God’s Story... For My Life - Sunday, February 23, 2014
Read Daniel 4:19-27
Upon hearing this, Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) was overcome for a time, frightened by the meaning of the dream. Then the king said to him, “Belteshazzar, don’t be alarmed by the dream and what it means.”
Belteshazzar replied, “I wish the events foreshadowed in this dream would happen to your enemies, my lord, and not to you! The tree you saw was growing very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. It had fresh green leaves and was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. That tree, your Majesty, is you. For you have grown strong and great; your greatness reaches up to heaven, and your rule to the ends of the earth.
“Then you saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it. But leave the stump and the roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven. Let him live with the animals of the field for seven periods of time.’”
Nebuchadnezzar’s pilgrimage with God is one of the themes of this book. In Daniel 2:47, he acknowledged that God revealed mysteries to Daniel. In Daniel 3:28-29, he praised the God who rescued Daniel’s friends. Despite Nebuchadnezzar’s recognition that God exists and works great miracles, in Daniel 4:30, he still did not acknowledge God as his Lord.
When Daniel understood Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he was stunned, and he wondered how to break the news. He told the king he wished what the dream foreshadowed would happen to the king’s enemies and not to Nebuchadnezzar. How could Daniel be so deeply grieved at the fate of Nebuchadnezzar—the king who was responsible for the destruction of Daniel’s home and nation? Daniel had forgiven Nebuchadnezzar, and so God was able to use Daniel.
Very often when we have been wronged by someone, we find it difficult to forget the past. We may even be glad when that person suffers. Forgiveness means putting the past behind us. Can you love someone who has hurt you? Can you serve someone who mistreated you? Ask God to help you forgive, forget, and love. God may use you in an extraordinary way in that person’s life!