Insecure? Counterfeit gods-Tim Keller

Nebuchadnezzar is a classic case study of how an “insecure man seeks to overcome his insecurity by a will-to-power…He pretends he is not limited”.

Human beings have very little real power over their lives. What sort of things in life are out of your control?

Nebuchadnezzar had taken personal credit for his rise to prominence.

Read 1Corinthians 4:6-7. 6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers,[a] that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. 7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

How does remembering this truth prevent us from “taking pride in one man over against another”?

More intervention by God was necessary in Nebuchadnezzar’s life. Read Daniel 4:24-27.24 this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, 25 that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. 26 And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules. 27 Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.”

 For what reason did God make Nebuchadnezzar like an ox? Is God being gracious or cruel?

Read Jeremiah 18:1-6. 1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4And the vessel he was making of clay wasspoiled in the potter’s hand, andhe reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 6 “O house of Israel,can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD.Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

How best are we to respond to the Potter when He chooses to remould, bend and squeeze us? How does having a long-term perspective help us in this situation?

Read Daniel 4:34-36. 34At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, andmy reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honoredhim who lives forever,

   for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,    and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; 35all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,    andhe does according to his will among the host of heaven    and among the inhabitants of the earth;and none can stay his hand    orsay to him, “What have you done?”

36 At the same timemy reason returned to me, and forthe glory of my kingdom,my majesty and splendor returned to me.My counselors andmy lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness wasadded to me.

What is the biblical opposite of pride?

Nebuchadnezzar didn’t merely ponder God’s sovereignty, but rather, he praised the Almighty God. What does this tell us about the relationship between pride and worship?

 Nebuchadnezzar was restored and became greater than before. This deep pattern of grace has its climax in the cross. How does Jesus’s life challenge your desire for power and control? How can you become more like him?

 

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