IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: THE POSSESSION OF GOD OR THE NON-POSSESSION OF GOD MAKES THE GREATEST DIFFERENCE
Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers
And the decision is a command of the holy ones, So that the living may know without any doubt
That the Most High God rules over the kingdom of mankind. And He bestows it on whomever He desires. And sets over it the humblest and lowliest of men”
Daniel 4: 17
THE possession of a God, or the non-possession of a God, makes the greatest possible difference between man and man. Esau is a princely being, but he is “a profane person.” Jacob is a weak, fallible, frail creature, but he has a God. Have you not heard of “the mighty God of Jacob”? There are many wise, careful, prudent men of the world who have no God and, truly, these in the highest sense, like the young lions, lack and suffer hunger, for their highest nature is left to famish. Those who wait upon the Lord are often very simple and devoid of ability and policy, but they shall not lack any good thing—their highest nature is well supplied from heavenly sources. This is the great difference between the two races which people the world—I mean the sons of men who say in their hearts, “No God,” and the sons of God, the twice-born, who have received new life and, therefore, with heart and flesh cry out for God, even the living God!
The child of this world enquires, “Where shall I flee from His Presence?” The child of Light cries, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You.” There are thus two races of men who can never blend, either in this life or in that which is to come. Deep in their innermost nature lies a vital difference—they are of two distinct seeds. My dear Hearers, you can divide yourselves without difficulty by this rule—Have you a God, or have you none? If you have no God, what have you? If you have no God, what good have you to expect? What, indeed, can be good to you? If you have no God, how can you face the past, the present, or the future?
But if you have God for your portion, your whole history is covered! The God of the past has blotted out your sin; the God of the present makes all things work for your good; the God of the future will never leave you nor forsake you! In God you are prepared for every emergency. O Man, if the God of Jacob is your God, you shall be safe at night, though you may sleep as unguarded as the Patriarch at Bethel. And you shall be secure by day, though you may be met by Esau with his 400 men! You are safe in banishment though Laban is churlish—and safe in the midst of foes, though Canaan-ites thirst for your blood—for the Lord has said, “Touch not My anointed and do My Prophets no harm.” It matters not where you go if the God of Israel is with you and says to you, “Fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will go down with you; and I will also surely bring you up again.” He shall guard you from all evil—the Lord shall preserve your soul.
Because Jacob had a God, therefore he went to Him in the hour of his trouble. He did not know how he should escape from his injured and angry brother, Esau. In fact, he believed that Esau had come on purpose to cut him up, root and branch, and so, after doing the best he could, Jacob looked to his best Friend and Helper, and cried unto his God! He who has a God will be sure to fly to Him in his distress. There is no use in having a God if you do not use Him. I am afraid that many professed Christians place their God afar off and never dream of going to Him for practical succor in the hour of danger. As well have no God, as have an unreal God who cannot be found in the midnight of our need! But what a blessing it is to be able to go to our God at all times and pour out our hearts before Him—for our God will be our Helper and that right early! He is our near and dear Friend in joy and in sorrow. Poor Jacob, in the calmer days of his life, had failed to walk with his God as his father, Abraham, had done. But now a storm has overtaken him and he flies to the Lord, his God, as a mariner puts into port to escape the tempest.
Dear Friend, are you in trouble at this time and have you a God? Then go to Him in prayer at once and spread your case before Him. Have you a Rabshakeh’s letter in the house? Go, like Hezekiah, and spread it before the Lord! Have you
a dying child? Then cry to the Lord as David did! Are you in the deeps with Jonah? Then let your prayer arise from the very bottoms of the mountains! Have you any bitterness in the vessel of your heart? Then pour it out before Him.
Make good use of your God and especially gain the fullest advantage from Him by pleading with Him in prayer. In troublous times, our best communion with God will be carried on by supplication. Tell Him your case—search out His promise and then plead it with holy boldness. This is the best, the surest, the speediest way of relief.
WORLDLY men think very little of God. They live at a distance from him; they have no intercourse with him; like the fool, they have said in their heart, “No God,” and they try to realize in their lives their heart’s desire. Very different is it with the true believer. He recognizes God everywhere; he sees God in all the good or ill that checkers life; he believes that God has created every worm that crawls upon the face of the earth, and that he has painted every flower that blooms. The whole world is full of God to him who believes in God, and he has intercourse with God wherever he goes. He cannot live without it; it is his joy and delight. He is a child of God; so, how can he live happily in his Father’s house unless he often sees his Father’s face, and speaks with him, and hears his voice in return? The Christian makes much of God, and God makes much of him, for they have a mutual delight in one another. Hence, in such a text as this, you perceive how the psalmist talked with God, and God heard him, and he knew that God heard him; and then he spoke again to God, and said, “Teach me thy statutes.”
This is, perhaps, one of the main differences between the believer and the unbeliever, — between him that feareth God and him that feareth him not. The first lesson for man is, to know his God; the second is, to know himself; and as the unbeliever fails in the first, he fails in the second also, he does not know himself. He does not think much about himself, — about his real self, the most important part of his being. For his body, he caters freely, he can scarcely spend enough upon it; but he starves his soul. He scarcely recognizes its existence, and he has but little thought or care about the immortality to which it is ordained. But a true believer knows himself. We are sure, from our text, that he does, for he would not declare his ways if he did not know them. But he has practised introspection, and looked within himself. He has practised self-examination, and studied his own inner life. He does not profess to understand himself altogether; — for man is the next greatest mystery to God; God is the first mystery, and man is the second. He does not understand his own ways; he cannot always comprehend his own thoughts, or follow the devious wanderings of his own mind; but, still, he does know a good deal about himself; and when he goes before his God, he can truthfully say, “I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me.” Among other things, he has discovered his own ignorance, and hence he presents the prayer with which the text concludes, “Teach me.” He is ignorant even of God’s revealed will, so he prays, “‘Teach me thy statutes,’ O Lord! I know the Book in which they are recorded, and I can learn them in the letter; but do thou teach them to me, in my spirit, by thy Spirit, that I may know them aright.”
After his humbling experience, Nebuchadnezzar spoke some incredible words of praise. Charles Spurgeon explains the truth of his words.
“At the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honoured him who lives for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he does according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and no one can restrain his hand, or say to him, “What are you doing?”
No one has ever numbered Nebuchadnezzar with the prophets, or believed his language to be inspired. We have before us simply a statement made by an uninspired man, after passing through the most extraordinary experience. He had been among the greatest and proudest of men: he suddenly fell into the condition of a grass eating ox, by losing his reason; and upon being restored, he publicly acknowledged the hand of the Most High. I should not have taken his language as my text if it had not happened to be, as it is, a most correct and vigorous statement of sublime doctrines which are clearly stated by the Holy Spirit in different parts of Scripture. It is a singular instance of how, when God comes to deal with men in afflicting providences, he can make them clearly see many great truths concerning himself, and can constrain them to express their convictions in identically the same way as they would have done if his own Spirit had dictated the terms. There are certain parts of the divine character which even the unspiritual man cannot avoid seeing; and after passing through certain processes of suffering and humiliation, the man is compelled to add his witness to the testimony of God’s Spirit with regard to the divine character. Every single word that Nebuchadnezzar utters here can be backed up and supported by undoubtedly inspired words of men sent by God to proclaim infallible truth. We shall not therefore need to answer the objection that our text is simply the statement of Nebuchadnezzar — we grant that it is so — but we shall show as we proceed that Babylon’s humbled monarch has spoken most correctly and accurately, and in full accordance with the testimony of other parts of Scripture.
Lastly, let our spirit be that of profound delight. I believe there is no doctrine to the advanced Christian which contains such a deep sea of delight as this. The Lord reigns! The Lord is King for ever and ever! Why, then all is well. When you get away from God, you get away from peace. When the soul dives into him, and feels that all is in him, then she feels a calm delight, a peace like a river, a joy unspeakable. Strive after that delight this morning, my beloved, and then go and express it in your songs of praise. If you are alone this afternoon, any of you, and not engaged in service, be sure to bless and magnify your God. Lift up your hearts in his praise, for “whoever offers praise glorifies God.”
May the Lord bring us all, through faith in Jesus Christ, into harmony with this ever blessed and everliving God, and to him be praise and glory for ever and for ever. Amen.
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