The number 1 problem with the world today
We looked at Romans 1, and I want to take you back to Romans 1 because I want you to understand what is really the driving problem behind the collapse of our world. And it can be identified.
I’ve heard a lot of political speeches in my life. No one should be sentenced to hearing very many, and I have certainly had to endure more than I would like. I’ve heard them in the recent years because of media, more frequently than ever. And I have never, I have never heard one world leader or one American politician state the real problem in this country and in this world–never, not even close.
I assume that they don’t know it or that they’re afraid to say it.
So I’m going to tell you what the problem is today–the problem with this country, the problem with the rest of the world, the problem with every nation, every leader, every ruler, every counsel, every committee, every assembly, every group that comes together.
It’s one problem: Romans 1, verse 28. “They didn’t see fit to acknowledge God any longer.” That’s it; that’s it.
Verse 21, “Though they knew God, they didn’t honor Him as God or give thanks.” So what happened? “They became empty in their speculations, their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.”
The leaders of the world are essentially arrogant fools who have no hope of changing anything because they do not understand the problem. Problems in the world are not economic, financial, social, military; not problems of foreign policy, government policy, capitalism, free market, socialism.
That’s not the problem.
The problem is not Iran, or an Iranian-induced nuclear war.
The problem is not Muslim terrorists. Those are all symptoms of the problem.
The problem is not abortion.
The problem is not homosexuality.
The problem is not sexual liberation.
The problem is they didn’t see fit to acknowledge God
God rules in the kingdom of men
Now what you have in the fourth chapter of Daniel is a testimony from Nebuchadnezzar.
And the bottom line in this testimony is one statement that he repeats four times, and we’ll see them as we go. And the statement is this: that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men.
That is the message here, that God rules. Things don’t happen by chance; they’re not kismet; they’re not fate–God rules in the kingdoms of men.
Listen to Jeremiah 13, “Listen and give heed, do not be haughty, for the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God, before He brings darkness…before your feet stumble on the dusky mountains…while you’re hoping for light He turns it into deep darkness, and turns it into gloom….Say to the king and queen mother, ‘Take a lowly seat, for your beautiful crown has come down from your head.’”
Defy God and you will be judged.
Fail to recognize that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men and you will be judged.
Let’s start in verse 1. This is first person; this is the testimony of Nebuchadnezzar himself. It’s very likely that Daniel recorded it and placed it in his book because the Spirit of God wanted him to do that. And this is the true testimony of Nebuchadnezzar.
Nebuchadnezzar worshipping his idol
But finally, at last, maybe he was holding out till all the nonsense was over with–“Daniel came in before me.” This is all first-person testimony from Nebuchadnezzar whose name is Belteshazzar, Belteshazzar.
That’s important because Bel, the first three letters, similar to Baal, was the god of the Chaldeans, the god of the Babylonians, and the god of Nebuchadnezzar; he says that. He was named Belteshazzar, “according to the name of my god.” His god was Bel-merodach, that’s why he named his son Ebel-merodach. So he had an idol; he had a god, a demon impersonating a god.
So when you come to this point in the story, he’s a pagan, he’s an idol worshiper. He’s still worshiping Bel-merodach…
But still after 25 to 30 years of Daniel being around, he’s still worshiping Bel.
God gives people time to repent
This is the mercy of God. God’s going to give you some time. You remember Jonah said, “Forty days and this city’s going to be destroyed.”
God gave Nineveh 40 days.
And God gives Nebuchadnezzar twelve months until we see the realization of the dream.
We saw the recitation, the revelation; here’s the realization: “All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king,” verse 28, “Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon,” still worshiping Bel-merodach, still failing to repent.
God is so patient, you know–twelve months for this man, 120 years for the antediluvian civilization. And during that 120 years, Noah preached righteousness and warned them. God always gives a time of warning.
The Lord said to Samuel when he was mourning over Saul, “I gave him years, I gave him years and years to repent and change and now I’ve rejected him.”
…And so he’s basking in all of this. Verse 31, “While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you.’”
The evil ways of Nebuchadnezzar
Why this judgment on him? He had, first of all, rejected God and rejected the revelation of God.
He was a vile, cruel, violent man–wanted to butcher a whole group of men back in chapter 2. Heated the furnace seven times hotter than normal to burn up the three young men. In Jeremiah 29 we read that he roasted two Jews.
In 2 Kings 25 he took Zedekiah after the sack of Jerusalem and he put out his eyes. But before he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, he massacred his two sons in front of him so in his blindness the last vision he would have would be of his slaughtered sons.
Second Kings 24 says he imprisoned 18-year-old King Jehoiakim and left him there for 36 years.
He was a very evil man. He was arrogant. He was proud. He deserved judgement. Most of all, and the final reality, he refused to repent.
And that’s always the issue. He refused to repent.
Thunder breaks on his head. He becomes a madman. And everything God said happened to him.
He was driven away from mankind: verse 33, “Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled;…he was driven away from mankind…began eating grass like cattle…his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.”
He’s a horror. Everything that was promised came true. Seven years he crawled around on all four and ate grass and lived like an animal, a beast.
God will bring down every proud heart, every proud ruler.
…You may be educated; you may be elite; you may be a lawyer; you may have been in the halls of power, but all that awaits a person who rejects God is madness and judgement.
The Lord reigns
We know that the Lord reigns, Psalm 93, the Lord reigns; Psalm 96, the Lord reigns; Psalm 97, the Lord reigns; Psalm 99, the Lord reigns…