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Wisdom re pride

Daniel, who was also called Belteshazzar, was very bewildered for a while. His thoughts terrified him. So the king said, “Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream or its meaning make you afraid.” Belteshazzar answered, “My master, I wish the dream were about your enemies! I wish its meaning had to do with them! You saw a tree. It grew to be large and strong. Its top touched the sky. It could be seen from anywhere on earth. Its leaves were beautiful. It had a lot of fruit on it. It provided enough food for people and animals. Under the tree, the wild animals found shade. The birds of the air lived in its branches. My king, you are that tree! You have become great and strong. Your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky. Your rule has spread to all parts of the earth. My king, you saw a holy messenger. He came down from heaven. He said, ‘Cut the tree down. Destroy it. But leave the stump with its roots in the ground. Let it stay in the field. Put a band of iron and bronze around it. Let King Nebuchadnezzar become wet with the dew of heaven. Let him live like the wild animals. Let him stay that way until seven periods of time pass by.’ My king and master, here is what your dream means. The Most High God has given an order against you...." Daniel 4: 19-24
The extract in bold above is from a short book included in the “Old Testament” section of all Christian Bibles. The book has been preserved in the national archives of Israel – of Judaism. But, after Jesus came, after he died and rose again, this book, with other Jewish Scriptures was seen to be part of the history of Christianity – of the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Daniel wrote around BC 540. (Yes, I know that this is disputed. I have recently reviewed the evidence put forward for a different writer and a different date.) 
What has this book got to do with Jersey today? Let’s see what you think…

King Nebuchadnezzar was a really great figure on the world stage for a very long time – 605 BC to 562 BC. During most of this time Daniel was the chief executive of his empire. 

‘God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.’ (D L Moody, preacher – publisher, 1837-1899)
Daniel was a Jew. He had been exiled from his noble family in Jerusalem as a very young man and spent the remainder of his life serving various Emperors. Asked by Nebuchadnezzar to interpret a dream he had to tell him: My king and master, here is what your dream means. The Most High God has given an order against you.

Archaeological research has shown that nine-tenths of buildings in Babylon itself, and nineteen-twentieths of all the others in the land were built of bricks stamped with his name. He seems to have built or restored almost every city and temple in the whole country. So he boasted, ‘Is not this great Babylon which I have built?’

Why the message? The Most High God has given an order against you.

After Daniel faithfully delivered God’s message to him, nothing changed immediately. But twelve months later, Nebuchadnezzar was walking on the roof of his palace in Babylon. He said to himself (as one does), “Isn’t this the great Babylon I have built as a place for my royal palace? I used my mighty power to build it. It shows how glorious my majesty is.”

The ‘Is not this great Babylon which I have built?’ moment was the moment when God’s word came true. Those words to himself were the reason for the downfall of Nebuchadnezzar. He lost his mind – became like an animal for almost four years. He himself wrote about it separately from Daniel’s record. “For four years my kingdom in the city ...gave me no joy. During this time, not one building of any importance did I issue to be built; the precious treasures of my kingdom I did not lay out . . .”


‘God is not out to hurt our pride; he is out to kill it.’ (Donald Pfotenhauer)
In the past few weeks the United Kingdom, through Brexit, has entered into a period of great turmoil. Not only that but also the whole of Europe is in a state of great uncertainty. The huge overhang of global debt remains unresolved. The Euro area problem is a can being kicked down the road because no answer can be seen. Islam’s violent reach is global. Who is over all? 

But the “glorious” UK is so “well built” it can go it alone. Jersey also can go it alone – it is glorying in what it has built – in its reputation.

When Nebuchadnezzar was restored he said, ‘Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, give praise and honor and glory to the King of heaven. Everything he does is right. All of his ways are fair. He is able to bring down those who live proudly.’ Today there’s no need for a new message from God via a prophet. The authority and wisdom of Almighty God is already on the record in history and Scripture – and his views on those who live proudly…
Richard Syvret

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