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You Must Be Lifted.

January 26, 2012

My wife remembers all her dreams.  I’m not one of those people…I typically don’t remember what I dream about at night…but she remembers in vivid detail the events that take place inside her head.  And so it goes, I’ll be brushing my teeth in the morning when Lauri will begin unpacking how she was walking the Lake Murray Dam with our little dog, Roxy, and a boa constrictor got hold of the dog and began eating it, prompting her to punch said boa constrictor in the face and retrieve our pitiful excuse for a family pet.  Needless to say, her dreams are entertaining.

 You’ll have a chance…it won’t take very long…so read through Daniel 4 today.

 We’re four chapters into this book and this is the second time that we’ve heard about one of Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams.  Now, it’s worth noting that the first time, and this occasion were separated by a number of years.  This is close to the end of this king’s forty-three year reign.  He’s at the height of his kingdom…he’s reached the pinnacle of his lordship.  He proclaims, “I was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace.”  He’s comfortable.  He’s not concerned about being conquered, or preparing for his next empire expansion program…he’s content.  And that’s when he receives this dream…a dream that made him afraid.

 His dream involves a tree…a giant tree…think redwood, but even bigger.  It’s a tree so big that there is an ecosystem in the branches and the beasts of the field dwell in its shade.  But the tree doesn’t endure.  It is cut down.  Daniel is beckoned to interpret the dream and he doesn’t really hold back…just sort of throws it out there and says, “It is you, O king.”  Nebuchadnezzar is the tree, and the tree is going to be chopped down.

 But it doesn’t happen immediately.  How often does it happen in our lives that we hear a message, feel a conviction, we understand the possible ramifications of our sin…the destructive nature it unfurls in our lives…and we commit to making a change?  But some time passes, our lives don’t fall to pieces around us like we were led to believe, we begin to take some chances…begin to walk closer to the line…and before we know it, that conviction we felt so strongly about becomes the comfortable apathy of our own self-gratification.  Twelve months after this dream and interpretation…Nebuchadnezzar proclaims to himself his own glory as he surveys the empire he built by his “mighty power.”

 The fall was tremendous.  The fall was immediate.  The fall was tragic in so many ways…just like a mighty redwood falling to the forest floor.  He knew that the words of Daniel were trustworthy.  But his pride had crept back in.  And God humbled him.  This happens to us too.  We all have our Babylon…we all love our Babylon.  We have our sins that we think we own…that we can control…but the truth is that we’ve really fallen into bondage…slaves to the very things we think we pretend to master.  And the fall for us is just as tragic.  But God never leaves His children there.  He restores us.  Psalm 23 says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name sake.”  You see, the greatest thing that God can do for us is to make Himself known in our lives…that we might trust Him…abide in Him…and rest in Him.  Jesus Christ gave Himself that we could be restored…that we could be redeemed…and that we might proclaim His glory…and honor the true King…the King of heaven.

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