Hebrew Highlights 134 - Lowliest
Shalom, this is Yuval Shomron coming to you from Jerusalem.
DAN 4:13-17, “I was looking in the visions in my mind as I lay on my bed, and behold, an angelic watcher, a holy one, descended from heaven. He shouted out and spoke as follows: "Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, Strip off its foliage and scatter its fruit; Let the beasts flee from under it, and the birds from its branches. "Yet leave the stump with its roots in the ground, But with a band of iron and bronze around it in the new grass of the field; and let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him share with the beasts in the grass of the earth. "Let his mind be changed from that of a man, And let a beast's mind be given to him, And let seven periods of time pass over him. "This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers, and the decision is a command of the holy ones, In order that the living may know that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes, and sets over it the lowliest of men."
These words are not those of Daniel the prophet, but rather of King Nebuchadnezzar, who was beseeching Daniel for an interpretation of his dreams. It encompasses an important truth in the words, “the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes, and sets over it the lowliest of men."
The word translated here as “lowliest of men” is “shephalim”. The root word “shephal” can mean abject, base, or even cowardly. It is also used to describe the low tide, or ebbing of the oceans.
When men choose rulers, whether of a country or a large corporation, the tendency is to look for strength, character, and even a certain amount of aloofness. But, we read in ISA 55:8-9, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
God needs good leaders. However, He doesn’t use the same raw material to build them that we might assume. For instance, we’ve all heard of King David’s mighty men. The stories of their victories cover many chapters in the Bible. Yet, did they not necessarily start out as valiant warriors, as we see in 1SA 22:1-2, “So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father's household heard of it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented, gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him.” As is plainly described in this passage, David’s army would have easily fit into the category of the “lowliest of men.”
Let’s look at another verse, which supports today’s lesson. PRO 3:34, “Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted.” The scoffers are basically those who think they don’t need God. They are supposedly self sufficient, and laugh at people who pray and seek God’s guidance.
The word translated as scoffers is “letsim”. The word “letsanim”, or “clowns” is built on the same root. God laughs at those who laugh at Him, or at those who laugh at His chosen mighty men. Yet He gives grace to those who admit they need him. The very essence of true humility comes from understanding that without God, we can do nothing. Those who reject God and His guidance can never really lead others in a safe and true path.
Many of us have fallen after a time of being too sure of ourselves. There is nothing more dangerous than thinking we can make it on our own. We need God, we need family, and we need fellowship.
All we have to do is admit our weaknesses. Like David’s mighty men, we are in distress, we are in debt, and we are discontented. Yet if we see our need, and don’t get under condemnation about it, but lay it on God’s strong shoulders, He can use us in His army. And the enemy better not scoff at us, or God will scoff at them.
One place we might use today’s lesson is in electing our leaders. Instead of choosing the man who is too sure of himself, we might vote for the one who sometimes makes mistakes, but admits his shortcomings. We should look to a man who openly admits he needs God, and prays publicly. We could give honor to a man who trusts his advisors, even though they too sometimes make mistakes. Our ballot should mark the man who believes that God’s ways are higher than our ways, and that the Bible is true.
If you feel lowly today, you are in a good place. I remember reading about another man who humbled Himself. The scoffers crucified Him. He changed eternity.
Shalom Shalom from the already glowing Jerusalem