Today I am pondering all sorts of things, but mostly the sovereignty of God.
I’m reading through Daniel at the moment, a book that I’ve always known but never actually read. It is blowing my mind. So often I find myself reading ahead, just itching to find out what happens next. I’m so excited about it that I even got out my Bible and started reading in the food court at Westfield while eating McDonalds. I just couldn’t wait until I got home. I’d been so excited about a full afternoon of shopping, and instead I held a half eaten cheeseburger in my hand and sat glued to the crazy antics of King Nebuchadnezzar.
It’s got to be said, this guy was insane. He had a dream that creeped him out a little, so he not only demanded that it be interpreted for him (which would have been relatively normal, for a king of his time), he actually demanded that the person trying to interpret it tell him what the dream actually was about. His theory, I guess, was that if they didn’t have the wisdom to know what his dream was, how could they know what it meant? But seriously, how could anyone have possibly known what his dream was? I’ve never met anyone who could say what another person dreamed, even when my husband sleep talks, I don’t know what he’s dreaming. It is impossible. He is crazy.
This is where God comes in, and I love it. Part of me is wondering if God was just being a little funny here. He had all the wise men, astrologers and magicians frustrated out of their minds and now angry and terrified because they were going to be executed for not being able to do the impossible, and then this Jewish guy taken from his home turns up and is like “Okay, here’s the deal.” What everyone must have been thinking!
The dream itself is out of this world. I still don’t understand quite why Nebuchadnezzar had that dream. It seems as if God just continually pursued him, but He could have given him a dream that was perhaps more relevant to him. It just seems a little random, but then again, I’m only up to chapter 6 so maybe it will become more clear soon. Either way, the dream fascinates me and now I’m a little bit preoccupied with the second coming of Jesus.
I love as well the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I love their humilty in not defending themselves. I love their willingness to die for what was right. I laughed my head off at the fact that the fire was so hot it burned and killed the soldiers throwing them in to the pit. And then, oh,the words Nebuchadnezzar says as he calls them out of the pit: “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” Servants of the Most High God – that’s the part that really gets me. He knew who they were! He knew without them telling him the greatness of the One they worshipped! And then, the part that gives me chills, he decrees anyone who says anything bad about God will be killed. And why? Because no other god can save in this way.
King Nebuchadnezzar has another crazy dream, and this one freaks me out. This part of the book appears to be written by Nebuchadnezzar himself, which is instrumental in making it all the more creepy. Essentially, Nebuchadnezzar is told (by Daniel, who is interpreting his dream) that he will be driven out into the wild, away from humans, and that he will live like an animal for seven times (what is times? NIV suggests years, but I’d like to know for sure) until he acknowledges the power and authority of God. And then a year later, he’s walking around going “I’m so amazing, check out my kingdom” and a voice comes to him from heaven saying “You will be driven out into the wild to live like an animal for seven times until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign” and then immediately what is said is fulfilled.
It’s what we’re not really told that freaks me out so much. Imagine being told that that’s what would happen to you. And then waiting for 12 months, never really knowing when it was going to happen, and maybe hoping it would never happen. I can’t even begin to think what his time in the wild must have been like. It’s crazy. What an extreme way to get someone’s attention. But then part of me thinks that it was probably the only way that would have worked. Nebuchadnezzar was a pretty extreme guy. I don’t think anything else would have been quite enough for him.
Tonight, I will be reading about Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s son, maybe. NIV says that it could be “successor” but he’s refered to as his father a lot. The story teller in me thinks there might be a scandal, like everyone thinks he’s his son, but he’s not, because the queen or the queen mother (NIV isn’t sure) is like “Nebuchadnezzar, your father – your father, I tell you!” and it just seems like a bit of an overemphasis. But this isn’t fiction, it’s real life, so I guess I should concentrate on the important stuff. I’m looking forward to really digging into this crazy floating hand.
I love the Bible. The stories are so rich and the truths so powerful. One thing I’m being reminded over and over again during this journey through Daniel is that God is sovereign. That changes so much for my life. I kind of have two choices, I can either acknowledge this and live my life in a way that reflects His sovereignty, or I can risk being made to live in the wild until I do acknowledge it (well, maybe not that extreme, but certainly things rarely go right when you’re not giving God the glory for all that He has done). I’m always drawn to the idea of doing something that scares you, but I hardly ever actually do it. My big question for the day is whether or not I could actually scare myself by giving God total control. I wonder what would happen.