By Not Known
Since several weeks ago, we have been studying through the sermons delivered on the pulpit that the Israelites were once in exile in Babylon. The Babylonians did not worship the One True God. Instead, they worshipped many false gods and idols. Their king, Nebuchadnezzar, was a very powerful man who also worshipped false gods and idols. However, God had a plan to reveal Himself to King Nebuchadnezzar. God saw to it that Nebuchadnezzar’s path crossed with a few of His faithful followers’; Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, in order to teach Nebuchadnezzar the truth, and mainly to assure as well as to comfort the distressed Israelites in exile, that Yahweh, the One True God, is sovereign. He judges the rebellious world powers, and would vindicate the faithful Israelites.
In Daniel 1, Daniel and his friends set their hearts and minds to obey God by not eating of the king’s food. As a result of their obedience and dependence on Him, God gave them great wisdom, so much so that King Nebuchadnezzar found them ten times wiser than all of His kingdom’s wise men, leading him to honour these men of God.
In Daniel 2, the Lord gave Nebuchadnezzar a dream that only Daniel could interpret. Daniel made it very clear that the dream and the interpretation had come from the One True God. Through this dream, Nebuchadnezzar learnt that only God’s Kingdom will last forever. The king learnt that God is all-wise, and He reveals the truth. Therefore, Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged that Daniel’s God is the ‘God of gods’.
In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar witnessed in the fiery furnace that the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is faithful; He keeps His promise to protect and rescue His faithful people. Nebuchadnezzar witnessed the Lord step into the blazing furnace to be with those who trust in Him. As a result, the king decreed that no one was allowed to speak against the God of the Israelites.
All of these were steps towards knowing God, but Nebuchadnezzar still did not understand that God is the ONLY God, and that He is in control of everything. Nebuchadnezzar thought that he himself was god. He had one more very important lesson to learn.
In Daniel 4, the final part of the story about King Nebuchadnezzar, we see how God humbled the proud king, and restored him only after he had acknowledged that Israel’s God, ‘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’.
When we think of the millions of Christians suffering persecution today, we may begin to question God’s sovereignty. If God is sovereign, why does he not rescue his people from their distress? There is no easy answer to this question but the message of Daniel 4 is beyond doubt; God is sovereign over all earthly kingdoms. He can replace rulers at will. Nebuchadnezzar is long gone. Nero is long dead. Hitler, Stalin, Chairman Mao (Zedong) and Kim Jong Il – they are all gone. However, God is still here. His Kingdom has come with Jesus’ coming, and will come in perfection when Jesus comes again. God’s Kingdom will replace all earthly kingdoms. The new earth will overflow with justice and peace. Then, all will praise the King of kings and Lord of lords. Thanks be to God!