Big God Theology 1
I would like to begin a study of the Book of Daniel. I promise not to deal with anything about prophecy. The only thing I know about end times is that He is coming and will come at His appointed time. I desire to study Daniel and the three Hebrew children’s God. He was a big God, thus the title ‘Big God Theology’. The word ‘theology’ is made up of two words, ‘God’ and ‘the study of’’. So our theme is the study of a Big God. I fear today that we are suffering from an epidemic of little God Theology.
I am reminded of the story told years ago by the great preacher Donald Barnhouse. He wrote a set of Books on Romans that are classics in practical study. He tells about preaching his first sermon after finishing Bible school. His Bible professor came to hear him and sat on the front row. After the service the professor came and told Donald that he would never come to hear him again. Donald was alarmed that he had done such a bad job but the professor assured him that on the contrary he had preached a Big God and he felt that Donald would do fine.
Let us turn our attention to what I believe to be the theme phrase of the Book of Daniel. It is found in Chapter 2, verse 28 where the Bible says, “But there is a God in heaven…” It takes for granted that we know the foundation of the Book of Daniel from our Sunday school days. Four boys are snatched from royal families and brought into Babylonian captivity. They purposed in their hearts that no matter what, they were going to walk with God. (1:8) Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and wanted the wise men to give him the interpretation, and Oh, by the way, he also needed the dream as he had forgotten what it was. When Daniel showed the dream and its interpretation, the king wanted to know how that he could know this. David replied, ‘But there is a God in heaven…”
I want to begin this week by looking at the Big God in Chapter 2 as ‘The God Of Revelation’. In order to know this Big God He must be ‘revealed’. The word is used five times in Chapter 2 in verses 5,16,19,27, and 28. This word means to uncover, to strip away, to bring or carry into clarity, to disclose or cause to discover, and to cause to appear clearly. The number 5 is the number of grace so we see that Daniel is revealing to us the Sovereign Grace of our Big God.
Look with me to Chapter 2 and verses 21-22 and see ‘His Authority Over Temporal Things’. We are told He changeth the times. He changes not but can will an alteration even to alter time itself. He removeth and setteth up those in earthly authority. The words mean to cause to be removed or established in a position over. Our President is in a position that God ordained and not the people’s vote. We see in verses 21-22 ‘His Authority Over Eternal Things’. We are told our Big God giveth wisdom. This is wisdom that comes only from above. It is always right. In verse 22 we are told our God revealeth deep things and can make known what is in the dark. He has total recognition and knowledge of all things, not only before they happen but also He is the one who ordained their happening.
He is so big He could send men to Hell before they could go home and pack a suitcase. Why, He can send men to Hell with their clothes on their backs. Men couldn’t even curse unless He gave them the breath to curse. He is so big He sent 26,000 sons of Korah to Hell in one day with their clothes on. In Noah’s day He sent 3 billion people to Hell in a flood. They all drowned looking at the outside of the Ark of safety. I assure you there was no smiley face and banner saying ‘God loves you’ on the bow of the Ark. O God, reveal to us a God so big and with such authority that we see He is over all things, in all places, and at all times. May we just not only believe it but also live it in our daily lives, methods, and reactions to life.
Big God Theology 2
We continue this week in our study of Daniel and the subject of ‘Big God Theology’. I looked last time at Daniel’s statement in 2:28a, “But there is a God in heaven…” Here we were studying ‘The God Of Revelation’. We found that He must reveal Himself as ‘The God Of Authority’.
In 2:19-20 and 23a we find that He will reveal Himself as ‘The God To Be Adored’. When Daniel is asked by the King as to how he found the dream and its interpretation he replied to the King, ‘Let us praise God for His Pre-eminent height’. In verse 20a Daniel says, “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever:” The word ‘blessed’ means to kneel while giving abundant adoration. In verse 23a Daniel says of God, “I thank thee, and praise thee,” The word ‘thank’ means to bemoan with words of high praise with the hands up and palms extended outward. The word ‘praise’ means to give loud words of commendation. In 2:23a, can you imagine this young Jew boy kneeling before an earthly king with hands in the air giving words of loud commendation to a heavenly King as the only King. This would certainly be grounds for execution under most circumstances. But those actions will be the beginning key to breaking this old king’s heart. My, how Holy Ghost filled worship of something bigger than ourselves will cause the most hardened sinners to get in or get out.
In verse 23 Daniel mentions the God to be adored under the terms of ‘Let us praise God for His present help’. Daniel speaks of God making it known unto him now. Daniel said, I asked God about the dream and He told me. He is a God who wants to help us and wants to help us right now. He is a present help in time of trouble. Matter of fact, He made solutions before problems. What came first, birds or air, fish or water, trees or dirt? The solution was before the problem. What came first, sin or a Saviour? Long before God had a sin problem in the garden He had slain a Lamb before the foundation of the world. O Lord, reveal to your people a God so big we must bow and adore Him.
Daniel is also speaking of God being revealed in verses 29-30 as ‘The God Of Awareness’. He knows the secret things, He knows what is in the dark, and He knows what we say or think. ‘He is aware of our future life.’ He knows the end from the beginning. ‘He is aware of our fleshly life’. In verses 29-30 Daniel tells the king that God knew his secret life and even the motives and intentions of his heart.
