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February 16, 2009 / beidson

Grazing With Nebuchadnezzar: The Folly of Trusting in Prestige and Power

In this tumultuous time, we must remind ourselves that no politician will deliver us from evil ornebuchadnezzar give us the good things our hearts were made to desire.  Presidents and dictators and other leaders may give us good things and may protect us from bad things (or vice versa), but at the same time they are constantly proving that they cannot be trusted in any ultimate sense.

When kings and those with power and authority do not see themselves within a theological framework, even a Christological framework, there is no way they will be able to keep themselves from corruption.  This is the nature of sin.  We see this everyday.  We see it in the eagerness of an older sibling to control his younger siblings.  We see it in spouses who seek to control their kids with manipulation rather than biblical discipline.  We see it in tyrants who are openly hostile towards other nations and dream of genocide.  We see it in governors who use their high position for leverage and profit.  We see it in presidents who do not tell the truth, or defend the murder of babies.  The point at which power turns toward corruption is when it is removed from the context of God’s authority and begins to center around individual or human autonomy.

And so it was with Nebuchadnezzar.  He refused to acknowledge that his power was given to him by God, and began to crave the homage of his people and the spoils of war.  Scripture says that “his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly,” at which time the Lord brought him down and stripped him of his majesty.  “He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys.  He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets it over whom he will” (Daniel 5:20-21).  He went from dwelling in the cedars of his palace to the cedars of the woods; from the king’s bath to exposure to dew and rain; from eating slaughtered animals to thinking like one.  He was greatly exalted by men, but the Most High greatly humiliated him so that he would understand his rightful place, which was in submission to God.

We also must be warned by old Neb’s corruption and dereliction.  He was just a man, but his folly was that he came to believe he was a god.  If we begin to find ourselves enjoying the spoils of capitalism to the neglect of helping our brother in need; if we think we are somebody special because we are the highest paid employee in our office; if we think our intellect is something to boast about; if we fool ourselves into believing that our freedom should never be restricted, even at the cost of innocent lives; if we use our authority to enforce rules or policies or laws that do not regard the image of God in humanity; if we do these things and think that we are justified because of our ability to control the future, beware–we may soon find ourselves grazing in a wasteland like animals to be slaughtered, until the time when we again acknowledge that the Most High God rules mankind.

Scripture is clear that there is only one King to whom we must turn continually.  His kingdom is forever.  This is the Man to whom to every king must give an account.  He rode on a donkey, but never acted like one.  He alone is exalted to the highest place.  All authority in heavn and on earth belongs to Jesus Christ.  Do you gladly acknowledge this truth today, or do you wish to eat grass with a donkey like Nebuchadnezzar?

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