God’s Dealings With the Nations

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart [is] in the hand of the LORD, [as] the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Scripture Reading: Acts 7:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;  26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

Nebuchadnezzar was a man that discovered how mysterious God’s ways are. As all have the issue of pride, Nebuchadnezzar had the greatest kingdom known to mankind and he had an issue with pride. God loved Nebuchadnezzar and He wanted him to be in His kingdom and so He did what He could to save him. After Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a tree being cut down Daniel said;

Daniel 4:24 This [is] the interpretation, O king, and this [is] the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:  25 That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.  26 And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. 27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. 28 All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. 30 The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? 31 While the word [was] in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, [saying], O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. 32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling [shall be] with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. 33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ [feathers], and his nails like birds’ [claws]. 34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation: 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? 36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.  37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works [are] truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

This is a profound experience. He was a hard shell and God had to use a hard method to deliver him from his pride. We see it in this example played out powerfully. Sometimes it is through whole entire lifetimes that God seeks to bring man to this understanding. We find the dealings of God with man clearly delineated and prophesied with the nations in the book of Daniel 2, 11 and 12. You find something for the imagination.

As you study the book of Daniel you can hear the thunder of thousands, the clapping of the horses hoofs as they race to the fray, the sounds of war, the mighty battle cry, the clash of the sword, the thrash of the spear, the cries of death, the sounds of slaughter. In the distance you can hear the wail of the widow and the fatherless child. The noise of the great courts filled with kings, nobles and statesmen. In the darkness of the night, the muffled words of intrigue, the gentle drip of the poison in the cup and the twang upon the crossbow as it launches its deadly missile. Then if you will, behind all these scenes moving manipulating silently working is He who ruleth in the kingdom of men. His gentle steps muffled by the din of war, as nation after nation plummets from its throne and ruler after ruler condescends to the will of God. Nation after nation arrived on the scene and nation after nation departed. Why is a nation permitted to exist? Here we understand why a nation comes to the fore and is exceeded by another. Each of these nations has, like Nebuchadnezzar, an opportunity to do something.

Why a Nation Is Permitted To Exist

Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

He has weighed out the existence of the nations when they will have the power, the ascendancy and when they will be. What for?

Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

Each nation would come onto the scene to have the opportunity to seek after God and find him. To meet the varied experiences as a nation in its existence that they might feel after him and perhaps find him. When they fail in such an existence what is their experience?

The Amorites

Genesis tells us about the Amorites. Abraham was told he could not possess the Promised Land and that his children would go into captivity for a certain period of time because the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full. They still had a time of probation and as long as that time of problem was there, God would permit them to exist as a nation but at the time of the end of their captivity, their probation had closed.

The Statue

Babylon, Medo Persia, Greece, Rome, that image Nebuchadnezzar saw in vision, depicts for us this succeeding experience of the nations. Babylon was this head of gold, this powerful empire. Rich, wealthy and influential in the world with vast expanse of land and Nebuchadnezzar was humbled. He sought after the Lord and on that seventh year he lifted up his head and he found him. Then Nebuchadnezzar passed away and then the next picture we see in the scriptures is Belshazzar sitting on the throne. But what took place after Nebuchadnezzar? It had come to the close of its existence in the time of Belshazzar. Why? It started with ascendancy of Nebuchadnezzar who sought after God and found Him and was no doubt influential in his kingdom yet over the years they lost sight of that.

Nebuchadnezzar had a son called Evil-Merodach and he followed in the footsteps of his father and he favoured the Jews. As well as Evil-Merodach Nebuchadnezzar also had a daughter called Nitocris. Evil-Merodach didn’t reign for very long, he was killed in a coup. His brother in law Neriglissar took the throne but in a short time he was assassinated. Then his son Labashi-Marduk who was still a child became a king but was assonated after only nine months. We see this great kingdom slowly descending into the pit of intrigue and rottenness of character. Then came a man called Nabonidus who was an Assyrian and the son of a priestess. He married Nitocris the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar. As there was no one on the throne after this child king as Nabonidus arranged the assignation, he became king. That was in 556BC. It was only 7 or 8 years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar. So much took place in a short time. This ascendancy of the pinnacle right down into the pit.