He is revealed to us as ‘The God with answers’. ‘He has answers to the impossible questions.’ In verses 25-28a we see that Daniel knows the forgotten dream of the king. How can this be unless God reveals it? ‘He has answers with incredible quickening.’ The wise men in 2:11 said only the ‘God people’ have that kind of answers. In verse 44-45 Daniel reveals to the king the dream of a rolling stone who was none other than Christ the God man.
He came from the bosom of the Father to the bosom of the woman. The Son of God became the Son of Man that we might become the Sons of God. He was born by a virgin mother contrary to the laws of nature. He was born in poverty, reared in obscurity, only crossed the boundaries of His country once and that was in His childhood. He had no wealth or influence and no education in the world’s schools. His relatives were nobodies with no social influences. In His infancy He puzzled a King, in his boyhood He baffled the Doctors of Theology and in manhood He ruled the courses of nature. He walked on the billows and hushed the seas to sleep. He healed the multitude without medicine and charged nothing for His service. He never wrote a book though all the libraries of the world could not contain the whole of what has been written about Him. He never wrote a song but produced the theme for more songs than there are songwriters. He never founded a school yet no one could boast of as many students as He has. He has healed so many hearts yet never claimed to be a heart doctor. Jesus is the Star of Astronomy, the Rock of Geology, Lion and Lamb of Zoology, the Harmonizer of all Discord, and Healer of all Diseases. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Satan couldn’t seduce Him. Death couldn’t destroy Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. He is Nebuchadnezzar’s stone sitting high upon the throne of the universe that I might be able to say, ‘On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
Big God Theology 3
Let us turn our hearts again this week to the book of Daniel. Our theme has been a study of “Big God Theology”. I want to meditate in the study on Daniel 3:1-18. May we take time to read this text before we begin to unpack these truths. In this section I want us to see ‘He Is The God Of Refinement’. This is the chapter in which Nebuchadnezzar places the three Hebrew children in the fire. How can God put folks in the fire and they are not burned? How can God cause good to come out of bad? How can God take depraved, dead, and deplorable sinners and make them like Himself? He is the God of refinement. The fire of refinement will involve physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial suffering. There are two relationships to His fire. One is to refine us and the other is to condemn us. Oh, I want to be rightly related to His fire. His refinement will involve ‘The Trial Of Your Faith’. Job said, ‘When He hath tried me I shall come forth as pure gold.’ Peter said, ‘Think it not strange when fiery trials come your way.’
In the trial of the faith of the three Hebrew boys we find in 3:1a ‘A Consideration Of Their Trial’. The King made an image of gold. Every time God creates something Satan will duplicate it. My Grandma said ‘everything that shines is not gold.’ In verse 7 we see the great arena of trial is that all were bowing to this image when the musicians played. Let us be careful when the majority is going, saying, or doing it. Our Lord has always in every generation had a small minority on the narrow road to life. I am free to do anything I want to do but as Paul said all things are not expedient. The word means best for me. My only real freedom is the freedom to be like our King, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Chapter 3, verse 12 we find ‘A Conclusion Of Their Trial’. When these three Hebrew boys refused to bow they were brought to the king. The soldiers said to the king that these three have not ‘regarded’ thee. The word ‘regard’ means they don’t think you are in charge or have sole authority over them. When we are asked to do things contrary to the Word of God we better have come to the conclusion of who is our sole authority. Peter said ‘we better obey God rather than men.’ The king felt they had not heard the music so he played it again. Once again every one bowed but these three boys stood alone before the king. The king cried out in 3:15 saying, “…who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” If they get out of this situation it will take a ‘Big God’.
In 3:16-18 we find there is ‘A Confession In Their Trial’. They are told they are going to be thrown in the fiery furnace. The Hebrew children said our God will deliver us, ‘but if not, we will not bow down to your image.’ O King, know if you throw us in the fire we will be walking the streets of God before you get back to the palace. Lord give us a ‘But if not’ mentality. It matters not how life goes if I have a ‘but if not’ plan that causes me to follow Him without regard to my circumstances. It is my desire to be emotionally and mentally stable, ‘but if not’ I will follow Him. I desire to make a basic living ‘but if not’ I will follow Him. Let us not let life or circumstances threaten us with heaven. A ‘but if not’ mentality always believes it’s expectations are from the Lord. Whatever the Lord sends that is what I was expecting. Let our fiery trials not take us out of our rest of life. Peter said, ‘When fiery trials come do not threat them as strangers’ When trouble comes to the door tell them to come on in because I have been expecting you. Tell your trials it matters not what you do to me. I would rather be triumphant over my trials ‘but if not’ I have the confidence that I will walk the streets of gold once the fiery trial of refinement is concluded.
Big God Theology 4
We continue this week to muse through the book of Daniel in our study of Big God Theology. We started to see last time that “He Is The God Of Refinement”. I brought to our attention the ‘Trial Of Your Faith’. It is during the time of refining trials that we will see Him manifested as a Big God.
This week I turn our attention to ‘The Testimony Of His Followers’. The word ‘his’ in our outline stands for Nebuchadnezzar’s followers. Our God will put us in the fires of trouble often so others can watch our response. I feel He placed these three boys in the fire so that the king’s followers could see the bigness of the God of the Bible. What testimony are we giving to others in our time of fiery trials?
