When that period was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me. Daniel 4:28-37 There are people who come into our lives for the purpose of guiding, warning and various other reasons. It is incumbent upon us to pay attention to the people in our lives. The prophet Daniel was one such person for King Nebuchadnezzar. What we learn from King Nebuchadnezzar’s fall and restoration is that God not only knows the heart of his own, he knows the heart of those who have yet to know him. God’s love for his people is certain and he will use anyone great or small to accomplish his will. Ultimately, we don’t have the kind of power and authority to decide who God chooses for that purpose. Discernment is not something that we do on our own. It is done by asking for God’s revelation. We then, like Daniel must be open and ready to receive God’s plan from whomever he places in our path. It is here where our own reason towards the most high is sure and our own restoration is assured.
…and my majesty and splendor were restored to me…Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are truth, and his ways are justice; and he is able to bring low those who walk in pride. Daniel 4:28-37
A Song of Ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
If we begin to attribute our failure or success to others, we essentially give power and authority to someone other than God. If someone takes credit for our failure or success they are essentially elevating themselves over God. Everything happens for a reason. For those who believe, God has a purpose for our lives and it does not depend on what others can or can not – will or will not do. Know who you are in Christ and give credit where credit is due.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Psalm 146:3-4 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.
Psalm 34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
In the Hebrew Scriptures, the gift of the spirit was specifically anointed on certain people. Not until the New Testament is the gift of the spirit poured out on the world both Jewish and Gentile. In retrospect, from a human point of view, making the gift of the Holy Spirit available for anyone seems to me a huge risk on God’s part. For those who believe in its power and authority, such a gift in the wrong hands can prove devastating to the one who possesses it, if not properly used. Certainly in biblical times there were many who did just that, using trickery, and false witness to convince others of their authority thus causing people to turn away from God’s truth. (And) Even now when storms, distractions or disillusionment happens we become vulnerable to the trickery, and false witness of this day as well, and we turn away from what God has promised. But what about God’s point of view? Though we can’t presume to know God’s thoughts, the fact that Pentecost occurred and given the gift of the Holy Spirit through his son; who does such a magnanimous, and some would say awesome, philanthropic act as to make available a free gift with such power and authority? I have to ask of myself, how is it that a gift so generously given, when received is either selectively used or used with severe abuse? Surely God already knew at least by that point that the risks were at best 50/50, some believing, while others just shrug it off. As time moves on, of course the risks become greater as some, believers and non-believers, now claim to possess the spirit without evidence of really having it. Surely today with all of the distractions and disillusionment of what we see and what really is; the thought of the Holy Spirit reconciling our hearts to the mind of God in the midst of struggle (storm, distractions, doubt, fear etc.) seems like an overwhelming task, yet clinging to the hope of this ultimate goal continues to live on today. As the world turns and we become more attached to tangible things, our journey toward reaching the intangible seems harder and longer to reach. Perhaps however, in God’s way of thinking, abandoning this hope even if only for a few was never an option and it seems that Pentecost (the gift of the Holy Spirit) perhaps, is not God’s ultimate act towards his creation. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of taking the risk?