Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Restoring the Sanity of a Nation

Reading: Daniel 4  
Do you have those moments when you wonder if we as a nation lost our sanity? Do you wonder how we seem to have come untethered from any semblance of truth? If not, this post is not for you. If like me you hear the news and at times find yourself perplexed as to how rational adults can (e.g.) seriously be discussing whether or not middle school boys should be allowed to dress in drag, then keep reading.

Or, if when seemingly normal adults (like our current President) argue that it is okay to have an abortionist take a developed baby from the mothers womb feet first until only the head remains inside, puncture the base of the baby’s skull with a surgical instrument, insert a catheter into the wound, and remove the baby's brain with a powerful suction machine, you wonder when and how sanity took a vacation in our society, then keep reading.

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had a dream which was very similar to the parable of the mustard seed.
I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous. 11The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth. 12Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the wild animals found shelter, and the birds lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed. (Daniel 4:10-12)
It turns out that this tree represents Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom which was truly one of the greatest kingdoms of the ancient world. But the dream continued with a angelic being coming down and ordering the tree to be cut down and destroyed with the stump remaining. In the interpretation of the dream we read:
"This is the interpretation, Your Majesty, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king: 25You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes. 26The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules. (Daniel 4:24-26)
All of this came to pass for Nebuchadnezzar. He boasted that the greatness of Babylon was by his own power and for his own glory (Daniel 4:30). Immediately, “he was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.” (Daniel 4:33)

After the time set by the Lord had passed, Nebuchadnezzar gives this testimony:
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. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. (Daniel 4:34)
True sanity is directly connected to whether or not we acknowledge God. Why? Because acknowledging God is acknowledging reality; denying God is denying reality. More importantly, God is actively at work in the minds of those who do not acknowledge Him, just as He was with Nebuchadnezzar. We see this in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Paul tells the Roman believers that the knowledge of God is plainly revealed in creation and that when we don't acknowledge God, we are actively suppressing the truth (Romans 1:18-25). In so doing, no matter how much we claim to be wise, we become fools. And God responds to this.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. (Romans 1:28)
The seeming insanity of our culture is not the cause of our problems but the effect of our problems—the effect of our suppression of the truth of God. In our suppression of the truth, we are really doing is either taking credit and glory for what God has done for ourselves like Nebuchadnezzar, or we are assigning the credit and glory to something other than God. Either way it is theft of the highest order—theft from God.

Now before you run from this blog and begin ranting about how we took prayer out of schools, ask whether or not you've taken prayer out of your personal life, or out of your family. Ask when the last time you attended your church's prayer meeting. Ask whether or not you acknowledge God with your finances and your time. We need to make sure that we ourselves are raising our eyes toward heaven and acknowledging God. Let's start with the house of God and our own households.

Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,

For another devotional on Daniel 4 see How Do You Keep Your Sanity?