Let us look first of all at the ‘Enlightenment Of His Followers’. In verse 20 we are told that the men who threw these three Hebrew boys in the fire were ‘mighty’ men. The word mighty means valiant warriors. In verse 19 they set the fires seven times hotter. These men were in great physical shape. They were mighty in battle. They were good at making fires but they had no spiritual discernment. They knew the art of physical fire but they knew nothing of the spiritual fires of our God. Oh, my friend let me be weak, helpless, fearful, no gifts, of no ability, can’t even boil water, but know Him who identifies Himself as the God who is a consuming fire. That fire will either condemn and consume or warm and comfort us depending upon our relationship to the furnace keeper of the fire.
In verse 22 we find ‘The Experiences Of His Followers’. These mighty men have listened to the Hebrew boys response to the king. There is no evidence of a struggle while they are binding their hands. They are in a rest mode and an easy yoke. The circumstances are not stealing their joy. Happenings are not taking away their happiness. These men are seeing a Big God people’s response to trouble. I cannot help but believe these boys spoke softly to these men warning them about the God of the consuming fire. This was to be their final warning. There is no evidence these men made any response. Let us be careful in our response to our troubles. Our response is either preaching the Gospel to others or making it of no affect.
I notice in verse 22 ‘The End Of His Followers’. This fire was so hot it slew these mighty men. In a matter of seconds after dealing with the three Hebrew boys they were in eternity. More than likely, of course I am not the judge, they went to Hell with their clothes on. I wonder who will go to Hell from our presence? Will they have heard a clear-cut warning of the Gospel? My wife had an uncle and cousin who recently passed away. I feel by their own testimony they were lost. I fear to ever see them again. I sat in their presence on many occasions. I know if they are given the opportunity they will ask me why I didn’t warn them about the God who is a consuming fire. Let us show forth Christ in our response to trouble.
Big God Theology 5
We are studying the Book of Daniel. I find that Daniel and the three Hebrew boys have a Big God. I have been musing on the fact that He is the ‘God Of Refinement’. We have looked at two subjects thus far, ‘The Trial Of Your Faith’, and ‘The Testimony Of His Followers’. Let us look today at verse 23, which says, “And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.”
I find in verse 23a ‘The Test Of Our Position’. The Bible said that they ‘fell down’. This is a position of humility. It is not a position that is easily attained. It will take us off our high horse and bring us low. If I think I am a humble person there is a good chance that I am not one. True humility is a rare exotic plant seldom found on earth. Let us be careful of false humility. The refiner’s fire burns away pride. Pride is never more ugly than when pretending to be humble. May there be less of me and more of Him. May I decrease while He increases. Peter said for us ‘to be clothed with humility for God resisteth the proud but giveth grace to the humble.’ The fires of trouble will bring us down low.
I find also in our text there is ‘The Test Of Our Practice’. How often in a time of trouble we will find ourselves to be tight with no freedom in the midst of our trouble. It seems like the Heavens are brass. The Bible is a dead book and God is silent. Let me assure us God never intended the refiner’s fire to cause this to be our practice. The text tells us in verse 23b they “…fell down bound into the midst…” The word ‘bound’ means that which retrains or impedes forward progress. Oh, how trials can bind us up in our relationship to the God of refinement. Let me assure us that God never meant this to be our practice. There is only one thing affected or lost in the fire by the three Hebrew boys. In 3:24 the King asks, “Did not we cast three men bound into the…fire?” “They answered…True, O king.” The king said ‘I see four men loose, walking in the …fire, and the fourth is like the Son of God.” In the fire they were set free and walking n fellowship with the Son of God. Look for Him in the fire. He will not bind us but set us free.
I see in verse 23c there is ‘The Test That Is Pointed’. We find the three boys ‘in the midst’ of the fire. This phrase indicates the center of the fire. For the most part when we are in the fire we want out. These boys are moving to the hottest point, which is the center. Let us remember our Lord is not interested in getting us out of the fire but taking care of us in the fire. In the midst of the fire they found Him. They were down low, below the smoke and saw the Son of God because the view was 20/20.
In the early 100’s there was a big God preacher by the name of Polycarp who was a convert of John the Beloved. He was sentenced to die for preaching the gospel. He was asked before the execution to deny Christ. He said, ‘These 86 years that I have known Him He has never done me wrong.’ He asked not to be nailed to the stake to be burned. He promised not to move. When the fire was set it refused to come near Polycarp. In disgust the soldiers ran a sword through his heart and the blood put out the fire.
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace all-sufficient shall be thy supply. The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine. That soul tho all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never, forsake.
I am glad I have a big God. He is the God of Refinement who is in charge of the furnace where we are made into His likeness
Big God Theology 6
Let us continue our study of the book of Daniel. Our theme is Big God Theology. My, what a big God these four men worshipped with all of their hearts.
We turn our attention today to a section of Daniel that deals with Nebuchadnezzar’s sin. In Daniel 4:19-27 we find this Big God to be ‘The God Of Restoration’. Restoration involves the necessity of patience, perseverance, and persistence on the part of the restorer over the one being restored. Man is not easily restored. The God of Restoration looks for genuine repentance from the one who needs to be restored. Repentance is a radical change of mind about sin, which results in a 180-degree turn away from that sin.
