Beyond the Reach of Grace?
February 1, 2004 - "Into the Word," a Bible study by Anne Graham Lotz, is designed to draw you into God's Word. Although the study-question format may be more challenging than one might find in an article that provides all the answers, we believe that this format will help you to discover a treasure of truths and insights from God.
by Anne Graham Lotz
Who do you think is beyond hope when it comes to salvation? Is there someone you have dropped off your prayer list because he or she seems to be beyond the reach of God's grace? Then be encouraged by the personal testimony of one of the most wicked kings in history.
At one time, Nebuchadnezzar was king of the greatest empire in the world (Daniel 2:37-38). He was also one of the most evil leaders in human history—the tyrant who threw three Hebrew men into the fiery furnace when they refused to bow to his image (Daniel 3:13-23). This same Nebuchadnezzar was converted! He wrote down his testimony as a witness not only to the world of his day, but also to future generations.
He Was Personally Changed: What God Did
- In what way did God change Nebuchadnezzar's priorities? Compare Daniel 3:13-15 with 4:1. His preoccupation? Compare 4:30 with 4:2. His perspective? Compare 3:15 with 4:3, 34-35.
- If there has been no personal change as a result of faith in Jesus Christ, can a person go to heaven? See Matthew 18:3.
- What does James say about a professed faith that gives no evidence of change? See James 2:17.
- When were you personally changed or converted? What changes has Jesus made in your life that others can see?
He Was Powerfully Changed: How God Did It
God Created a Need (See Daniel 4:4-18)
- Describe the condition of Nebuchadnezzar's life in verse 4).
- What spiritual needs do you think he was aware of? Material needs? Emotional needs? Physical needs?
- How did his condition change in verses 5-18?
- What needs are you aware of in the life of your "Nebuchadnezzar"?
God Clarified His Word (See Daniel 4:19-27)
- What different emphases did Daniel give in his presentation of God's Word in verses 19-23? 24-26? 27? How are these important today?
- How necessary is God's Word to change or to conversion? See Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 2:3-6.
- What have you done to make sure your "Nebuchadnezzar" hears the Word of God?
God Crushed Nebuchadnezzar's Pride (See Daniel 4:27-33)
- What was Nebuchadnezzar's response to hearing God's Word explained and applied to his life? See Daniel 4:27-30.
- How long did God wait for Nebuchadnezzar to repent of his sin? See verse 29.
- What evidence is there that God's patience did not mean toleration or acceptance of sin? See verses 31-33.
- What are some ways God brings people to repentance? See 2 Chronicles 33:1-2, 10-13; Jonah 1:4, 17; Acts 9:1-9, 16:26-30; and Romans 2:4.
- Whose responsibility is it to convict your "Nebuchadnezzar" of sin? See John 16:7-11.
- In what way might you be trying to do the Holy Spirit's job? Cease pointing out the sin in that person's life, and just pray for him or her.
God Changed Nebuchadnezzar's Mind (See Daniel 4:34-35)
- In verse 34, what was involved when Nebuchadnezzar raised his eyes toward heaven? Compare verse 25 with verses 34-35.
- If God could change Nebuchadnezzar, do you think He can change the person for whom you have been praying?
- How is God working in the life of your "Nebuchadnezzar" to create an awareness of his need for Him? To clarify His Word to him? To crush his pride? To change his mind and bring him to repentance?
He Was Purposefully Changed: Why God Did It
- What were the practical results of Nebuchadnezzar's conversion? See verse 36.
- What was the ultimate spiritual and eternal result of his conversion? See verse 37.
- What is the ultimate purpose of your conversion? See Matthew 5:16; Romans 15:5-6; 1 Corinthians 6:20.
- Take a few minutes now to thank God for what He did for Nebuchadnezzar of old.
- Thank God for what He has done for you, how He has done it and why He has done it.
- Make time today to write down your personal testimony as a witness to those who may read it, including future generations of children and grandchildren.
- Persevere in prayer for your "Nebuchadnezzar."