ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Nebuchadnezzar was part of God’s holy plan to punish Judah for serving other gods. . . . From the time
they left Egypt, generation after generation, Israel worshipped Baal and other gods and God would send
His prophets to warn them. He sent plagues and famine.
Give God the Glory
A Sermon by Jennifer McGill
Based on Daniel 4:28-37
This summer I made time to do some leisurely reading. There is one book I found of particular interest, “The God Chasers” by Tommy Tenney. The title was intriguing. In this book Tommy Tenney expounds on the importance of worshiping God we honor Him for the awesome wonder that He is and we are thus ushered into His presence. the only way to worship God is to know Him.
To be a God chaser you follow hard after Him, you look to please God, not the preacher, not the deacon, not the Sunday School teacher. You look to please God. He still asks us today, “Do you want me?” “What are you willing to do to get me?’
We say yes, I want you. But we don’t want to change. We stay angry and don’t want to be called into his ministry. We don’t want to move. If we are going to be a God chaser, then we must give up something. Ask Abraham. You recall that story. God told him to get out of his father’s house and go to a land that he would direct him. Abraham was a God chaser. To be a God chaser you must give up pride.
If the truth be told, most of us want to be in control. We want to control our own lives. We don’t want to give up anything and would like to keep God at a convenient distance. There are many of us right here in this room who have a control problem. We sometimes even believe we control God. This control problem stems from pride. For pride is an excessively high opinion of oneself–it is to be conceited.
I need to pause right here because if you are thinking about someone else that has a problem with pride, you just need to look at yourself. This message I am delivering is to help us see God clearly. pride blinds us. It is a dangerous thing. Pride has started wars, ended marriages, friendships. It is the root of racism, and hinders forgiveness. No wonder it is on God’s top seven of things He hates. Proverbs 6:16 says that God hates a proud look.
Today, I brought someone along that will help us see God. His name is King Nebuchadnezzar. Many of you good Bible students have heard of King Nebuchadnezzar. King Nebuchadnezzar is known as the scoundrel that destroyed Judah and burned Jerusalem–God’s city. before he would destroy a city, Nebuchadnezzar would take the best that that city had to offer, including its leaders, its gold, its teachers, wise men, best warriors, and most promising youth. Daniel was one of the King’s many captives led back to the Kingdom of Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple of God and took all of the gold goblets and incense burners. He took all the best Judah had to offer back to Babylon. That was Nebuchadnezzar’s war tactic.
He was a hard king. But one thing that I like about him was that he allowed spiritual freedom to his (slave). They were free to worship their Almighty God.
King Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom spanned from 605 B.C. to 562 B.C.. He was the most powerful King in Babylonian history. He conquered Egypt, Assyria, and Judah. That is over a thousand miles of territory. Nations surrounding him feared him. King Nebuchadnezzar was strong, powerful, and had a control problem. King Nebuchadnezzar thought himself great because of his great accomplishments, his victories over conquered peoples. Nebuchadnezzar did not realize that he was great because God made him great.
Nebuchadnezzar was part of God’s holy plan to punish Judah for serving other gods. Judah and Israel worshipped other gods. From the time they left Egypt, generation after generation, Israel worshipped Baal and other gods and God would send His prophets to warn them. He sent plagues and famine. They would then get their act together. But as time passed, they would again return to their worship of idols.
But our God is a merciful God. He is long suffering and kind. But when God has had enough, he has had enough. Because of their continued rebellion God allowed Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, to overtake them.
While relishing his victories, King Nebuchadnezzar one night had a disturbing dream. He called on astrologers and magicians and none of them could tell him anything. Only Daniel, the Hebrew boy, could tell the king the significance of his dream. Daniel began by letting it be known that it was not by his power that he interprets dreams but by the power of God. This was King Nebuchadnezzar’s first encounter with Daniel and his interpretation of dreams.
Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that his empire would be the most successful in the history of Babylon. But God’s kingdom would supersede the power and success of King Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. God tried to tell the Babylonian king something. But he refused to hear God’s message.
King Nebuchadnezzar had yet another dream. I dreamed, he would tell Daniel, about a tree looked as if it touched the heavens. It grew as high as the clouds in the sky. Everyone on earth could see it was beautiful and abundant. There was fruit on it for all. It was shade for the beast and a home for the birds.
And i looked and there was a messenger from heaven that said cut down the tree, strip the leaves, and scatter the fruit. let the animals be scattered from it and the birds from its branches. But leave the stump and its roots, bound with iron and bronze remain in the ground, in the grass of the field.
Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the dew of heaven and let him live like the animals among the plants of earth. let his mind be changed from that of a man to an animal, till seven times pass by for him.
The sentence is rendered by decree of the watches, the decision is given by order of the holy ones, in order that all who live may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of mortals. he gives it to whom He will and sets over it the lowliest of human beings.