As we begin to look at the restoration process I see in our meditation ‘The Stumping Of The King’. In verses 22-23 of chapter 4 I find a ‘Picture Rehearsed About Stumping’. Oh, how this king has been given multiple opportunities to repent. There was the dream of the stone that is a glorious picture of the Rock of Ages. The fourth man in the fire is truly a glimpse of the Son of God. Yet he lifts himself up in pride that all he has is of his own doing. God has enough in verse 23 and sends the watchman to cut him down like a tree but leaves a stump. The watchman is to chain him to the stump as a brute beast for seven years. Our God knows how to stump the proud of this world. I am reminded of Peter’s three denials. The text said that Peter denied Him again and again and again. When we fail to listen to our Lord’s strong call to repentance we leave Him no choice but to leave us stumped.
In verse 27 of this stumping process I find ‘A Plea About Repentance From Sin’. The king is told to ‘break off’ his iniquities and sins. The phrase ‘break off’ means to disconnect by rending or tearing in pieces by a very violent action. We cannot embrace sin. It will stump us beyond belief. The word ‘sin’ means to miss the mark so as not to share in the prize. The word ‘iniquities’ means to step over the designated boundary line set down by God. How can one deal with sin and iniquity and bypass stumping?
The king is told to break off sin by righteousness. Righteousness speaks of that which can only be imputed by Christ. Christ came, took one shot and hit the bull’s eye dead center. He robed me in righteousness, handed the bow to me and said to make His shot my shot and smile for the picture. This position, when reckoned upon, frees one from the practice of sin and iniquities. Iniquities are conquered by showing mercy. The mercy of God is Him withholding from us what we deserve. When one meditates on mercy he is freed from all practice of iniquity. What is to be gained by this victory? The text says in verse 27 that there will be the ‘lengthening of the tranquility’. The phrase means to make longer ones security and prosperity of clean hands and a pure heart. God is pleading with man to repent. How can we do less that repent? Let us turn from every sin less we hear the spiritual chain saw of the watchmen coming to stump us.
Big God Theology 7
We began, last week, in our study of Daniel and Big God Theology to look at Him as the God of Restoration. We looked last time at ‘The Stumping Of The King.’ Today I want to turn our attention to ‘The Speech From The King’. It is here we find the situation of which God demanded the king be restored from. The more I look at it, I find we have done and are doing far worst ourselves.
In verse 29-30a I find ‘A Speech Of Presumption’. The king says ‘is not this great Babylon?’ He sees greatness in temporal things. I don’t doubt we do far greater, if not in our words then in our actions. Let us not forget that every temporal thing we spend so much time and energy to get will one day go up in smoke. In 4:30b we find ‘A Speech Of Pride’. The king speaks of what he has built by his might and power. He fails to acknowledge God in all that has been done. It is very foolish for us to take any credit for anything that has been done. Oh, how often we do far worst in our failure to acknowledge Him in all our ways.
In 4:31-34 I find ‘The Suffering For The King’. If this king suffers so severely for what he has done we should have long since suffered the wrath of God. Our God has been so merciful and long suffering to us in our presumption and pride.
I notice in 4:31-32 this king is ‘Suffering That Which Is Beyond Unbelievable’. In verse 31 while he is talking, the kingdom falls from his power. He becomes a beast with claws, his hair grows out to the point it looks like feathers. He is chained to a stake by a brass hook. It is there he lives for 7 years and eats grass. You may say that this seems severe. Let us remember God does not take lightly presumption and pride before Him.
In 4:34 I find ‘The Suffering That Brings Understanding’. We find that while living chained in the grass at the end of 7 years the king looks up and his understanding returns to him. He begins to worship God by blessing, praising, and honoring Him that liveth forever. The word ‘blessed’ means to bow in adoration. ‘Praise’ means to pacify another with loud words of commendation. ‘Honored’ means to have something to swell up in you to the point it becomes bigger than life. It sure seems to me that the king looking up has caused him to catch a life-changing glimpse of a Big God.
Big God Theology 8
We are studying these days the Book of Daniel with the theme in mind of Big God Theology. For the last few weeks we have been looking at Him as ‘The God Of Restoration’.
We have looked at several great truths in Nebuchadnezzar’s plight on the road to being fully restored to the only wise God.
Let us look today at Chapter 4, verses 35-37 and ‘The Sovereign Over The King’. Take some time before you read my article and read our text. These are the clearest verses in the entire Bible to picture just how big our God is.
In verse 35 I find ‘God’s Reigning Of Sovereignty’. Let us remember these are the words of Nebuchadnezzar after eating grass for seven years and then to experience a spiritual awakening to the King of all Kings. He speaks of God’s view of all the inhabitants of the earth. God reputed them as nothing. The word ‘repute’ means to give the estimate or value of something. The word ‘nothing’ is our word for a zero with the rim rubbed out. In Isaiah 40, God said, the inhabitants of the earth look to Him like a bunch of grasshoppers camping out in a pup tent. Oh, to see ourselves as God sees us. We are of no value. We are but dust to Him. The only thing that gives us value is if we are the house where His Son resides. The earthly king says of God in verse 35 that He does according to His will in heaven and earth. You cannot stop Him or say to Him, ‘What are you doing?’ To believe this you will have to set aside the exercise of your will. To believe this you will not make great claims to have your free will of choice. To know Him and His will is to know that your will only takes you away from God, never toward Him. Any act of our free will is an act of rebellion and rejection of His will. His will is never our will.
