Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nebuchadnezzar: The Wild Years

I want you to think of our president. Get a good picture of him. Firm in your mind. I bet the picture you have in your head of the president, whether you think highly of him or not, is somewhat respectful. He's got that look of greatness I would assume. I mean he is the president.

Now that you have that picture. That idea of him in your mind. Imagine if he were to suddenly step down from office, and the next place you see him, is completely naked, covered in mud, having lunch with a cow. And quite possibly having a very in depth conversation with said cow. Except he isn't speaking English, or any other human language. He's mooing. He's mooing. The cow's mooing back. They're eating grass. The president moos some more. The cow moos back again, and then the president reels his head back in laughter as if the cow had just said some extremely funny joke.

It is more then obvious that the president had completely lost his mind. The guy is mooing to a cow. He's living out in the farm and the wild. Talking to animals and telling them jokes. On top of that, the guy doesn't get a hair cut or a shave for seven years. I can imagine he would look something like Joaquin Phoenix after he went off the deep end.

So after seven years the president regains his mind. Comes back to us, speaking English and not cow, and says, "Sorry bout that. I claimed to have made this nation great and of my own power, and for my own glory. God saw fit to correct me, and to remind me, he had me live with the animals, like the animals. I'm all better now. Learned my lesson. I'm ready to lead you all again."

We wouldn't care. We'd still think the guy is a complete nutter. He belongs in the looney bin, not the oval office. He told a joke to a cow! He mooed! He gobbeled with chickens, howled with wolves, and wrestled with a bear. My goodness, the guy is luckey to be alive. And look at his hair, his mangy beard!

But back in the time of Daniel, that is exactly what happened to King Nebuchadnezzar (to make writing this a bit easier, from now on I will refer to him as King Nebby). You see, King Nebby was a very very powerful king of a very, very powerful kingdom. He was also very, very arrogant. And one night he had a dream. And here is the dream.

In the visions I saw while lying in bed, I looked, and there before me was a holy one, a messenger,[c] coming down from heaven. 14 He called in a loud voice: ‘Cut down the tree and trim off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals flee from under it and the birds from its branches. 15 But let the stump and its roots, bound with iron and bronze, remain in the ground, in the grass of the field.

“‘Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the animals among the plants of the earth. 16 Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of an animal, till seven times[d] pass by for him.

17 “‘The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.’

18 “This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had.

And like dreams previous he wanted it interpreted. But none of his wisemen or magicians could interpret it. Except for one, Daniel.

So he sends for Daniel. Daniel comes, and Nebby tells him the dream. And Daniel interprets. Daniel tells him that he, King Nebby, is the tree. And that the warning is to acknowledge that God, the almighty God of Israel. The one true God. Is the source of King Nebby's greatness. It is not by his own power, and not for his own glory that his kingdom is great and mighty. But all by the power, permission, and will of God. And if he claims it as his own power, for his own glory, God will take it away from him for seven years. Not only will the kingdom not be his, but so will his mind, and dignity, and he will live in the wild, with the animals, like the animals. And Daniel warns him to repent, and not claim his kingdom's greatness as his own.

The warning goes unheeded. King Nebby one day looks out from his palace and says "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” And before he can even finish the sentence a voice from heaven says to him "This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.”

And that's what happens. He goes through what I like to call his "wild years." And after the seven years he looks up to heaven and glorifies God. His mind is restored, and his dignity and throne restored back to him as well.

Why do I share this story? Why talk about it? I think we need to remember who our king is. Who is in charge. Since I've been home, I've been paying a but more attention to the news, and what is politically going on. Also since I've been home here in Ohio we as a country have seen a shift of power in the congress in November's elections. We've had the Wikileaks leak. Riots in London that seemed to have gone on for weeks off and on as they rose tuition cost. We had this shooting this past weekend, which some on both sides seem to have exploited to prove their agenda, or make accusations of the other's agenda.

Now I am in no way making this blog a political platform for my views. This is not the place. This is a blog for spiritual thought and discussion. But I bring the political climate in conjunction with the story of Nebby's wild years to say this.

God is in control.

We fail, so often, to remember that. Whether it's letting our fears take control of us. Or if it's thinking that by our own power, we have created something great to display the glory of our own majesty. Neither is right.

Do you know what Nebby said when he looked up to heaven and praised God? He said this:

His dominion is an eternal dominion;
his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
All the peoples of the earth
are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases
with the powers of heaven
and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand
or say to him: “What have you done?”

God is God. Bob the Tomato from Veggietales once said "God is bigger then the universe." Think about that. God is bigger then the universe. As far as science knows right now, the universe is huge. And God is bigger then huge. Bigger then ginormous. To put a size on him is impossible. To try to calculate him to the 10th power would be impossible and futile.

I think is is time that we Christians, regardless of political viewpoints, or standpoints, take to heart this message first and foremost. And that we preach this first and foremost. We put this ahead of any political ideaology. Our citizenship is His Kingdom. We are simply just temporary residences of this earth.