My wife and I will be attending a worship conference in South Carolina next week, so this will be the last session of this class. The ORIGINAL plan had us going through the last Thursday of August, but this Thursday, 18th, is the NEXT to the last Thursday. I’ll leave it w Pastor Daniel as to what next Thursday might look like. And I am confident the church has a good plan for Thursdays as we roll into the fall months.
Last week we were speaking of God communicating w men IN THEIR DREAM STATE – to encourage US to anticipate even that communication w God.
And I’ve had good reports of folks having dreams. Yea God!
I don’t think we’ll be going through this second dream tonight, but I wrote it out in the notes since I mentioned it last week, and it is additional confirmation, not only of God’s mercy as well as His serious dealings with ALL men, but also it’s a great confirmation of the priority God puts on DREAMS as prophetic communication, so that we might anticipate God speaking to us in dreams – even to the point of maybe sometimes being able to dialogue BACK to God in our dreams, as Solomon did.
NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S SECOND DREAM
ONLY BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE ANYONE on the edge of their seat re Nebuchadnezzar and his second dream – we will go through it sort of quickly.
That king plays a huge prophetic role in the master plan of prophecy for this age. King of Babylon – he represents the ultimate and complete image of absolute power by MAN. That same “spirit of Babylon” will prevail all the way through til the end of the book of Revelation, at which time we are told “BABYLON is fallen”.
Last week we looked at the statue representing the kingdoms of age. Daniel, always a man of prayer, received NOT ONLY the interpretation of the king’s dream, but also the dream itself.
This second dream, King Nebuchadnezzar TOLD to his wisemen, and then finally called in the “A TEAM” – Daniel.
Nebuchadnezzar writes out his testimony – praising God:
1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you.
2 I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me.
3 How great are His signs,
And how mighty His wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And His dominion is from generation to generation.
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace.
5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.
6 Therefore I issued a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream.
7 Then the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came in, and I told them the dream; but they did not make known to me its interpretation.
8 But at last Daniel came before me (his name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God), and I told the dream before him, saying:
9 “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God is in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation.
THE DREAM TOLD TO DANIEL
10 “These were the visions of my head while on my bed:
I was looking, and behold,
A tree in the midst of the earth,
And its height was great.
11 The tree grew and became strong;
Its height reached to the heavens,
And it could be seen to the ends of all the earth.
12 Its leaves were lovely,
Its fruit abundant,
And in it was food for all.
The beasts of the field found shade under it,
The birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches,
And all flesh was fed from it.
13 “I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven.
14 He cried aloud and said thus:
“Chop down the tree and cut off its branches,
Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit.
Let the beasts get out from under it,
And the birds from its branches.
15 Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth,
Bound with a band of iron and bronze,
In the tender grass of the field.
Let it be wet with the dew of heaven,
And let him graze with the beasts
On the grass of the earth.
16 Let his heart be changed from that of a man,
Let him be given the heart of a beast,
And let seven times pass over him.
17 ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers,
And the sentence by the word of the holy ones,
In order that the living may know
That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men,
Gives it to whomever He will,
And sets over it the lowest of men.’
18 “This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.”
THEN A NARRATIVE, likely also by Nebuchadnezzar – as to what happens.
19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the king spoke, and said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies!
20 “The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth,
21 whose leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and in whose branches the birds of the heaven had their home—
22 it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth. 23 “And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him’;
24 this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king:
25 They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.
26 “And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules.
27 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.” (HELP ME JOHN CALVIN – here’s a MAYBE – contingent upon a man’s decision)
(Likely still written as an honest account BY Nebuchadnezzar himself, speaking in the third person about himself)
28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar.
29 At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon.
30 The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”
31 While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!
32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; 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 chooses.”
33 That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. Nebuchadnezzar Praises God
DEFINITELY Nebuchadnezzar’s personal testimony:
34 And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom is from generation to generation.
35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;
He does according to His will in the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the earth.
No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, “What have You done?”
36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.
37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.
THAT is the ONE personal biblical testimony of a sovereign autocrat being so humbled that he finally comes to the God of Israel.
THAT is also another testimony of God using prophetic dreams to deal w people. And that autocrat stood as the head of the empire that FINALLY comes crashing down at the end of the Revelation conflict.
God is on the move, 24/7.
OK – back to us and now and looking forward to our Lord’s return, as people call to be PRE-PARED (cut in advance, circumcised hearts and minds)
Personally, my own prayer awareness, the “PRAY ALWAYS/WITHOUT CEASING” admonishment has taken on greater meaning for me. I am quite confident the Lord’s plan is for the saints to be in constant communication w Him. And I believe the times in which we live, both scripturally as well as by our own awareness, would confirm that it’s getting more and more critical to be in alignment w the plans of God. RIGHT TIME/RIGHT PLACE.
“CO-Incidences”. Coordinated Incidences orchestrated by God so that the Romans 8 spirit led sons (and daughters) of God would be on post, on point, in position.
We concluded last week w me mentioning this historic truth during WW2: my dad worked in the shipyards, wiring battleships. The urgency of the battle had 3 work crews, each spending 8 hours, working around the clock, 24/7, because of the urgency of the hour. Our nation was at war.
I believe we should figure that God, knowing the lateness of the hour prior to His return, would want to be speaking w us, and having US speak w Him, 24/7.
I THINK WE’D DO WELL TO ANTICIPATE THE LORD SPEAKING W AT ALL TIMES. That mindset and preparation of our hearts will place us into more effective place of readiness.
Here is Jesus’ instruction to His disciples:
25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;
26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
29 Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.
30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.
31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.
33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.
