You are welcome to use the writings on these pages or pass them on to others who might find a touch from God in the words. Our purpose is always to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. Please remember to give credit to the Author who has given you everything, and keep in remembrance the vessel which He used to bring these words to you. We pray that this site may be a blessing to you and anyone with whom its been shared. All rights reserved. Peggy Hoppes
Christian Bible Study Pages
Travel PagesSalisbury Plain
Our Lord is so good, He grants us many blessings. We can see Him in the daily course of events, in our homes, our jobs, our lives. I pray that these words help you to grow in your faith and recognize His hand in even the most mundane circumstances.
The picture to the right is of a Celtic Chapel located in Cornwall England. This building is approximately 1700 years old, and contains a holy well known for its healing powers.
(Click for enlarged)
"You are weighed in the balances, and are found wanting." Daniel 5:27, WEB
I saw a picture today of a man walking in a Victory Day Parade. He was the last living member of his World War II battle group. We are hearing more and more stories like this: the men who fought the war are aging and dying. Soon there will be no more left. Thankfully, many people have written books and built memorials so that we will hear their stories, but unless we pay attention everything they learned will be forgotten. History tends to repeat itself, which we see repeatedly in the stories of God's people throughout the Bible.
Nebuchadnezzar learned the lesson that God can humble the proud, and though we don't really hear much about his reign after his bought with insanity, but history suggests that he ruled for thirteen years as king after he was restored. He continued to wage war and subdue Babylon's neighbors, but he also rebuilt Babylon and created some magnificent ancient wonders. He probably continued to honor the gods of his people, but the letter in Daniel 4 suggests that he became a witness for the greatness of the Most High God.
It didn't take very long, however, for Nebuchadnezzar's descendants to forget what he learned. Daniel 5 tells the story of King Belshazzar, a "son" (probably grandson) of Nebuchadnezzar. He threw a great banquet and ordered that the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar took from the Temple early in his reign be brought. The nobles, his wives and concubines drank from them. Suddenly, a disembodied hand wrote on the wall near where Belshazzar feasted. The king called in the enchanters, astrologers and diviners to read the writing on the wall, but they could not do so.
The queen (thought to have been the queen mother, perhaps Nebuchadnezzar's wife or daughter) entered the banquet and told the king to not fear. "O king, live forever; don’t let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your face be changed. There is a man in your kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of your father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him..." Daniel was called and he interpreted the writing for the king.
Unfortunately, the news was not good for Belshazzar. Daniel began by reminding the king of the story of his father, Nebuchadnezzar. Then he accused the king of not learning the lessons from that story. "You, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which don’t see, nor hear, nor know; and the God in whose hand your breath is, and whose are all your ways, you have not glorified." God did not give Belshazzar the chance to repent. That very night he was slain.
We fail over and over and over again; thankfully our God is gracious and merciful, but there comes a time when we are expected to learn the lessons of our forefathers. God is not going to cause us to drop dead, but we will suffer the consequences of our rejection of His Word. If we don't learn those lessons, history will repeat itself; we will be weighed in the balance and will be found wanting.
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"While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from the sky, saying…" Daniel 4:31a, WEB
Nebuchadnezzar was a great king; he is called the greatest monarch of Babylon. His kingdom reached far and wide and he commanded a labor force that rebuilt the city of Babylon, adorning it with spectacles that are recalled today as great wonders of the world like the Hanging Gardens and the Ishtar Gate. He defeated Egypt and Assyria, subdued Israel and Syria, eventually destroying Jerusalem and taking God's people into exile. He controlled all the trade routes between the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea. He was known as "the king of kings."
Daniel was a man of God who was taken to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city of Jerusalem. The king was smart: he took the most powerful and able of Judah's people, officials and nobility, those who might learn and quickly adapt to life in Babylon. He provided for them and trained them to enter into his service. Daniel refused to be defiled by the rich food and drink, and in the end he looked healthier and better nourished than those who at the royal food. Daniel became an important part of Nebuchadnezzar's court and even an advisor to the king. This made other advisors jealous of Daniel and others from Jerusalem, but those stories are for another day.