Their eldest son was called Belshazzar on the very night the judgment of God came, pulled out the treasures of the Jewish nation, using the articles of the sanctuary of God he drank and he feasted. Belshazzar no doubt had come to the point in his experience where he had no respect for religion. His father was an Assyrian and he worshipped the Assyrian gods. Nitocris worshipped the Babylonian gods. In the reign of Nabonidus he had to leave as the conflict of interest of the two religions was too much. In order for him to keep his religion he left for ten years and Belshazzar was left to reign in his place. Such an environment of conflicting religions by two persons greatly respected would have had an influence of Belshazzar. He would have had very little respect for the religion of his day and less for the religion of the true God. We know there was writing on the wall.

Daniel 5:25 And this [is] the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.  26 This [is] the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. 27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. 28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

The Medes and the Persians

God had appointed the bounds of their habitations. A kingdom was finished. As we know when the word of God came that it was finished, the word of God stood sure. Even though the walls of Babylon were 100 metres tall and 25 metres wide, when God says time is up, time is up. One of the gates down by the streets, through which the Euphrates River ran in the middle of the city, was left open. One little gap was all it took and that was the end of the Babylonian empire.

The Grecian Empire

Next came the Grecian Empire. The Grecian empire had its opportunity. Greece itself was not an empire very much at all prior to the reign of Philipp, Alexander’s father. Being an island nation it was divided into many different peoples and these different peoples existed as separate entities constantly at war with each other particularly the Athenians and the Lacedemonians or as we would know them today, the Spartans. Then arose a young man by the name of Philip of Macedonia. Through force and politics he subdued all of the Grecian peoples under him and he held them under his sway and then he was assassinated. Alexander the Great a very young man rose up and in the fury of his youth he was able to subdue the rebellious people and bring them back under Macedonian rule. There we have the rise of the Grecian empire. Once Alexander the Great had established his domain there, he departed for Persia. Truth be known as much as he represented the Grecian people, the Grecian nation, the vision Daniel had was of loins and as far as the Grecians were concerned, the Athenians, Spartans and Ionians did not support Alexander the Great. It is related that the Athenians and the rest of the Grecians hoped he would die while he was on his endeavour. As displayed in the dream, the Grecian empire is depicted by the loins – he was of the seed of Grecia, but had not the backing of the Grecian peoples but because he had the full sway, it was the empire of Greece.

Persia

With only 40,000 men he fought his way into Persia. Persia came to the point where it had filled its cup and God had ruled that would be the end of that habitation. With only 40,000 he took on the millions of Darius of Persia. At the battle of Issus where there were hundreds of thousands of men, he lost 450 men and 504 were wounded while of Darius 110,000 were slain and 40,000 taken captive. When God says, that is it time is up, time is up. As you study certain extracts of history that have come down to us, it is amazing what opportunities and privileges they had. God no longer had any use for the Medo Persian Empire so the Grecians came on and filled their cup.

The Romans

Then came the Romans. Did the Romans have an opportunity to seek after God and find Him? Yes they did. Jesus Christ walked in their very midst and they rejected Him. Did Rome reject Jesus Christ? We are often tempted to think the Jews did as they said crucify him, crucify him but Pontius Pilate was only a representative and it was in ignorance he represented the Romans and said crucify Christ. Tiberius at the time was convinced that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. History tells us he brought his senate before him and he said I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. This is the emperor; the reigning figure of Rome declared his belief in Jesus Christ. The senate who represented the Roman Empire declared that by their law the emperor was their god so Tiberius replied then I will be your god and I will be a tyrant and indeed he was a ruthless tyrant who persecuted not just the Christians but also very few of that senate that were that day survived the following few years. Then Rome rejected God. It had its opportunity but it rejected him and so then they lost their existence and they were succeeded by the Papal See and today we are in that time where it is vast filling its cup.

