Full text of Billy Graham’s sermon titled ‘How to Put God Above All Else’
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Billy Graham – Evangelist
Now, tonight I want you to turn with me to the third chapter of Daniel.
Now, at this time, Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon, and he was the greatest of all the kings, probably, that ever lived. And he conquered Jerusalem. And he takes some Jewish captives among the young men, many of them in their middle or late teens. They were scientifically inclined. He takes them back to Babylon to train them, to help him as he builds his empire.
Very much like the Soviets and the Americans after World War II. They took German scientists. I remember one of them was Wernher von Braun, who made a great contribution to the American military power.
And I remember sitting with Wernher von Braun not long before he died. We were at a banquet in Los Angeles at the Century Plaza Hotel. And my wife and I happened to be at the table with him. And we’d known him quite a long time. And he told us how intellectually he had come to believe in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Not just by faith alone, but he became convinced that there was a God and that drove him to study the Bible and the New Testament. And he came to know Christ as his Savior.
Now, among the captives of Nebuchadnezzar, there were a number of top young Jewish men. Four of them are named in this passage: Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego. And they were disciplined in all the ways of the Babylonians so that they could help as Nebuchadnezzar extended his empire to become the greatest empire in the world at that time.
Now, Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego knew assertive discipline early, because as we’ve already heard in the Scripture that was read to us by John Wesley White, they refused to eat of the king’s meat and drink of the king’s wine, because the king’s meat had been offered to idols, and they knew it was against the law of their God.
Now, they were 1500 miles from home. Who would know? Who would care?
But they knew God was watching. And as young men, they dedicated themselves and they committed themselves totally to God.
Now, [Nebuchadnezzar] had had a dream, and he called in the astrologers, and the soothsayers, and the scientists and all the other people, and he said, tell me what the dream is. Nebuchadnezzar had the dream.
And they said, ‘Well, tell us the dream.’
He said, ‘I can’t tell you the dream. I can’t remember it, but it troubles me. Tell it to me.’ ‘If you don’t tell it to me’, he said, ‘I’m going to have you hacked to pieces.’
O boy, that really made them study and work and try to come up with the answer.
But they said, ‘We can’t tell it to you unless you tell us the dream. We can’t interpret it.’
And so Daniel called one of the guards over to him and he said, ‘I can interpret the dream. God has revealed it to me; my God has.’
And he went to see Nebuchadnezzar, and he said, ‘don’t kill all the astrologers and the soothsayers and the wise men of Babylon. I’ll tell you the dream and I’ll interpret it.’ He said, ‘what you dreamed was the dream of a great statue. And it had a gold head and its breast and its arms were made of silver, and its thighs and stomach were made of brass. It had legs of iron, and it had feet of clay mixed with iron or iron mixed with clay.’