Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Unless the Lord had been my help, I would soon have dwelt in the land where there is silence. When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ Your mercy and loving–kindness, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my anxious thoughts within me, Your comforts cheer and delight my soul.’”
Psalm 94: 17-19
Many years ago, after a very trying event in my life, I decided to read through the book of Psalms beginning with Psalm 1-150. While there are so many golden nuggets to be unearthed in the entire book, Psalm 94: 19 has become what I call a “go-to” word of encouragement, especially in times when life blankets me with anxious thoughts. As the Psalmist writes, the Lord had a solution for his anxiety. It is found in the word “comforts” which is only used twice in the Bible. It is found in Isaiah 57: 18 where God states that He has seen what is happening here on earth and He promises to bring healing. What’s more, God promises to “lead” His children. He will provide the direction we cry out for. But there’s more, God promises to “restore comforts” unto His children who are grieving.
As I noted, the word “comforts” is found twice in the Bible. Besides Isaiah, the other place is Psalm 94: 19 where the Psalmist says that God’s “comforts cheer and delight.” The word “comforts” found in Psalm 94: 19, in the Hebrew means “God brings consolation and solace” to us. In fact, the Hebrew likens God’s comforts to compassion. As the prophet Jeremiah tells us in Lamentations 3: 22, God’s “tender compassions fail not.” This means His comforts toward you and me are an unfailing gift as well. And as the prophet Isaiah also states, “We are consoled by the comforts of our Father.” Our mighty Guide does not have just one way to comfort each of us. He sends us “comforts”. He continuously provides us with delight, joy and solace for our souls.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.”
II Corinthians 1: 3-4
Today’s Study Text:
Text 1: “The king said, ‘Is not this the great Babylon that I have built as the royal residence and seat of government by the might of my power and for the honor and glory of my majesty?’” Daniel 4: 30, Amplified Bible
Text 2: “While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you.’” Daniel 4: 31, Amplified Bible
Text 3: “That very hour the thing was being fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and did eat grass like oxen and his body was wet with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds claws.” Daniel 4: 33, Amplified Bible
“Earthly Power Versus Heavenly Purpose” Part 3
“Who’s That In The Field?”
“Short is the glory that is given and taken by men and women; and sorrow followeth ever the glory of this world…But true glory and holy joy is to glory in Thee and not in one’s self; to rejoice in Thy name, and not to be delighted in one’s own virtue, nor in any creature, save only for Thy sake.”
Thomas a Kempis
What do I think it means to only “glory in Thee”?
Have I ever found myself taking glory to myself which in reality only belonged to God?
“We live in the gaslight of our earthly reason instead of the sunlight of our Father’s glory.”
Richard Meux Benson
“He (she) that speaketh of himself (herself) seeketh his (her) own glory; but he (she) that seeketh His glory that sent Him, the same is true, and no unrighteousnesss is in him (her).”
John 7: 18
“A person making things up tries to make herself (himself) look good. But someone trying to honor the ‘One’ who sent Him sticks to the facts and doesn’t tamper with reality.”
John 7: 18
The Message Bible
It had to be the talk of Babylon, that is unless King Nebuchadnezzar’s staff tried to keep it a secret that the king had become one of the residents in the palace field. Actually, it may not have been that difficult for the king’s mental state to be hidden from his subjects. Babylon was great! Babylon was large. In fact, Biblical historians point out that King Nebuchadnezzar could “boast as a city builder and planner…Tradition ascribed to him the ‘Hanging Gardens’ said to have been created on terraces overlooking the palace to remind his wife of her native Media.”
If we dig a little deeper, it is revealed that the vast city Nebuchadnezzar built was well-planned for there were a series of double defense walls covering seventeen miles and there were further safeguards for in the southwest there was an immense artificial lake.” But these weren’t the only notable building projects. Historians report “the city was supplied (with water) by canals bringing water from the River Tigris, while the River Euphrates, which bisected it, was spanned with bridges.”
If some of these names sound familiar, just take a moment to look at a current map of Iraq and you’ll find that our history and geography lessons from long ago should give us pause, as we see that the Ruler on High, God Almighty, whose words were fulfilled exactly as He stated in the time of King Nebuchadnezzar, is also the same God whose Rulership is no less as powerful today!
I find it quite interesting to see how Daniel’s description of what happened to this Babylonian ruler only serves to underscore the fact that despite the way we as humans in the 21st century might act, as if we are in total and complete control, behind the scenes God is always at work. Oh, we can ignore Him. We can mock Him. We can even say He doesn’t exist at all. It doesn’t change the fact that as the great hymn writer and poet, William Cowper, penned in 1774, “God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.” There’s a particular line in this hymn that one could think was written about the scene we witness in Scripture as the proud King Nebuchadnezzar, gazing on the work of his hands, lets out a loud boast formed as a question: “Is not this the great Babylon that I have built?” (Daniel 4: 30). However, Daniel tells us “that at that very hour the thing was in process of being fulfilled.” As one version put it, “while the words were still in Nebuchadnezzar’s mouth,” God had undertaken judgment at that immediate time upon the king who wanted only to bring glory to himself and who failed to recognize whose hand was in control over the entire universe. As William Cowper writes in the fifth stanza to his hymn: “(God’s) purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour.” And then Cowper ends with these final words: “Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan (God’s) work in vain; God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.”
Down through time, ruler after ruler, men as well as women, have arisen, claiming that theirs was the final word, taking upon themselves the glory of earthly power and wealth, when in fact our heavenly Father still holds sway over everyone of us. As the Theologian C. S. Lewis so succinctly stated in one of my favorite quotes: “A man (or woman) can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word darkness on the walls of his (or her) cell.”
I’d like to paraphrase these words to reflect the scene painted by God’s prophet in Daniel 4: “No human on earth today, can in any way diminish the glory of God by refusing to worship Him, than could King Nebuchadnezzar, as he crawled around, out of his mind, like an oxen in the grass, with his hair like birds feathers and fingernails like birds claws, shouting out the words at the top of his voice, “Look at the great Babylon that I have built!” What’s striking is that if we were to look for that great Babylon today, we wouldn’t find much more than a pile of rubble.”
This moment is Yours;
mine for You,
and Yours for me.
I need You,
I cannot survive without You;
and yet I go on rushing through life
as if I could do everything in my own strength.
I know that You care for me at all times,
and that I am always in Your hands;
but I still need to pause
and let my heart and spirit
be loved by You.”
“As a deer longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul, for You, O Lord.”
Psalm 42: 1
Be Thou My Vision
“Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that Thou art –
Thou my best thought, by day or by night;
waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.”
Ancient Irish Hymn
Translator: Mary E. Byrne (1905)
Versified by Eleanor Hull (1912)
Our Lord’s Prayer
“For the kingdom, the power and the glory are Yours, now and for ever, Amen.”
Matthew 6: 13
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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