10/24/Su – Heeding the Word of God

Daniel 4:28-37; 2 Peter 1:10-21; Psalms 119:89-96; Proverbs 26:6-8

OT: “All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months, as he was walking on the roof of the royal palace in Babylon, the king exclaimed, “Is this not Babylon the Great that I have built to be a royal residence by my vast power and for my majestic glory?” While the words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared that the kingdom has departed from you. You will be driven away from people to live with the wild animals, and you will feed on grass like cattle for seven periods of time, until you acknowledge that the Most High is ruler over human kingdoms, and he gives them to anyone he wants…” But at the end of those days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity returned to me. Then I praised the Most High and honored and glorified him who lives forever: For his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation… Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and glorify the King of the heavens, because all his works are true and his ways are just. He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” (‭‭Daniel‬ ‭4:28-32, 34, 37‬ ‭CSB)

Chapter 4 of Daniel is an interesting chapter. The entire chapter was written by King Nebuchadnezzar, as he recounted a dream, a prophetic word, and the fulfillment of that word in his life. Despite the multiple times that God was glorified before Nebuchadnezzar through the lives of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, he continually walked in pride and lifted himself up above the knowledge of the God of Israel. God gave him a dream as a warning. Daniel interpreted that dream, and told him that if he didn’t humble himself and acknowledge God, then God would humiliate him. Nebuchadnezzar ignored that word and warning and continued glorifying himself. Then one day, when he was feeling especially proud of his accomplishments, God fulfilled his word and Nebuchadnezzar was humiliated for a time – until he humbled himself and proclaimed the Lord as God. Eventually, Nebuchadnezzar did humble himself, and chose to glorify God as the King of all kings. Then God restored the humbled Nebuchadnezzar back to his office.

NT: “Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you… For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased!” We ourselves heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. We also have the prophetic word strongly confirmed, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭1:10-11, 16-21‬ ‭CSB)

The “therefore” in verse 10 referred to Peter’s challenge to the reader to continue growing by grace in godliness, otherwise – though saved – they would become shortsighted, blind and useless, and risk drifting away from the faith, forgetting the things they had heard and believed. The believer does not endure in faith and grow in godliness by passively existing as a saved person. The true disciple of Christ makes every effort to fortify and firmly root his calling and election in Christ by doing the things the Lord instructed and growing by the grace supplied by the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t just make us mature believers and disciples. He provides the grace by His power through the Holy Spirit – but we must make effort to walk in the grace He provides by heeding and obeying His word, will and ways. As we heed and obey Him, He will give us the grace and guidance to not stumble.

The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that contained the power of God to save us is not a cleverly contrived story or myth. It is the word of God. Peter was one of the few people that actually witnessed Jesus Christ in His glorified state on the mount of transfiguration. He was there and heard God’s voice from heaven confirm who Jesus was and is. True prophetic words (not false prophecy) that continue to be given are not just phrases contrived by men and women – they are words from the heart of Father God given to encourage, comfort, exhort and lead us in His will and ways. Instead of being like King Nebuchadnezzar of old who pridefully ignored the word of God, we need to pay attention to, obey, and walk in the word of God – and by doing so, we will grow in godliness and become more and more firmly rooted in faith.

Psalms: “Lord, your word is forever; it is firmly fixed in heaven. Your faithfulness is for all generations; you established the earth, and it stands firm. Your judgments stand firm today, for all things are your servants. If your instruction had not been my delight, I would have died in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for you have given me life through them. I am yours; save me, for I have studied your precepts. The wicked hope to destroy me, but I contemplate your decrees. I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your command is without limit.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:89-96‬ ‭CSB)

Unlike the words of any other, the word of God is eternal. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the words of God and Christ will ever pass away. God’s faithfulness to His word transcends the passing of time and endures for every and all generation. If we understand that, why would we ever ignore the word of God and trust our own will and ways above His? The psalmist knew that it was by heeding and adhering to God’s word that he was able to survive and thrive though all the challenges he faced. There is a limit to perfection on earth, but there is no limit to the faithfulness, power, peace, joy and life found in the word of God. Like the psalmist, we would do well to heed God’s word.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You for Your word, given to save, grow, edify, comfort, exhort and lead me. I don’t ever want to be found guilty of ignoring Your word and walking in my own will and ways instead. I choose to make Your word, will and ways my delight. Use Your word to root me and mature me as I heed and obey it in faith. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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