In verses 36-37 I find ‘Nebuchadnezzar’s Restoration Of Sovereignty’. While he is giving glory to the God of Heaven, all the honor of his earthly kingship is returned to him. In verse 37 it seems he wants to spend his life giving God all the glory because he now knows that God is able to abase those who walk in pride.
Let us remember the road to being restored to God is not always a smooth journey. Because of our free will we continue to think we can work it out our self. David had a long road between the night with Bathsheba, the murder of her husband and, Psalm 23:3 where he says, ‘He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His names sake.’ The road for David also held the death of the baby conceived by Bathsheba, his son raped his sister, while the other son killed the brother who raped the sister. The son killed by his brother was then hung in a tree by his hair and one of David’s army generals shot him with an arrow.
At the end of this restoration process David was able to say, ‘It is good for me that I have been afflicted that I might learn thy statutes.’ I am glad He is a Big God who is winning to restore but the price tag is often expensive.
Big God Theology 9
Let us turn again our attention to the book of Daniel where we have been looking at a study of ‘Big God Theology’. I want to begin to look at Chapter 5 where we find that ‘He Is A God Of Retribution’. Many see God as a celestial Santa Claus throwing everyone candy kisses. I hear some say my God’s not like that or my God wouldn’t do that. You are probably right. Your God wouldn’t but the God of the Bible would. The word ‘retribution’ means a reward or punishment suitable to the action done. It seems like from the definition as well as born out in life, there is a good and bad retribution.
This chapter deals with Nebuchadnezzar’s son Belshazzar who has taken over the kingdom at the time of his fathers’ death. Let us turn our thoughts to Chapter 5 and verses 1-4 and ‘The Lawlessness Of Rebellion’. In verse 1 I find ‘The Discernment Of Wisdom’. I fear Belshazzar had the groundwork for discernment laid when his father was chained and eating grass for seven years.
There is no reason for this grand party to entertain the thousands. It was purely for pleasure. I am not surprised. Every generation has been a pleasure and amused crazed people and this was no different. The wisdom to have this party is not that which comes from above but below. James said, ‘The wisdom from above is first pure and then peaceable. It produces the fruits of righteousness.’
In verse 2 I find ‘The Desecration Of Worship’. Belshazzar took the gold and silver vessels that were set aside for worship and used them in a time of pleasure. His father brought them home from the Temple when Israel fell into captivity. Let us be careful of using eternal things in a temporal setting. Don’t sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the temporal. Oh, how often we are guilty of putting the temporal above the eternal. It is extremely dangerous.
In verses 1b, 2c, 3c, and 4 I find ‘The Drinking Of Wine’. How often in a time of pleasure man desires to numb himself with the drinking of wine. I have heard all the arguments trying to convince us that drinking wine is all right. Proverbs 31:4-5 says, “It is not for kings to drink wine…Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment…” The text is telling us that drinking can lead to a lack of discernment. John tells us in Revelation 1:6 that God has made us both kings and priests.
Let us remember we can numb ourselves with pleasure and drink if we like. We can overlook our failures and shortcomings because of a lack of discernment but do remember he is a God of Retribution.
Big God Theology 10
We continue to study our theme of Big God Theology from the backdrop of Daniel and the three Hebrew boys. The last study found us looking at Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar. I find in the son’s life that this Big God is ‘A God Of Retribution’. Retribution is a reward or punishment suitable for the action.
Today our study takes us to Daniel 5:5 where we find in the realm of retribution you can ‘look for reaping’. Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap. The way of the transgressor is hard.
In verse 5 after the king defies God by using the Holy vessels for an earthly purpose he sees ‘The Hand Of Reaping’. The text tells us that while they are drinking and having a good time the ‘hand of God’ appears and begins to write on the wall. I don’t think it is a note to the king telling him what a fine job he has done. I would rather have His hand on me than against me. To some His hand can be such a source of comfort to others a great source of condemnation. It is the same hand that flung the stars in space. It is the hand that lifted the little children up into His arms. The same hand that touched blinded eyes, healed a leper, and touched deathbeds has now come out against this king. It has come with a message of sowing and reaping.
In verse 6 I find ‘The Horror Of Reaping’. It seems that man is never ready to reap the whirlwind of what he has sown. The Bible says ‘his countenance was changed’. The word means a noticeable alteration. His ‘thoughts were troubled’. The phrase means to be suddenly agitated and terrified. His ‘knees were knocking’ and ‘his joints were loose’ and he went to the ground. O, how quickly the Big God can melt the frame of a mere man. You always reap what you sow. You always reap more than you sow and often you reap where you didn’t sow. The Bible says we can reap to the 5th and 6th generations. For me that could involve 600-700 people by my 5th and 6th generation. Let me be so careful what I reap spiritually before the Lord. I am reminded of planting a corn seed and if it is a hybrid seed it will produce first a shoot, then a stalk taller than the average man. It will have silk tasseled at the top. Can you imagine all of that in one small seed? There will be 8 ears on the stalk and each one will have 200 kernels of corn. That amounts to a ratio of 1600 to 1 of sowing and reaping. Lord, let me be careful in sowing sin. Let me sow righteousness and reap a big crop of God righteousness in my grandchildren and great grandchildren.
