True and False Prophets
Daniel 4:4-9
I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace:…

It is amazing how some men are addicted to folly. It seems ingrained into the very nature of some men. Nebuchadnezzar had proved aforetime the vain pretensions of his magicians and soothsayers, and had proved, too, the incomparable superiority of Daniel; nevertheless, he neglects Daniel again on this occasion, and sends for the pretentious astrologers. Such men must be pounded in a mortar before the folly can be expurgated.

I. THE PROPHET HAS ALWAYS A PLACE IN THE WORLD. There has always been, and always will be, a need for him. Scientific discovery, however rapid its advancements, will never push the prophet from his niche. A vision was granted to Nebuchadnezzar by God, yet even the vision does not suffice. It only perplexes, saddens, alarms. The carnal mind cannot understand it. It is a terrific enigma - confusion worse confounded. There is need of a prophet to unfold the signification. As long as man requires authoritative interpretations of Divine truth, so long he requires the prophet.

II. THE PROPHET CANNOT BE MADE BY THE ART OR SKILL OF MAN. The Babylonian king may make decrees from morning till night, but no number of royal decrees can manufacture a prophet. He may call a certain number of recluses "wise men;" but he can never make them so. Both kings and manner men allow themselves to be easily deceived by the mere show and pretence of authority. Let kings learn that there are some things which even they cannot do. In their extremity king-made prophets fail.

III. THE TRUE PROPHET IS CREATED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD. God reveals his mind and will to whomsoever he pleases. As every power of mind is his creation, so this gift of prophetic insight is a direct donation from God. The capacity is God's, though man can improve and develop it by wise use. Prophecy is not so much a faculty of mind as the production of a peculiar temper of soul. It is strongest in the man who walks most closely with God; in other words, who is most conformed to God's character and image. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him." To the same end, Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, "I thank thee, Father,... because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."

IV. THE TRUE PROPHET MAY BE KNOWN BY HIS HUMILITY AND LOVE. Daniel did not push his way into the presence of the king, with the rest of the wise men. He calmly waited in obscurity until his presence was sought. Real merit is neither forward nor froward. Nor, when Daniel perceived the purport of the dream, was he in haste to make known the coming disaster. Astonishment and sorrow sealed his lips for the space of an hour. Then, required by the king to unburden his soul, the prophet expresses profoundest sympathy with the king's doom: "My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee." The true prophet will not only bring God's message, but will bring it in God's spirit. He "speaks the truth in love." - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:

WEB: I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace.

Human Greatness, its Rise, Fall, and Restoration
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