Christianity 201

December 13, 2011

When God Spoke Audibly to the King

Albert Rommal is the newest blogger at Alltop.Christian; he’s in pastoral ministry in Phoenix, AZ, and his blog is titled The Sovereign God. This piece appeared recently under the title, The Interesting Case of King Nebuchadnezzar

At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:29)

So here you have a great king of a great kingdom, the kingdom of Babylon. And he’s walking around one night surveying his kingdom. And he thinks to himself, “you know what? I’m pretty awesome. Look what I have accomplished. I am a great empire builder. Man, I’m something else, the real deal, the man.”

Well, it didn’t go just like that, but you can see in the verse above that according to the language of his day, he thought himself to be a pretty neat guy.  Bad move!

What did God do? Something He didn’t do too often.  He intervened orally.  He spoke directly to Nebuchadnezzar.

And what was His message?  It was this. I am God and I do whatever pleases me. Anything you accomplish is because of my will, my work, my decree.

Now to get Nebuchadnezzar to see this, He had to take care of the issue, which was Nebuchadnezzar’s pride. And to accomplish that, God humiliated him.

He made him like the basest of creatures, who ate grass and became unkempt. “While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, 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.”(Daniel 4:31-32)

“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)

God always does things for a purpose and the purpose here was to show the ole king who God is. And who is God? He is the one who “rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” In other words, there is no room for boasting, save in God in heaven. Not ever. Not anyone.

Have you accomplished something?  Great!  Give God the glory.

Many struggle with the idea that God is sovereign even though He tells us over and over again in His word that He is so.  This is just another example and a pretty nifty one at that. It’s almost as if He decided in Heaven that it was high time He joined the conversation, even though briefly.

When we get to heaven ourselves, we will see that God was and is far more sovereign than even the most ardent Calvinist might believe here on earth. For we see through a glass dimly. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

OK, so back to Nebuchadnezzar. God ended his time being a human aardvark, restoring him, not only to his kingdom, but to his senses as well. “At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me….”

His reason returned to him.  What a great thing to say because up that point he was being unreasonable. (That’s another lesson to us folks. It is unreasonable to think that God is not sovereign all the time and over everything and everyone.)

And so what did Nebuchadnezzar learn? What did he declare when he came to his senses? Read carefully and take note.

“I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,

for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”

At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” (Daniel 4:34-37)

Is there anything more we can add to this?

Our God is God. Jesus Christ! And He reigns in heaven and over all the kingdoms of men. So much so that we can do nothing about it and can’t even say to Him, “What have you done?”

Let us learn from the interesting case of King Nebuchadnezzar, who had the Lord of heaven and earth intervene in his life in a most unusual way – all to make the point that He is God over all.

Let us get the point and imitate good king Nebuchadnezzar.

~Albert Rommal

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