The Jews as we know filled their cup. God had been working through Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and the Romans for the sake of His precious Jews. When you read the stories of the Maccabees and the Herods and the experiences they made and how Alexander came to destroy Jerusalem because they wouldn’t send out men for his army and the intervention of God, He gave them opportunity after opportunity so they would seek and find Him but they didn’t. When a nation shuts itself up in itself and it casts God out from its midst, then its time is up and nothing can stay His hand.

Middle America

William Prescott was a historian and outside of the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible, here is the clearest revelation of where it is that God will draw the line with the nations. He wrote a book called ‘The Conquest of Mexico’ and it is an amazing story. To us we look at it as barbaric and atrocious. He summarises the conquest and how it was accomplished and it is very similar to how God has worked in preceding generations where apparently insurmountable odds have surmounted as God has drawn the line.

Whatever may be thought of the Conquest in a moral view, regarded as a military achievement, it must fill us with astonishment. That a handful of adventurers, indifferently armed and equipped, should have landed on the shores of a powerful empire, inhabited by a fierce and warlike race, and in defiance of the reiterated prohibitions of its sovereign, have forced their way into the interior;- that they should have done this, without knowledge of the language or the land, without chart or compass to guide them, without any idea of the difficulties they were to encounter, totally uncertain whether the next step might bring them on a hostile nation, or on a desert, feeling their way along in the dark, as it were;- that though nearly overwhelmed by their first encounter with the inhabitants, they should have still pressed on to the capital of the empire, and, having reached it, thrown themselves unhesitatingly into the midst of their enemies;- that, so far from being daunted by the extraordinary spectacle there exhibited of power and civilisation, they should have been but the more confirmed in their original design. The Conquest of Mexico – W Prescott

Fernando Cortez was a man with very few soldiers driven on by the prospect of gold and spreading the Catholic religion. He landed on the shores of Mexico and proceeded un-dauntingly to conquer and destroy the Aztecs. These few hundred soldiers marched directly into the capital of Mexico in buildings and civilisation beyond Europe surrounded by barbaric Indians and yet they walked straight in. As I read that story of the conquest, this man Cortez let nothing stop him. It was like he was set on fire of hell of destruction. God had drawn the line and He would not permit this man to become discouraged in seeking the desires of his heart.

…That they should have seized the monarch, have executed his ministers before the eyes of his subjects, and, when driven forth with ruin from the gates, have gathered their scattered wreck together, and, after a system of operations pursued with consummate policy and daring, have succeeded in overturning the capital, and establishing their sway over the country;- that all this should have been so effected by a mere handful of indigent adventurers, is in fact little short of the miraculous, too startling for the probabilities demanded by fiction, and without a parallel in the pages of history. The Conquest of Mexico – W Prescott.

Why was such a small force so successful as the prowess of the Spaniards? Was it their advance in technology? No, God had drawn the line. Here Prescott speaks of the Aztec empire and here is a clear description of when that cup is full and overflowing.

Yet we cannot regret the fall of an empire which did so little to promote the happiness of its subjects, or the real interests of humanity. Notwithstanding the lustre thrown over its latter days by the glorious defence of its capital, by the mild munificence of Montezuma, by the dauntless heroism of Guatemozin, the Aztecs were emphatically a fierce and brutal race, little calculated, in their best aspects, to excite our sympathy and regard. Their civilisation, such as it was, was not their own, but reflected, perhaps imperfectly, from a race whom they had succeeded in the land. It was, in respect to the Aztecs, a generous graft on a vicious stock, and could have brought no fruit to perfection. They ruled over their wide domains with a sword, instead of a sceptre. They did nothing to ameliorate the condition, or in any way promote the progress, of their vassals. Their vassals were serfs, used only to minister to their pleasure, held in awe by armed garrisons, ground to the dust by imposts in peace, by military conscriptions in war.