In verses 16-17 I find ‘The Hearing Of The Reaper’. He told Daniel the he had heard that he could give the interpretation of strange things. The king says if Daniel can tell him what the message on the wall means he will give him clothes of scarlet, a gold chain, and make him third in the kingdom. Daniel told him that he could keep his gifts because he had plenty. In verses 19-20 he takes the king on a walk down memory lane. He reminds him of the retribution his Daddy suffered for sin. Daniel told him that he might have thought that his Daddy was a mad man but it was while he was out there eating grass for seven years that he met the God of Heaven. The life his Dad had lived prior to that had already affected him for unrighteousness. He that soweth to the flesh will of the flesh reap the whirlwind. He that sows to the flesh will reap corruption. Job said, ‘Even as I have seen’. He is speaking for first hand observation. They that plow iniquity and sow wickedness reap the same. It is such a simple principle but so hard to get into our heart of practice. I remind us of Paul’s words of ‘Be not deceived. God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.’
Big God Theology 11
We continue this week to study our Big God and His relationship to Belshazzar in Daniel 5:19-22. God shows to the king ‘He Is The God Of Retribution’. I have studied two truths thus far under this heading, ‘The Lawlessness Of Rebellion’ and ‘The Looking For Reaping’.
Let us look today at ‘The Lord Of Remembrance’. Daniel has been called to read the writing on the wall. I am amazed at how God will cross His T’s and dot His I’s. He shuts the mouths of sinners and leaves them without excuse. He will never send men to Hell without excuse. Instead of telling the interpretation of the writing Daniel tells the king, ‘you know all about your Daddy but you humbled not your heart before the Lord’. (5:22) It seems to me that humility of heart is not something that man can do of his own free will, but it is a divine act of the sovereign God.
I find in this section that Daniel reminds the king of three great truths about the Lord. The first one Daniel tells him is ‘You Know That He Is The God That Abases’. In Daniel 4:37 after his seven-year separation from the God of Heaven, his father shares with all, the greatest lessons he learned. Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Those who walk in pride, God is able to abase.’ The word ‘abase’ means to humble, to put down or subdue. In reminding the king of his father’s message, Daniel is asking the king; didn’t you listen to what your father said? Oh, how often we do not earn from others mistakes. We think we can go down the same road as they and not suffer similar consequences. Let me remind us that we cannot take the fire of sin into our bosom and not be burned.
I find also that Daniel reminds the king of the fact ‘You Know He Is The God Who Makes Aware’. The word, ‘knewest’ means to cause one to recognize and know with certainty. Your father made you aware of all. You even heard the story of the stone rolling down and tearing an empire apart, but yet you humbled not your heart. I wonder how many will go to Hell from the pews of churches with full knowledge in their heads of what God requires from a man to go to Heaven.
In verses 23-30 Daniel tells the king, ‘You Know He Is The God Who Will Abandon’. You gave all your praise to the gods of silver and gold. You gave no praise to the God of Heaven who has your very breathe in His hand.
It is now that Daniel begins to read the words on the wall. In verse 26 the first phrase says, ‘O King your kingdom is finished’. In verse 27 the phrase says, ‘King, you think you have it all but you have nothing.’ The phrase of verse 28 says,’ Your kingdom will be divided.’ A kingdom divided cannot stand. In verse 30, a very short time later, the king is killed and stands face to face with the God of retribution and may have gone to Hell with his clothes on. Retribution is a punishment suitable for the actions one has done. Let us be aware in our story that the stone of God is rolling on.
Big God Theology 12
Let us continue to study the great truth of Big God Theology from the Book of Daniel. Today let us conclude our thoughts on ‘He Is The God Of Retribution’. I have found in my study that there is retribution for doing wrong seen very clearly in the life of Belshazzar the king. In the life of Daniel we see there are ‘Lessons Of Righteousness’ and retribution for doing right.
I find in Daniel 5:29 he is ‘Clothed With Royalty’. Remember Daniel is of Jewish descent. He has been in Babylon since he was a young boy. He is now an old man. The scarlet robe was one of the king’s robes. This was the robe only a Gentile king would wear. Belshazzar doesn’t say anything about the words on the wall. It seems as though he is passing temporary authority over to Daniel. He is also ‘Chained With Rulership’ This was the crest of authority and he places Daniel 3rd in command. The text tells us in 5:30 that Belshazzar was slain that night by Darius the king of the Medians.
In Chapter 6 and verses 1 and 3 I find the ‘Commission Of Repetition’. Daniel was declared to be 1st President under Darius the king. Daniel seems to be like the Energizer Bunny. He keeps on going and going. He has now been a high up official in three world empires. He was high up in Nebuchadnezzar’s, Belshazzar’s, and now in Darius’s kingdom. There will be yet one more kingdom in Chapter 10, verse 1 where we find Daniel high up in the kingdom of Cyrus, the king of Persia. God truly keeps His word when He says, ‘He resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble’. Daniel has truly walked humbly before his Lord and time after time he has been highly exalted. Many never connect the dots of God’s retribution program. He gives to some while withholding from others. He can cause some to reap where they never sowed. He comes to some with a hand of condemnation while the same hand to others is a comfort. He causes some to see good come out of bad while to others it is nothing but bad they see. He can lift some while putting others down. He can cause some to be in the light and cause the same light to be darkness to others. Who is He? Why, He is the God of Retribution. I saw the results of a hurricane some time ago on the North Carolina coast. I told some that I wanted to find out who caused this and make sure that I was on the ‘ins’ with them and not the ‘outs’.
