Sunday, October 19, 2008

King Nebuchadnezzar, God Called Him "His Servant"

(For the record, I resist my own post here as much as you probably will. But we might keep it in mind, come November and beyond.)

Who's the most treacherous and dangerous world leader you can think of? The greatest threat to world peace today? I can think of several for my short list: Ahmadinejad of Iran, Chavez of Venezuela and Putin of Russia---they're a regular axis of personal apprehension when I think about it.

Which presidential candidate do you most fear getting elected? For me it's Barack Obama, hands down with his radical, liberal intention to implement economic justice (socialism), social engineering and fraternize with terrorists both here and abroad.

Whoever it is, you or I cannot regard any of these people with any greater fear, trepidation or disdain than the people of Judah had for Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon (now Iraq) in the Sixth Century Before Christ. When Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would be conquered by the Babylonian army and they and their Jewish king would be carried off to captivity, Judah's King Zedekiah threw the prophet in prison and reissued a new and false prophecy saying it just wasn't so.

Yet in Jeremiah 27:6 of the Old Testament, God describes Nebuchadnezzar as His Servant.

This had to be unimaginable for the people of Jeremiah's day. And utterly horrifying. To them Nebuchadnezzar was the epitome of evil and a murderous despot who ruled a ruthless superpower that was poised to overrun their lands, destroy their cities and carry them off into captivity---- which in fact happened.

How could God through Jeremiah possibly say Nebuchadnezzar was God's servant? As a matter of fact this was similar to another prophecy made by Isaiah about Cyrus the Great which called the conqueror, My servant, His anointed. (Isaiah 44:28, 45:1) Both of these rulers had vast power over huge territories in the ancient Middle East. And their decisions determined much of the course of known world history during that time.

From the human perspective, Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus were the world's greatest despots and greatly to be feared and resisted.

But the prophecies of Jeremiah and Isaiah, as well as history, bear out that ultimately these rules were not in control of the final outcomes. God was. (Remember God turned Nebuchadnezzar into a wild animal that lived in the wild for seven years, before turning him back into a man who praised God for the rest of his life?)

Whether these kings admitted it or not, they were put in positions of authority by the Hand of God. As such they were God's servants, God's agents. And through their decisions they knowingly or unknowingly, ended up serving God's purposes in history.

If God is the King of all kings and rulers in the modern world, what does that say about today's motley and scary group of leaders? Ultimately God is in control---in spite of our fierce oppostion and apprehension. He will use them and us to fulfill His ends, move history forward. And He will bring many to Him in the process.

It is our responsibility to pray for this great outworking of God's plan, whether we understand it or not, and for knowing our part in it. This is no way negates the need for resistance or even war on our parts. It just means that we don't always understand the higher purposes of the unfolding of history. And with God, we can seek to know our personal part in it, whatever that is. Prayer greatly facilitates this at such a scary time.

MEANWHILE THIS FOR MONDAY, so don't peek till then.

Via, American Digest


Jungle Mom said...

I fear we will not be happy in November. But, we can rest assured that god is in control.

Gerard said...

Now,now, fear is the little death. Do not fear. Do not mourn. Organize.

Magic Mike said...

Great Post! Romans 13:1 and John 19:11 assures us that God is in control of our leaders and rulers...and the best we can do is pray that God gets ahold of them and transforms them from the inside out!

Anonymous said...

And now, two years after this insightful post, we stand as a weakened nation and a desperate people. It appears America is not unlike Jerusalem just before its own conquering. The writer's points are entirely valid, and the conquering of our nation at the hands of communists and Muslims has a precedent in history, and consistent with the writer's premise. I do suggest, however, that the American Christian has forgotten his responsibility to actively resist tyranny, even when violence is necessary.