This dream bothered Nebuchadnezzar because he could not figure it out. he called on his magicians and astrologers again and again and they could not figure it out. And so he called on Daniel. When the king told Daniel his dream, it disturbed him and his whole countenance changed King Nebuchadnezzar pressed him to share the meaning of his dream.
Daniel began his interpretation, O King, you are the tree. You have become great and strong. You saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven. The Most High has issued a decree against you. You will lose your mind for seven years and you will be driven away from your kingdom and for seven years you will live with the animals and eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven.
Seven years will pass by you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to whomever He wishes. The messenger said to leave the stump. That command means that your kingdom would be restored when you acknowledge heaven rules.
Daniel gave King Nebuchadnezzar sound advice. The king had to renounce his sins and do right, be kind to the oppressed and maybe his prosperity would continue. King Nebuchadnezzar did not hearken to Daniel and a year later King Nebuchadnezzar’s nightmare was fulfilled.
One year after the lord gave him warning, King Nebuchadnezzar was walking on his balcony and admired and said, “Is not the great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my mystery?”
The words were still on his lips when a voice from heaven said all that Daniel told him would be fulfilled. And immediately King Nebuchadnezzar was driven away from his kingdom. In the wilderness, he ate grass like cattle, his hair grew like feathers and his nails like the claws of a bird. King Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind and bearings in reality. For seven year Nebuchadnezzar roamed in the wilderness with the animals until one day he raised his eyes toward heaven.
When you lift your eyes toward heaven some changes take place. You realize that is is not all about you, it is about God.
To his people King Nebuchadnezzar recounted the wonders of the Almighty God, I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and my understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation. 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?
Not only did his understanding return to him but his reason also returned. he was able to do his job and his honor and splendor were returned to him even greater than before but this time he had a new song. Now Nebuchadnezzar praised and extolled and honored the King of Heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment. Those who walk in pride He is able to abase.
King Nebuchadnezzar learned to give God the glory. It took a bout of insanity for him to realize that God was responsible for all that he was. He realized that God is sovereign, which means He can do whatever He wants to do, when He wants to, and how He wants to.
King Nebuchadnezzar went through seven years of eating grass and living in the wild with the animals before he learned to give God the glory. Many of us are the same way, we are full of pride — thinking we’re all of that until God allows something to come our way where we realize that He is the Great “I AM.”
We need to honor God for who he is. He said before anything was, I AM. Everything that you see and don’t see He created. The heavens and the earth, He created. He created us in His image — not a dog, cat, or monkey. We are created in His image. He kept us in good health. We need to give God the glory. We honor Him because He is so wonderful. He is so magnanimous. he is so awesome. . . . He is.
This awesome God gives us an opportunity to have a relationship with Him. You have been trying to be in relationship with Him for a long time. that’s why you have been running from man to man, woman to woman looking for somebody to complete you. But you have not found him yet. You have not found her yet. That’s why you have been studying Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. Because you are looking for God.
You want to know why nothing is working, why you still have that same empty feeling. You tried to fill it with relationships, jobs, family, but if you are honest with yourself you know that you are still empty. There is one that can fill your void and that is Jesus Christ. the only was to know God is through His Son.
Jesus said if you reject me, you have also rejected my Father. And rejecting Him will lead to eternal destruction. lay aside your pride because salvation is something you can not do for yourself. Today is your day of salvation.
The doors of the church are open.
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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 honor 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 belessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever, whose dominion an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
35 and all the inhabitant 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 dost Thou?
36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned unto me, and my counselors 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 honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
Source: Sermon delivered at Wayland Baptist Church, 1996
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Minister Jennifer Nicole McGill now serves as an Associate Minister at Wayland Baptist Church, preaching the Gospel, teaching the Word, and serving as Spiritual Advisor to Wayland’s Women’s Ministry are some of Minister McGill’s current responsibilities. Her assistance in Church Ministry is also exercised in Richmond, VA, where she teaches Sunday School and assists in Sunday worship at Bethlehem Baptist Church.
For Minister Jennifer McGill, home is where the heart is. Home is Baltimore, Maryland, where she was educated in Catholic and Public School systems. McGill attended Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, in Baltimore, Maryland, and continued higher education at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Arts in Teaching degrees.This vessel of God has traveled south on Interstate 95 to pursue her Master of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education. She hopes to one day research the relationship between art and religion in doctoral studies.
Minister McGill believes that study that study is useless until it is applied. Her plan is to use art, scripture, service, and love to help broken people piece their lives together and be liberated in and through Christ Jesus. “If I can help somebody establish a relationship with God then my living is not in vain.”
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#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
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#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
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By Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”
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By Michele Alexander
Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarcerationbut her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.Publishers Weekly
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 14 December 2011