35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
THE TAKEAWAY FROM SEVEN WEEKS:
36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
How clear and concise is verse 36?
It speaks to me not only of our assured EFFECTIVENESS in winning souls for God in the those most trying times – it brings it home to our very own success being in our watching and praying always.
Verse 35 tells us that the situations on earth, both the “seas roaring” (natural events) as well as the necessary addressing of sinfulness (carousing and drunkenness) and also the intensified struggle simply to LIVE (“cares of this life”) will come on all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
At the risk of flying in the face of teachings that the saints are out of here before severe end times trouble and only the unsaved, and maybe the newly-saved Jews will be on the planet – I think we’ve looked deep enough into scripture to recognize God’s end-of-age “shaking plan” is purposed to get the unsaved to cry out to Him, and He has plans to leave His army of volunteer lovers ON EARTH – surely delivered from the final wrath and yet surviving by His grace during the troubling, so that we might give a testimony to the desperate world and lead as many as possible to Christ – through righteous living, prayer, a testimony of light, etc.
We are called and destined to be that praying army.
1 The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
2 The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion.
Rule in the midst of Your enemies!
3 Your people shall be volunteers
In the day of Your power;
In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning,
You have the dew of Your youth.
4 The Lord has sworn
And will not relent,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
5 The Lord is at Your right hand;
He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.
6 He shall judge among the nations,
He shall fill the places with dead bodies,
He shall execute the heads of many countries.
7 He shall drink of the brook by the wayside;
Therefore He shall lift up the head.
I so very much appreciate the distinctions between WORSHIP and PRAISE and the bent-knee place of PRAYER – be it silent or spoken, or in a spiritual language of tongues – or even standing up or laying on your face. There are different postures and different focuses.
But in the broadest sense of the word – PRAYER is functionally COMMUNICATION WITH GOD – and in that light we would better understand what PRAY WITHOUT CEASING looks like in our own lives.
I want to get out of the compartmentalization of my relationship w God – my “hour of prayer” being concluded and now the day is mine.
The day is His.
This is the day the Lord has made.
I don’t see any place in scripture where we are invited to take a sabbatical from our walks w God, and in fact I see a declaration of greater INTIMACY when there’s greater URGENCY.
A GREAT PSALM confirming INTIMACY during URGENCY – concluding w praise and declaration of His goodness.
So let’s look again at how our Lord describes the times prior to His return – fully giving room IF you don’t think THESE times are THOSE times, then at least let’s all agree that the times in which we live are increasingly more troublesome. Foxnews confirms that.
JESUS’ words again (this time from Matthew instead of Luke – but remembering the verses we read earlier in Luke 21 – men’s hearts failing them, praying always, etc.):
6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then (at that time, not 2,000+ years later) the end will come.
THE PSALMIST’S declaration of INTIMACY in URGENCY:
1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,
Until these calamities have passed by.
2 I will cry out to God Most High,
To God who performs all things for me.
3 He shall send from heaven and save me;
He reproaches the one who would swallow me up.
God shall send forth His mercy and His truth.
TROUBLE ALL AROUND
4 My soul is among lions;
I lie among the sons of men
Who are set on fire,
Whose teeth are spears and arrows,
And their tongue a sharp sword.
PRAISE BECAUSE HE IS WORTHY – PRIOR TO THE DELIVERANCE
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
Let Your glory be above all the earth.
6 They have prepared a net for my steps;
My soul is bowed down;
They have dug a pit before me;
Into the midst of it they themselves have fallen.
SONG, WORSHIP PRAISE
7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and give praise.
8 Awake, my glory!
Awake, lute and harp!
EARLY RISING TO PRAISE AND PRAY
I will awaken the dawn.
EVANGELISTIC WORSHIP AND PRAISE
9 I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing to You among the nations.
10 For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens,
And Your truth unto the clouds.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
Let Your glory be above all the earth.
IN QUICK REVIEW:
• Prayer has always been our HOT-LINE to God.
• Successful folks in the scriptures were men and women of prayer.
• Prayer is time SPENT. It is supposed to cost you something.
• Failed folks were those who did things their own way – even religious things (Ex: Saul forcing himself and offering a sacrifice).
• Prayer is time to speak to God and for God to speak to us.
• Our God doesn’t need us preaching to Him, although He even instructs us to remind Him of His own promises.
• BTW – our brethren don’t need us preaching to them either, in prayer “TEACHING PRAYER” typically isn’t prayer. There’s a time for every purpose under heaven, and prayer time is not teach-time.
• Jesus so prioritized the Holy Spirit baptism and anointing and infilling He instructed His own disciples not to even leave Jerusalem until they experienced that baptism. We still need that baptism, and that’s a baptism to repeat and repeat again and again.
• There are specific things we are told to pray for (EX: the peace of Jerusalem, our leaders, etc.).
• We can pray w confidence and effectiveness when the word is in us and we are praying according to the will of God.
• The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Our righteous living is solid foundation of assurance that are prayers are being heard.
Ending with an encouragement and a question WE can answer by how we choose to live our lives every day, every moment:
Luke 18:1, 7-8
1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,
(Our Lord speaks of a stubborn woman and an unjust judge, who gives in to her consistent and stubborn appeals to him.
COMPARISON BY CONTRAST – our God is not an UNJUST JUDGE.
He is a FAIR JUDGE and also a LOVING FATHER
7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?
8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Jesus wasn’t questioning whether there would be CHURCH or “Christians” – He was asking whether there would truly be people of faith, who believed and walked according to the plans and purposes of God, in and by His Spirit.
THAT should be our prayer.
All scripture NKJV