Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Beastly Mistake with Power and Might

He loved to come up here. He felt like he was king of the world up here. I am king of the world up here.

Nebuchadnezzar stood on the the roof of the royal palace, looking as far as the eye could see. He took a deep breath of the cool breeze that came to greet him up here. Advisers and servants scurried left and right behind him, eager to tend to his every need. In front of him, was his kingdom. Nearby, he could see the homes of the wealthy and those who belonged to his royal court. Further down, he could see one of the market places. People swarmed to the market like a bee in a beehive. Nebuchadnezzar grinned with satisfaction at having such a prosperous nation. Into the horizon, stretched building after building. They dotted every inch of the landscape.

A magnificent kingdom indeed. 

Nebuchadnezzar smiled. He felt full of pride, and why shouldn't he? The kingdom before him testified to his amazing leadership and ability. His power and might. His mighty hand in ruling. Indeed, this kingdom was a testimony to him.

He wanted to shout it from his rooftop, to those with him, and to those far away and below him. All he knew was that he needed to say it now!

"Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?"

Before Nebuchadnezzar could take back what he said, a loud, thundering voice boomed from Heaven. "Oh King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will."

For the first time, a ping of fear went through him. He had angered a god! What was going to happen now?

He didn't have to wait long. Nebuchadnezzar was starting to feel funny. He fidgeted, and then he let loose a loud growl.

Based on Daniel 4:28-32

"Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of Heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers, and his nails were like birds' claws." Daniel 4:33

Nebuchadnezzar became puffed up with his big-shot authority. He looked around him at the magnificent kingdom he had been GIVEN, and boasted that it was all in his strength, his power, his might, his work. Not so cool with God.

"After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go..... The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in you name!' And he said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.'" Luke 10:1, 10:17-20

In this section, Jesus sent out a bunch of men out to towns he was going to teach in before He got there. There they would start telling the townspeople about the kingdom of God. Those men came back on fire for God. They were ecstatic. When they returned, they couldn't wait to run up to Jesus to say that even the demons had listened to them when they used His name.

Jesus was excited with them, but then He told them something important, something I think we forget today. Jesus told them that yes, He had give them authority to tread on the physical threats in our world, and all power over the enemy in the spiritual world, but then He said that we shouldn't rejoice over our new-found power, but instead that we should rejoice that we have been saved.

It's not about our power, which God gave to us. It's about how we have been saved by grace and mercy through Jesus' death on the cross. Nebuchadnezzar had forgotten that every ounce of power and might that he had was given to him by God, so God had to humble Nebuchadnezzar for a season of his life. Remember, if we are going to boast, boast about God, because He gave it all to us all. It's not by our might and power, but by God's.

V. Joy Palmer

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