Nebuchadnezzar knew he was a great man and perhaps for good reason. Look at all he accomplished! One day he had a dream and he called in all those who might be able to tell him its meaning. He didn't trust those magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers, so he determined that they had to not only interpret the dream, but they first had to reveal the dream. Nebuchadnezzar thought if they really had the gifts they claimed, then they would know by the power of the gods. They couldn't do the task and even told the king that no one could do it. He was so angry he decreed that all wise men should be executed, including Daniel and his friends. They sought the help of God who revealed the dream and the interpretation, so Daniel went to Nebuchadnezzar with the answer to his query. Daniel was raised to an even higher position.
Nebuchadnezzar took the interpretation, which said that he was the king of kings, to heart and he built a great gold statue of himself. He commanded that all the people worship the statue. Those who worshipped the God of Israel could not do so and their disobedience angered Nebuchadnezzar. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were sent to the fiery furnace, but the king saw the power of God as an angel protected them from the heat. Nebuchadnezzar praise their God and raised them to positions of authority. Yet, despite this apparent faith in the God of Israel, Nebuchadnezzar was still proud and overconfident in his power.
He had a second dream, which we hear about in Daniel 4. This chapter is a letter confessing his faith that the Most High God does everything right and that He can humble the great. Nebuchadnezzar praised and exalted and glorified Him and he tells others the story. The dream was of a great tree. Daniel told the Nebuchadnezzar that the tree represented him, but it wasn't all good news. It was so hard that Daniel was afraid to tell the king the interpretation. Nebuchadnezzar insisted and Daniel revealed the truth. "You shall be driven from men, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field, and you shall be made to eat grass as oxen, and shall be wet with the dew of the sky, and seven times shall pass over you; until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will." Nebuchadnezzar was about to be humbled.
It took a year. One day the king was standing on the roof of his royal palace boasting about his great kingdom and his great treasures when a voice came from heaven. "While the word was in the king’s mouth..." King Nebuchadnezzar learned the power of God in a very real and personal way. He was said to be insane for seven years, living like an animal. At the end of that time, he looked to heaven and his sanity was restored. He praised the Most High God. When Nebuchadnezzar recognized that God is the true King of kings and that He is able to humble the proud, then God restored him to his power and position.
It is easy for us to find hope in a story like this, comforted by the fact that God is in control of even the most powerful people in the world. We know that God can humble the proud and when we look at what is happening we can trust that God can even use those who do not believe in Him to be witnesses to His power. In the end, those enemies of God might just become one who honors and glorifies Him.
But we should not just look at this as a story about the other guy; we all have our own prides that must be humbled. We may just find that even as we are boasting about the great things we have done that God will bring us to a place of humility so that we will look to heaven and proclaim the greatness of the Most High God. We may not rule over a great kingdom, but we do forget to give credit to God for our small successes. We forget to thank Him for our treasures or praise Him for what He has done in our lives. We may not spend seven years living like an animal, but we might just find ourselves in a time of physical, emotional or spiritual drought, away from those we love or wandering without purpose. When we do finally turn back to our God, we will see our lives restored and our hearts filled with gladness at what God can do.
The following links provide some specially chosen scripture that tell the stories of the Birth and Passion of our Lord as Saviour Jesus Christ, as well as a fictional perspective of the Crucifixion. Spend time in God's Word, read about His life and learn of the wonderful gifts He has for you. Know Jesus Christ and honour Him today. Thanks be to God.
Scripture on this page taken from the American Standard Version of the Holy Bible which belongs to the public domain. Some scripture on this site taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
As you may be aware, I also write a weekly devotional on Wednesday called "MIDWEEK OASIS." For those of you who are familiar with lectionary scripture sources, MIDWEEK OASIS is based on the texts used by millions of Christians each Sunday. The lectionary consists of four texts: an Old Testament passage, a Psalm, a passage from one of the Epistles and a Gospel text. We are now using the lectionary for our A WORD FOR TODAY texts. This devotional is posted on Wednesday, at both A WORD FOR TODAY and at MIDWEEK OASIS.
You are welcome to use these words to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. Please remember to give credit to the Author who has given you these gifts, and keep in remembrance the vessel which He used to bring them to you. We pray that this site may be a blessing to you and anyone with whom you've shared it. Peggy Hoppes