They did not, like the Romans, whom they resembled in the nature of their conquests, extend the rights of citizenship to the conquered. They did not amalgamate them into one great nation, with common rights and interests. They held them as aliens,- even those who in the valley were gathered round the very walls of the capital. The Aztec metropolis, the heart of the monarchy, had not a sympathy, not a pulsation, in common with the rest of the body politic. It was a stranger in its own land. The Aztecs not only did not advance the condition of their vassals, but morally speaking, they did much to degrade it. How can a nation, where human sacrifices prevail, and especially when combined with cannibalism, further the march of civilisation? How can the interests of humanity be consulted where man is levelled to the rank of the brutes that perish? The influence of the Aztecs introduced their gloomy superstition into lands before unacquainted with it, or where, at least, it was not established in any great strength. The example of the capital was contagious. As the latter increased in opulence, the religious celebrations were conducted with still more terrible magnificence. In the same manner as the gladiatorial shows of the Romans increased in pomp with the increasing splendour of the capital, men became familiar with scenes of horror and the most loathsome abominations; women and children- the whole nation became familiar with, and assisted at them. The heart was hardened, the manners were made ferocious, the feeble light of civilisation, transmitted from a milder race, was growing fainter and fainter, as thousands and thousands of miserable victims throughout the empire were yearly fattened in its cages, sacrificed on its altars, dressed and served at its banquets! The whole land was converted into a vast human shambles! The empire of the Aztecs did not fall before its time. The Conquest of Mexico – W Prescott.

Seeking God and Finding Him

An absolutely clear representation of when it is that God draws the line. He had suffered it long enough and nothing could stay His hand. Existence is given to the nations for a purpose and a reason that they might seek God and find Him. Existence is given to you and me that we might seek God and find Him. What are you doing in your hours of probation? As we have seen God working in the nations giving them opportunity, seeking to woo them unto himself, likewise He works in the life of the individual.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

 29:12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

God wants us to seek Him with all our heart that we might find Him and enjoy with Him a relationship. He doesn’t want to cast you away as useless as not able to work with anymore, but what He will do like with Nebuchadnezzar and like the nations. Is He willing to intervene in your life and provide you with opportunities; opportunities to bring you to that point where you will search for Him with all your heart? We can search for Him today with part of the heart but tomorrow forget Him. If we give part of the heart today, it’s like the existence of the beginning of a kingdom who sought God but if that is not continued and the line is drawn and we know not when in our lives that line is drawing. But if God sees in you something worthwhile, He will work in your life in ways in which we sung in that hymn ‘God Moves in Mysterious Ways’.

And if you continue your selfish course, God will come still closer to you and remove your idols one after another from before your face until you shall humble your proud, selfish, unsubdued heart before Him. 2T 56.3

Do you have an idol in your heart? We have far more than we think we do. God in order to possess the heart needs to have those idols removed. What He will do is work in our lives and temporal affairs to cause that affection in the heart to be uprooted. He will remove them one after another. If your house is your idol, God will remove your house. If your money is your idol, God will take away your money. If your health and your life is your money, God will bring you to the sick bed. There was a family mourning the loss of a beloved daughter;

As a family you have talked darkness and complaining until you are changed into the same image. You seem to work upon one another’s sympathies and to arouse nervous excitability until you have a dark, sad, dismal time by yourselves. You have held mourning services, but these do not attract angels around you. 5T 314.2

You may not have lost family members; you may have lost something dear to you in this world. Do you dwell in the darkness over it? Do you spend your time mourning day in, day out weeping over the loss of it?

