Bad News, Good News

Daniel 4:19-27 (ESV)

Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was dismayed for a while, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered and said, “Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies! The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived—it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth. And because the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field, and let him be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven periods of time pass over him,’ this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.”

No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. Not only does it upset people, sometimes it causes rifts in the relationship between people. It shouldn’t create problems in relationships, at least not if the bad news is beyond our control, but what should or should not happen is not always what does.

In Daniel’s case, he had to tell the king that the king was in trouble with God. He tried to advise the king to change some of his ways, that God might relent, and not follow through with what the dream warned about.

I think this is important to realize. God gave warnings many times in the Old Testament days, so that people could change their wicked ways and avoid the disaster that they were due. Today, we have the Blood of Christ to purify and cleanse us. We have already been given the cure for our sin. The only requirement for us to avoid the eternal consequences of our sin is the acknowledgment of our sin, and repentance of it. Calling upon the Lord for the covering of His blood, is the cure.

Nebuchadnezzar did not listen to Daniel. He went on to fall under the curse predicted in his dream. But after the seven years were over, he called out to the Lord, and the Lord restored him.

We are blessed. We don’t have to go through seven years of hell before we can be restored. We can be restored every day. So repent of your sin. Ask forgiveness, and bask in God’s restoration. Enjoy the freedom and peace that comes from communion with God. Then bring the good news to someone else! Let them know they too can live under God’s roof and covered by His blood.

by Virgil Stripes

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