At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. – Daniel 4:34
Every now and then, there are stories of treasures, mostly thousands of dollars found in items bought for little or nothing at thrift stores and garage sales. It could be famous paintings hidden by a dollar painting, a vase or jug thought to be of little value and thousands of dollars in a worn-out cushion. They end up for sale because of people not knowing the value, or simply forgetting that the money was hidden in a coat pocket, an old purse, or the like. But many times, forgetfulness is the culprit.
Because of the recent cold weather we experienced, I wore a jacket that I bought in Barcelona, Spain, just before the pandemic and found money in a pocket. To forget is human, and also by reason of convenience.
Our text today is based on forgetfulness by reason of convenient position convenience. Writing from Babylon during the time of the exile, Daniel tells of God’s miraculous power to protect those who belong to Him. God gave Daniel and his friends the ability to stand firm and to serve effectively in a hostile environment.
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, 90-feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plains of Dura in the province of Babylon. He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. Then, the herald loudly proclaimed, “This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language. As soon as you hear the sound of the horn and other musical instruments, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship, will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
Dear readers, this is a well-known story of three Hebrew young men – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – who refused the king’s command and were thrown into the fiery furnace, and Daniel into the lion’s den, but was saved by the almighty God – the same Daniel, interpreter of dreams, was promoted to prime minister.
One night, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of an enormous tree that stood in the middle of the land. The tree grew large and strong; its top touched the sky and was visible to the ends of the Earth. Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it, the beasts of the field found shelter, and the birds of the air lived in its branches. From it, every creature was fed. In this vision, a holy messenger gave instructions in a loud voice to “Cut down the tree, and trim off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals flee from under it and the birds from its branches. But let the stump and its roots, bound with iron and bronze, remain in the ground in the grass of the field. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the animals along the plants of the earth. Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of an animal till seven times pass by for him.” (Daniel 10:16)
Daniel is summoned by a perplexed king to interpret the dream. “O king, you are that tree. You have become great and strong, your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth.” In spite of this, because the king forgot the most-high God and thought that all things centered around him, God demoted him to the fields of the earth. But, this great and awesome God, this God of power and might, this Alpha and Omega, this God of the low and the high, this God of all peoples, kindred and tongues is able to make us remember just as or even more quickly than we can forget.
When the time was fulfilled I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the most-high. I honored and glorified Him who lives forever.
My dear people of The Bahamas, it is not the sun, sand and blue waters that make millions of people come to our shores, so that we may enjoy the good life. Never ever let us forget that it is the great God of the sun, sand and sea who created these 700 rocks, cays and islands. It is not the investors with their millions who come to invest here – it is God and God alone who created the investors and allowed them to invest in the wealth and beauty of His world. Lest we forget, it is God and God alone who is responsible for our very existence and who is fundamental to our continued success.
It is God and God alone who inspires leaders to do things that they otherwise would not do. Lest we forget, doing what folks want us to do is not leadership, but willful participation. Real leaders select noble objectives and ideals, then pursue them with such intensity that other people are drawn into the effort because they believe in the nobility of the cause. Lest we forget Timothy Gibson’s powerful statement, “See how the world marks the manner of your bearing!” – a line from “March on Bahamaland”, the Bahamian national anthem. Real leaders do not march to the beat of other people’s drums.
Today, in the precious name of Jesus, I pray for leaders and leadership. When leaders look in all places for answers instead of looking up, the people perish. From his despair, disappointment, confusion and forgetfulness, King Nebuchadnezzar looked up and acknowledged that God is God and beside Him, there is none other. Leadership and sanity were immediately restored to the path marked right. By lifting up your spiritual eyes today, to the everlasting hills, so will your everlasting help come.