If you do not change your course, God will come a little closer and deal with you in judgment. 5T 314.2

Idols

If we do not change but cling onto these idols, be they feelings and emotions or the things of this world, God will come just a little bit closer and He will deal with us in judgement. The question is, am I actually of any use to God? Am I seeking God? He knows your heart better than you do and the reality is your heart can deceive you into thinking you are when God starts to draw that line. What is it that you occupy your mind with? What are your grievances and sorrows? Is it me, me, me? Is it my money, house, land, car? God wants to save us so he knocks on our door often by tragedy. He will remove your idols, houses and lands will be taken away from you overnight. If money is a distraction, if that is the root of evil in your heart, he will take your money away. Whatever there is in our life, whatever our priorities are that are wrong, God will remove them. He wants us to seek after Him and find Him. Why find Him; because He is not far? We are indulgent in our idols and He is right there saying I’m here; can’t you be indulgent with me?

Money

Like as of old how He worked amongst the nations so today God is working amongst the nations for us. Financial crisis, natural disasters, He permits it all for you and me. Why are the nations thrown into financial crisis? Because God loves you so that you will fill your need of Him and you will seek after Him and find Him. As money fails, you will put your dependence upon Him. Praise the Lord as a time is coming where we can’t buy or sell and that is going to be one of the greatest blessings God can give to mankind. You can’t pay your bills so you don’t have to stress about your bills. Even now we don’t need to stress about them. God will take even money away from us so He can have all of us and have us completely to Himself as we will no longer have anywhere to put our dependence; houses, lands.

Loneliness

Do you ever get lonely? Loneliness is something which many suffer under today. Not only do we have people living in the streets and sleeping under newspapers because God tried to bring them to their knees, so it is today we have wrecked marriages and some who have never married. As much as marriage has its place by all means there is a great blessing in it, sometimes things don’t always work out as you hoped. When that sense of loneliness sweeps over you like the billows of the ocean, seek the Lord and find Him. God has permitted that experience so you can seek and find Him.

God ordained that our fellowman will fail us so we will place our entire dependence on Him. There is no excuse for failing each other, absolutely not, but if someone fails you, God has permitted it so He can have you all to Himself. For those who are lonely seeking companionship, comes this statement;

When for the truth’s sake the believer stands at the bar of unrighteous tribunals, Christ stands by his side. All the reproaches that fall upon him, fall upon Christ. Christ is condemned over again in the person of His disciple. When one is incarcerated in prison walls, Christ ravishes the heart with His love. {DA 669.3}

The real import of these words can only be understood by experience. The scriptures declare that the husband is to be ravished by his wife. In Jesus Christ in your loneliness you can have through a relationship with Him a spiritual ecstasy, which surpasses the pleasure and the release that is found in the orgasmic eroticism of this life. It is not earthly, it is not sensual, it is not base, but it is a love and experience so deep that the earthly does not even come close to defining it. Precious privileges God has laid out for his people. We meet experiences and we want to run from them or try and manipulate them. God says I have sent them; I have permitted them so you can seek after me and find me. The Lord will permit sickness and disease so that we will seek out the healing in His wings. War and bloodshed He permits to seek peace through the blood of Christ. A financial crisis to persuade us to make our investment where rust and moth will not corrupt. Perhaps even the death of loved ones so we will feel our need of life. Our friends and family to fail us so we will put all our dependence on Him so we will find will find a friend.

What are you doing in your life? Do you have long? These nations of this whole entire globe have well-nigh filled up their cup. Will you be swept away in the destruction? God doesn’t want you to be so He is going to wrench idols from your grasp. When He does that, will you go moping around in the darkness trying to gather them again? You don’t have time for that. Do you think you are ruling your life? Man thinks that he is ruling the world. Satan thinks that he is ruling man. But Nebuchadnezzar declared that God ruleth in the kingdom of men and will give it to whomsoever He will. Will you be one of those special people who will inherit the earth for an everlasting inheritance? Then when your world falls apart around you and you find yourself in circumstances as foreign as you could ever imagine, then look for the Lord and you will find him.

Amen.

Posted on October 24, 2011, in Armageddon, Divine Service Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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