i, nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace. i saw a dream that made me afraid. as i lay in bed the fancies and the visions of my head alarmed me. so i made a decree that all the wise men of babylon should be brought before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. then the magicians, the enchanters, the chaldeans, and the astrologers came in, and i told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its interpretation. [daniel 4:4-7]
God is so patient. time after time, God has revealed his glory and power to king nebuchadnezzar, warned him about trying to steal this glory for himself, and made it very clear that all things are given from his mighty hand. but every time, God is not given the credit due his name. the king has acknowledged God’s power, but has only put him at the top of the long list of false gods that he is still serving. each time he has quickly forgotten the display of glory he has witnessed and fallen back into his life of ease, reveling in his own accomplishments, his own prosperity, his own glory.
so here, once again, God calls nebuchadnezzar out of his comfortable stupor. showing his wisdom and power in the form of a dream that God alone can interpret, he puts the king in his place, humbling him once again. another chance to repent. another reminder of God’s presence.
what’s your response when God graciously gives you these same reminders? when he humbles you, brings you low, so that he can loom large in your heart, how do you react?
as a pagan king, nebuchadnezzar was given these opportunities to turn from idolatry to the one true God. but as God’s beloved children, we are given the same reminders because God, in his grace and mercy, has promised not to lose us to our false gods. that no one will be able to snatch us out of his hand. that if we are his, we are forever his. when we are humbled, he is showing us his faithfulness to that promise. when our idols of pride and comfort are torn down, he is showing us his faithfulness to that promise.
therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. for the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. for a people shall dwell in zion, in jerusalem; you shall weep no more. he will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. and though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. and your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “this is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. you will scatter them as unclean things. you will say to them, “be gone!” [isaiah 30:18-22]
look back at the trials and tragedies of your life… how did God show himself as faithful? how has he used those times to draw you near and show you his goodness? can you look back now and thank him for what he’s done in those times?
today, in the presence of a God who gives the bread of adversity so that in our hour of need we will turn to him, and thank him. for his promise never to lose us. for his promise never to leave us or forsake us. for his reminders that he is God and we are not. thank him that in our time of discomfort, we don’t have to seek wisdom from the world the way nebuchadnezzar did, because we have an all-knowing, all-wise Father living and working in us and through us, to bring us safely into eternity, faithful to the end.
~ arwen eastma