If He is the God of Retribution what does He expect from me? I feel it can be summed up in the words of this song.
Dare To Be A Daniel
Standing by a purpose true, Heeding God’s command,
Honor then the faithful few! All hail to Daniel’s Band.
Hold the Gospel banner high, on to victory grand!
Satan and his host defy and shout for Daniel’s Band.
Dare to be a Daniel, Dare to stand alone.
Dare to have a purpose firm. Dare to make it known.
It has been 3,00 years since Belshazzar and Daniel lived. Belshazzar may still be receiving retribution in Hell, though I am not his judge, while Daniel is still clipping the coupons of righteous retribution in the presence of a Big God in Heaven.
Big God Theology 13
Let us begin today to bring to a conclusion our study of Daniel’s Big God. We will study the subject for another 2 or 3 weeks and look at this Big God as ‘He Is The God Of Rest’. I am interested in the text of Daniel 6:3 where the Bible says that “…an excellent spirit was in him;” This goes along with our study of the God Of Rest. God’s rest is always amazing. It is always the inward as manifested to the outward. It is never dependent on outward circumstances. His oath, His covenant, His blood supports me in the whelming flood; when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. Rest cannot be explained. It must be experienced. If you need it explained, more than likely it has never been experienced. In the words of a preacher friend after a message, ‘that kind of preaching will get in the bed with you.” May the need for an experience of true rest get in the bed with us. A great preacher, Jonathan Edwards, was run off from a church as one said of him later, “He appeared to be a man whose happiness was out of the reach by his circumstances.”
I want us to see that ‘He Found Rest In The Habits Of Holiness’. ‘Daniel Practiced The Habits Of Holiness When Forbidden.’ In 6:10 he knew the writing was signed but he did as before. What decrees had been signed? The other presidents who could not understand the excellent spirit in Daniel got the king to send out a decree that anyone caught praying to anyone but the king was to be thrown in the lion’s den. Peter said in the book of Acts, ‘We ought to obey God rather than man.’ If you and I will not practice holiness while we are at liberty to do so, we will not practice them when they are forbidden.
‘Daniel Practiced The Habits Of Holiness With Faithfulness.’ In verse 10 we find he did as he did before. He did in the present what he had done in the past. Daniel prayed three times a day and the writing did not deter his faithfulness and so much the more even as the day the writing was signed. Rest is not found in super spiritual things but in the mundane spiritual exercise of day in and day out practices of holy living. We will find our greatest rest will come from our daily quiet time of prayer and Bible study.
‘Daniel Practiced The Habits Of Holiness With Fervency’. The text says in 6:10 that he kneeled three times a day and gave thanks before his God. The word thanks means to kneel with hands extended, palms upward, while giving words of loud praise. Let us remember he always opened the window toward home, he always kneeled, always prayed out loud and there would be no change today just because a human said he couldn’t. The text said it was all done before his God. Let us be more concerned with the fact that God is watching than that man is looking. We will find great rest for our souls in our faithful practice of holiness. Let us have a time each day that we have an appointment with the Lord to pray and read His word. If there is more outward advances toward Him there will be less inward decline away from Him. Let not man or circumstances keep us from our habit of being alone with our God. We will find rest even when all around our soul is giving away.
Big God Theology 14
We will look this week at some final remnants from Daniel’s Big God. I guess you can tell that I like to close. This is my second week with closing remarks and the way it looks now there are two more ‘and finally’ coming. We have been looking at this Big God and the fact of ‘He Is The God Of Rest’. I want us to see ‘He Found Rest From The Head Of Horrors’. The ‘he’ speaks here of Daniel and the heads of horror were the other presidents that had the lion’s den decree drafted.
I want us to see in verses 3-5 ‘Daniel Rested In Their Exception’. The key to the president’s exception is found in verse 3. There was an excellent spirit found in Daniel. This phrase can be written; ‘a spirit of excellence’ was in him. When God dwells in us it will be displayed on our outward man and the world will not be excited by this display of Christ likeness.
Let us see in verse 4 that these presidents examined Daniel and could find no error or fault in him except that he was always faithful. My friend, does this world find our lives to be without fault and but a display of God’s faithfulness. The exception clause was that they couldn’t find anything in Daniel’s life except with the law of his God. They probably said ‘who wants a God that demands we pray three times a day’. While they examined and made exception Daniel rested in his Big God.
I see in our study of 6:7 that ‘Daniel Rested In Their Edict’. All of the leaders came together and established a royal statute and a firm decree. The decree stated that if you prayed to anyone but the king you would be thrown in the lion’s den. We cannot ever look to man to take care of us or supply our needs. Peter said, ‘We must obey God rather than man.’ The world can develop its laws that will cause us to be forced to decide between obeying God or man but we can always rest in the edicts of man, no matter what they develop, that God will take care of us.
In 6:4 ‘Daniel Rested In Their End’. Once Daniel spent the night with the lions and was safe the king commanded that they were to bring the men who had accused Daniel. Their wives along with their children were to be brought also. How I am reminded that our sinful decisions don’t just affect us but those we care for most. The king commanded that they be thrown in the lion’s den. Daniel didn’t try to stop them but rested in their end. His Big God knows best. The text tells us the same lions that never touched Daniel had the master over his enemies. The word indicates that they had their way with them. The text tells us they broke all their bones in pieces before they ever hit the ground. Oh, what a horrible death. How I am remind of a couple of lessons. One is ‘greater is He that is in us than he that is in the lion’s den’. The second lesson is to be ‘careful in touching God’s man’. The lion’s den may be your fearful end.
