D. The Doctrine of God’s Sovereignty Comforts Suffering Saints. (I Thess. 5:16-18).
E. It Gives The Triune God All Praise, Honor, and Glory – (Ps. 115:1-3; Rom. 11:33-36).
III. Thirdly, I sent you home with this consideration – The Affect of This Doctrine on Believing Sinners.
A. Adoration and Worship (Ps. 99:1, 5; 100:3-4).
B. Humble Submission and Unquestioning Faith (Rom. 8:28).
C. Intense Love and Overwhelming Joy and Peace. (Phil. 4:4-7).
Illustration: Heratio Spafford – (“It is Well!” #256)