Daily Lesson for Sunday 26th of November 2023
As Seventh-day Adventists, we believe in what is known as “unlimited atonement.” This means that, in contrast to some Christians, we believe that Christ’s death was for all humanity, not just a special group of those predestined by God for salvation. Because God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, NKJV), Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice “for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2, NKJV). That’s why everyone was chosen “in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4, NKJV), even if not everyone chooses Him in return. That’s why, too, we find accounts in the Bible of all sorts of people being reached for God.
Read Daniel 4:1-37. What happened to the king here, and what does this tell us about salvation coming to one of the world’s most powerful men?
A striking example in the Bible of how God reaches powerful unbelievers is the story of King Nebuchadnezzar. God’s judgment was executed on him in a way similar to some Israelite kings (see, for example, 2 Chronicles 32:25-26; 1 Kings 14:21-31; 1 Samuel 28:1-25). The biblical account of Nebuchadnezzar, who came to his senses and acknowledged the Creator God, shows that God cares about the wealthy and powerful, as well as the weak and needy. In verse 37, the most powerful man on the earth declared, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (Daniel 4:37, NKJV). If only all the rich and powerful and haughty among us mortal beings understood this truth!
What can we learn from this story? First, God uses committed believers, such as Daniel, as a bridge to reach powerful unbelievers. Second, God can directly intervene in the witnessing process in order to reach powerful unbelievers. Nebuchadnezzar was humbled by God for his pride and arrogance. And though this was a very dramatic story, there are many other ways in which the rich and powerful and haughty can be brought low.
Even if we are not rich and powerful by the world’s standards, why must we be careful to avoid the kind of arrogance that this king had manifested? Why might that attitude be easier to have than we might think?