Saturday, July 31, 2010

Daniel 4-5: God's Power and Glory versus Ours

From Garden to City reading:  Daniel 4-5

For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.
Romans 13:1 (NLT)

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
1 Peter 5:5-6 (NIV)

Nebuchadnezzar and then his son Belshazzar rule over the most powerful kingdom in the region.  I suppose if I were in their position, I'd let it go to my head.  Just a little bit.  Or a lot.  

It's sort of like being president of the United States.  Except you don't have congress or the people telling you what to do.  Or like being head of the EU.  Or like being Kim Jong Il of North Korea.  Or Castro. 

All power comes from God.  
All authority ultimately belongs to God.  
Yes, God allows imperfect people to lead.  
And yes, they often forget (or never realize) God is the source of their power.  

But these men have Daniel in their lives.  They've seen God work, and they've even recognized his power.  And they still get caught up in their own power structures.  God warns Nebuchadnezzar with a dream, yet he still declares, "Is not this the great Babylon I have built . . by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?"

And Nebuchadnezzar's fall from power should serve as a warning to Belshazzar.  

Certainly none of us rule over kingdoms the size of Babylon, but how often do we get caught up in our own successes?  And how often do we get caught up in our own little power structures.  

It seems that unless we keep our eyes on God, and our hearts fixed on his glory, we fall prey to pride.   Only God is great.  All power, all authority comes from him.  And we belong to him.  

Let us humble ourselves before God, and he will lift us up in his time.  
But we will never be higher than God.

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