Big God Theology 15
Let us study once more Daniel’s Big God Theology. This week we will look at Daniel 6:16-23 and the fact that ‘He Is A God Of Rest’. Daniel has found several points of rest in our Big God. Today let us look at this truth; ‘He Found Rest Among The Hounds Of Hell’. The ‘he’ in our title is Daniel. The ‘hounds of Hell’ are the presidents that order the decree of anyone found praying to any other but the earthly king. This would result in them being thrown in the lion’s den.
In verse 16 I find ‘Daniel Found Rest In The Word Of Promise’. I am amazed from whence this promise came. It is coming from the mouth of a pagan Gentile king. A lost man, if you can believe it. I wonder if the lost of this world see any God on us. It certainly will make all the difference. He told Daniel, ‘thy God whom thou servest continually, He will deliver thee.’ He saw in Daniel a great faithfulness to his God. He told Daniel that his God would deliver. The word has the idea that he has a hedge about Daniel for protection. Oh, how I am reminded that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world, or for Daniel, in the lion’s den.
Let me remind us that before you encounter your lion’s den, may God give you a promise that will sustain you in a dark hour. You cannot get a promise from God that suits your need if you are not in His Word.
I see in 6:22a ‘He Found Rest In The Work’s Of Power’. God shut the lion’s mouth. They had no power over Daniel. They later killed and ate a large group of people. If this be true, curl up, pillow your head on the devil, and rest until our God opens the door of the lion’s den for deliverance. The devil has no power over us unless it is given him from above. The devil might slobber on you, and gum you, but he can’t eat you. He has no teeth. The Lord pulled all his teeth at Calvary. Thank you Lord. I can live in the fact that greater is He that is in me than all the devil’s in Hell. I am reminded of the great missionary Jonathan Patton. The cannibals came to eat him night after night but never did. They later said they were afraid of the two shiny men on top of his hut. I am sure if God let the cannibals see the shiny men the lion’s could see them in the den.
I find in verse 22b and 23c ‘He Found Rest in The Witness Of Preservation’. Daniel said that there was no hurt upon him because innocency was found in him. The word ‘innocent’ is our word for a man of integrity. The word means a servant who does not have to be checked on. No one had to come by the lion’s den to see if Daniel was still holding on.
In verse 23c I find in the witness that Daniel ‘believed in his God’. The word ‘believe’ means to cast ones self in total reliance and dependency upon another.
Let the devil roar. He can’t come near me unless it is ordered of the Lord. Even than he can only mess with my body, he cannot come near my soul. That, my friend, causes me to rest.
Big God Theology 16
I would turn our attention to a final study of Daniel and Big God Theology. Let us look this week at Daniel 6:25-28 that this Big God is seen as ‘He Is The God Of Rest’. Let us look at this final thought that ‘Daniel Found Rest Like the Heights Of Heaven’. I see in verse 25 there is ‘The Heights Of Heaven’s Multiple Peace’. There are multiple facets of peace. There is the peace of God; it came at the time of salvation. It is wholeness and completeness. There is also the peace with God. There has been given to God’s people the ability to say, ‘nothing between my soul and the Saviour’. This pagan king Darius sees Daniel with multiple peace. The songwriter said it best with these words. ‘Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight, rolls a melody sweeter than psalm; In celestial like strains it unceasingly falls, o’er my soul like an infinite calm. Peace, peace! Wonderful peace, coming down from the Father above. Sweep over my spirit forever I pray, In fathomless billows of love.’ I know of no greater truth than God’s peace like the waves of the ocean rolling over us time and time again during the dark days of an encounter with Satan and his lion’s den.
I see in verses 26-27 ‘The Height Of Heaven’s Manifested Power’. This earthly king in verse 26 makes a decree about Daniel’s God. This lost pagan king says of Daniel’s God that He is a living God, a steadfast God and His kingdom shall not be destroyed and His dominion shall be until the end. This was a nice decree, pretty words, coming from a lost man about Daniel’s God but it changes nothing or states nothing about Daniel’s God. His God was all of this and more before the decree and long after this king lays in the dust of the earth, Daniel’s God ever liveth. We are told of His manifested power in verse 27. The king said God delivered, rescued, and worked signs and wonders in getting Daniel free from the lion’s den. It was blessed that the king recognized this power but long before this king and long after thinking our God worketh in a great manifested power we can be assured that it is not by our might and power that God does anything but it is by His Spirit.
In verse 28 we find ‘The Heights Of Heaven’s Manifested Prosperity’. This is not the first time but one of many over the years of time that Daniel has landed upon his feet at the top. How can it be that he keeps on keeping on? It is because he knows and lives with the Big God Of Rest. He knows the God who causes all of His people to operate in an easy yoke. It is not a double yoke of pulling the load 50 – 50. There is only one hookup. He pulls and we rest.
When I think of these truths of the Big God Of Theology I want to exclaim:
God is so Big, God is so Big, God is so Big
He’s so Big to me.
He reigns Supreme, He reigns Supreme, He reigns Supreme
He’s so Big to me.
He controls it all, He controls it all, He controls it all
He’s so Big to me.
He lives in me, He lives in me, He lives in me
He’s so Big to me.