“How the Mighty Fall!”
Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
All earthly kings have a very high opinion of themselves. There was a king whose opinion of himself reached to the heavens. He thought so much of himself that he made a golden image for his subjects to worship. He commanded all people to worship the idol he made under penalty of death. This king’s name was Nebuchadnezzar. His acts are recorded in the book of Daniel.
The main revelation of chapters three and four of Daniel is the absolute sovereignty of the one true God. Yet, there are many lessons that apply directly to us. One is the example of the three Hebrews: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These three men demonstrated an unyielding reliance upon God. They were willing to be burned alive rather than worship the false god erected by the king. Another lesson revealed to us through these men is the faithfulness of God. In the midst of the flames, one like “a son of the gods” was with them. God’s promise to be with His people, as declared in Joshua 1:5 and repeated in Hebrews 13:5, was demonstrated by His presence with the three men in the fiery furnace.
God revealed His sovereignty and His faithfulness, and the three Hebrews demonstrated saving faith in God. But there is more to learn. There is a timely lesson for all professing Christians. No matter what power rulers or public officials claim for themselves, we know that there is One who has absolute power and authority. Jesus declared that He has all power and authority in heaven and on earth (Mat 28:18), and He will have the last word. Daniel and his three friends lived under a foolish, pompous, and self-serving king, and they were fully convinced of the truth of God’s sovereignty.
Daniel was given a vision of the Son of God having all power and dominion (Daniel 7:13-14). Daniel saw in the night visions one like a son of man coming with the clouds. Daniel’s vision was a glimpse of the pre-incarnate Christ.
I find it necessary to remember the sovereignty of God as I hear current news and events. We are experiencing the breakdown of the rule of law in our nation. We have so-called elected leaders who appear to ignore the laws of our land. We have leaders who see themselves as being accountable to no one. There are others who have apparently abdicated their responsibility to hold their fellow civil servants accountable. We are fooled into electing men and women who promise to be something that they are not. Every day it seems that we are seeing our country coming apart at the seams.
The lesson learned by King Nebuchadnezzar provides hope for God’s people, those who place their trust in the only One who has all authority, Jesus Christ.
The king saw himself as the one and only sovereign ruler. No one could question or oppose him. He thought that he was the owner of the world. His was the greatest empire, and he believed it would last forever.
God confronted the king through Daniel. God said that the king would be driven from his kingdom and be driven mad. God brought Nebuchadnezzar to his knees!
One day when the king was surveying all that he owned, God humbled him. The king was made to live as an animal. His appearance was animal-like. He behaved like a wild beast. This once great king who thought he was above everyone and everything was humiliated.
We often pray that God would cause our leaders who have extreme pride, called hubris, to be brought to their knees. No one is too far from God. When we pray this prayer our motives are that those who are full of pride will repent and turn to God for the salvation of their souls.
King Nebuchadnezzar was caused by God to do just that. When the time determined by God was completed, the king regained his senses. The first words out of his mouth were praise to the One who lives forever. He declared the truth of the sovereign majesty of the one true God. He declared his submission to the true God worshiped by Daniel and his three friends.
I remember this factual story and I have hope. Place your hope in the one who will never disappoint you or leave you. Trust in God. He alone is sovereign. Pray that our leaders will learn the reality of God’s sovereignty and that they will govern accordingly.