Do you tend to brag about your accomplishments as though they were totally of your own making? Or do you thank God that He gave you gifts that you have cultivated in your life and service? When times are tough, do you still believe God is in control?
I do not watch as much professional sports as I used to. Part of the reason is because so many modern day athletes lean towards self-promotion and individual grandstanding (on and off the field), which is not new, but much more obvious. I can understand the lure of the 24-hour news cycle, but their bragging and demonstrations of self-promotion remind me of the Old Testament story of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.
Read Daniel 4:26.
Nebuchadnezzar ruled around 600 B.C., and he thought he was way more important than he was. As the story was told, he went out for a walk on the roof of his palace one day to admire the view of his kingdom. He was heard to say something like, “Hey, look at this beautiful city and palace that I have created. What a treasure! I did it all by myself. Isn’t my power and authority awesome?”
Could you see the king doing a little end-zone type dance like football players do after a scoring a touchdown? “Look at me, I’m great!” But while Nebuchadnezzar was still bragging, he was interrupted by God. The One True God, capital G. He was addressing the lower capital king, with a k. God told him that because he claimed for himself what was really God’s blessing, he would go mad and end up living in the field with the livestock, eating grass and straw.
And so it came to be. Within an hour, Nebuchadnezzar was out of his mind and out of the palace. The lesson God wanted him to learn out in the wilderness was simple – “God really rules, not you.” He is the capital R, Ruler, and capital K, King, of the Universe. P.S. The word “awesome” should only be used when referring to God.
To his credit, the king learned his lesson. So God was gracious and restored him to his throne. Listen to the king’s conclusion at his hastily called afternoon press conference about who is truly the Great One (sorry Wayne Gretzky). “At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified Him who lives forever; His dominion is an eternal dominion; His kingdom endures from generation to generation” (Daniel 4:34).
At some time in our lives most of us are or will be tempted to think we are really in control. We’ll get praised for something we did, and we may even do a low or high fist pump of self-congratulations. Being affirmed for good character and behavior is not what I am talking about. I’m thinking about the situation(s) when we’re tempted to start passing out Vistaprint cards that say, “Just ask me how great I am!”
It’s just about that time when God gives us a wilderness experience. He will attempt to teach us what He taught Nebuchadnezzar. He is in control. Not you or me. Walk wisely. Eating crow is not as bad as eating grass, right? Aren’t you glad you have an option?
Love is a verb,
©2018 by Mike Olejarz