Daniel 4:34-37 – Nebuchadnezzar, Preachers’ Kids & Not Just Recognizing Christ

Posted: June 5, 2016 in Book of Daniel

Daniel 4:34-37

Nebuchadnezzar Praises God

Recently, high school graduations occurred all through our area. That is not unusual at this time of year. It is just part of the rhythm of life everywhere. May is graduation month as school years end around the country. What made it unique for me this year is that two daughters of the pastoral staff at our church were graduating at the same time this year. What are the odds of two kids of two of our pastors graduating in the same year? When I think about these two young ladies, I am filled with reflection. Abbey and McKenna accepted Christ as their Savior at an early age and are just as good of girls as you will find. They are not those caricatures of bible-thumping teenagers that are spoofed in teen movies but rather just well-adjusted girls that enjoy life just as much as the next kid. But, there is that distinctive about them both that they seem more mature than kids their age that have not accepted Christ as their Savior. They think more about their future than most kids. They actually have great relationships with their parents when most kids their age do not. I am sure that there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes in their homes that we do not see. I am sure there probably are confrontations with their parents like most kids. However, the one thing that I do see is that McKenna and Abbey love the Lord. It is obvious and overt in both of them. That is what fills me with reflection.

 

I grew up like these two girls. I was a preacher’s kid (a PK) just like them. My dad is now a retired part-time pastor in the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. When I was born into his family, he was early in his ministry. Church was where I grew up. For much of the time growing up, we served in small town churches or charges (multiple churches served by one minister). Church permeated our lives. When the church doors were open, we were typically there. Church was the family business. However, just because your dad is a pastor does not mean that you will automatically become a Christ follower by making Jesus the Lord of your life. For me, growing up, I never questioned the existence of God. I knew God existed. I acknowledged who He was. However, I think for me, being a PK kind of numbed me to a relationship with God. Church was just there. It was the family business like I said. It was always there. It was not the special thing to me that others thought of it. I used to play cops and robbers with my brother in the church sanctuaries of church we served. The churches we served were places to explore and use our imaginations. My brother and I were big Star Trek (the Original Series) fans in those days and we would, as kids, imagine that the church was our Enterprise. As I grew older, church was a place to meet girls. It was just a vehicle. It was not until years, and many bad mistakes, later than I came to know the Lord as my Savior. I was 39 years old when I came to know Jesus as my Lord. When I reflect on McKenna and Abbey, I am thankful for them that they did not waste time like I did. With Christ already as their Savior, each at age 17-18, they will be better equipped to handle life than I was. With Christ as their acknowledged Savior, they have a greater likelihood of not making the same mistakes in life that I did. They have a better chance of make good decision. They do have to find their value in a person of the opposite sex like I did. They do not have to let that desire to be loved lead them to make their spouse their god and all the problems that such behavior leads to. They do not have to search for the filler for that God-sized hole in their soul like I did. For these things, I am proud of Abbey and McKenna for having their whole life ahead of them with Christ at their side. I am happy that they do not have to travel the same roads that I did.

 

It was my own life as a PK that came to mind when I read through today’s passage. Here, we see recognition of God’s might and power by the great emperor, Nebuchadnezzar, but there is no acceptance of Him as His Savior. That was my life. I grew up in church. I knew who God was and how Christ died for me. I knew the theology but I did not have the relationship. That is what I see here in Daniel 4:34-37. Let’s read what it has to say:

 

 

 

34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.

 

His dominion is an eternal dominion;

    his kingdom endures from generation to generation.

35

All the peoples of the earth

    are regarded as nothing.

He does as he pleases

    with the powers of heaven

    and the peoples of the earth.

No one can hold back his hand

    or say to him: “What have you done?”

 

36 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. 37 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.

 

As you can see in this passage, Nebuchadnezzar most certainly recognizes the might and power of the God of Israel. Throughout the Book of Daniel, we see the pilgrimage of Neb’s journey with God. It is one of the themes of the book. He starts from a place of not knowing God at all to recognizing His existence when Daniel revealed the nature and meaning of that first dream. He next praises God when He rescues Daniel’s friends from the fiery furnace. Now, we see Him praising God for being mighty and knowing all things. Like last night in the movie, “Me Before You”, that my wife and I went to see, we both noticed that the two main characters though you could tell their loved each other, they never said the three words to each other at any point in the movie. Here, Nebuchadnezzar says great things about God. He recognizes his power and glory. He says all these great things but not the ones we want him to say. We want Nebuchadnezzar to accept God into His life and make Him his Lord. But, he never says it. He recognizes this great entity called God but He never accepts Him as Lord and Savior.

 

Are not many of us like that? Are not many people who sit in churches on Sunday like that? I was like that. I said all the right things and attended church. Even after leaving home, I attended church regularly for another 10-12 years before I stopped going regularly. I took a 7 to 8 year break from the regular attendance thing before I came back. During all that time in church I knew who God was, like Nebuchadnezzar. I knew of the miracles of God, like Nebuchadnezzar. I knew who Jesus was. I knew that He died on the cross. I knew the whole smash. However, I did not know Christ as my Savior. I never said the words from my soul to His ear. I never asked Him into my heart. Oh man, I would love to be like McKenna and Abbey and go back and accept Christ as my Savior at an early age like they have. What a difference that would have made in my life. I knew the drill as a PK but never knew the relationship that they know.

 

Are you like me? Are you in church but do not know Christ, really know Christ, as your Savior? Do you do all the right stuff and listen to His Radio on your car stereo each day but not really know Christ as Your Savior? Do you go to church because that is the historical culture of the South? Do you go to church and sing the songs and listen to the sermons, but not really know Christ as your Savior? Do you try your best to be a good person and think that if you just do more good than bad that you will somehow, some way get into heaven? Are doing all the right things but do not know what it is to have the joy of a real, honest-to-goodness relationship with the one and only, Jesus Christ? Do you know your Bible front ways and backwards but do not know a real relationship with Jesus Christ? Are you tired of feeling like that being like those church people is an impossible task? Are you tired of the rat race?

 

It is never too late to make Christ the Lord and Savior of your life. He wants to have a real relationship with you. He wants you to love Him as much as He loves you. He wants you to understand that you are a sinner that can never be good enough. He wants you to quit the rat race and make Him the Lord of your life by your admission that you are bound for hell without His sacrifice. He wants you to understand the real reason that He died for you. He wants you to understand that it is through Him that you can be saved from your fate that your sin nature brings. Humbly let go and let Him be your Savior and Lord. Go beyond recognizing who He is and make Him Savior and Lord. Even though McKenna and Abbey may have a head start on us, on you, it is never too late to make Him your Savior. It is then that your future will be as bright as McKenna and Abbey’s future. It is where you finish that matters. Some, like Abbey and McKenna, have an earlier start to the race and have been running longer, but it is the finish, as they would tell you, that matters. Knowing Christ as your Savior. Assurance of being in the presence of the Lord for all eternity. These are the things that matter.

 

Don’t just recognize Christ. Make Him your Savior. Today! It’s not too late.

 

Amen and Amen.

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