Friday, May 26, 2017
Daniel was a Jew serving in the court of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful (and narcissistic) ruler on earth. The king had a scary dream and Daniel interpreted it as a warning from God that if the king didn’t mend his ways he would have the kingdom ripped out of his hands. Nebuchadnezzar ignored Daniel’s warning:
“‘King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.’ “But all these things did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later he was taking a walk on the flat roof of the royal palace in Babylon. As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’ “While these words were still in his mouth, a voice called down from heaven, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom. You will be driven from human society. You will live in the fields with the wild animals, and you will eat grass like a cow. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.’ “That same hour the judgment was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws. Daniel 4:27-33(NLT)
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was – to say the least – full of himself. He surveyed his kingdom, and imagined (like Michael Jackson perhaps) that he had created Wonderland. He celebrated his own greatness! Look what my hands have made, he boasted.
To humble Nebuchadnezzar, an earthly king, Yahweh, the real God of all creation, messed with everything the earthly king had. Nebuchadnezzar wound up a madman, drooling on himself and grazing on grass like a wild animal.
After seven years of life as a madman, the Lord allowed the king’s mind to return to normal, and Nebuchadnezzar gave God His due. I do not believe we twenty-first century people (particularly those who call themselves Christian) have done any better than Nebuchadnezzar!
Here’s what I mean by that:
This week’s devotions are part of a sermon first preached 16 years ago on a Sunday in August to a congregation that enjoyed a quite peaceful existence. There was relative prosperity in the land, and a sense of God’s people enjoying the “good life”. Twenty-nine days later planes slammed into the twin towers in New York and Washington. And our lives have not been the same since.
The lone exception is the way people treat God. For a few months churches were showing signs of revival. But to a large extent churches are still empty – lives are just as busy with selfish pursuits and we still, like Nebuchadnezzar, survey our little kingdoms. We enjoy our grasp on all that pleases us and makes our life “happy”.
We fail to see the big picture…we assume God should be satisfied if we show up at church, drop a few dollars (if that) in the plate, and go about our business of what’s in it for me with the other 167 hours a week…well that should be good enough for any God.
But…he’s not just ANY God! And that’s the whole extent of getting the big picture about what to do with your life; God is not interested in being included in your life; He wants full custody, not weekend visits!
A simple but arguably biggest question in any human being’s life: