Monday, September 15, 2008

Praises from Pagan Kings

September 15: Daniel 4-6

1 King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! 2 It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.

3 How great are his signs,
how mighty his wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and his dominion endures from generation to generation.
Daniel 4:1-3

34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,

for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”

36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
Daniel 4:34-37

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. 26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,

for he is the living God,
enduring forever;
his kingdom shall never be destroyed,
and his dominion shall be to the end.
27 He delivers and rescues;
he works signs and wonders
in heaven and on earth,
he who has saved Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
Daniel 6:26b-27

Praises from Pagan Kings

As I read today's Bible reading I was struck with the praises from pagan kings! Look at their amazing testimonies in Daniel 4: 3 & 34b-35, and chapter 6:26b-27. Does this mean that these pagan kings became Christians?

What an important question to consider? When rulers of nations speak words of praise to God does that necessarily make them Christians?

Look at those first words of praise from King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:3; what an impressive testimony. Yet, just a few paragraphs later the king has another disturbing dream. The interpretation of this dream is a declaration against the king himself. Look how Daniel pleads with him after giving him the interpretation in verse 27.

Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.

Did all of this change the heart of Nebuchadnezzar? Just twelve months later we hear the king speaking these words.

“Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”

Whose glory does Nebuchadnezzar praise? Where is God now? We know the rest of the story; the king was driven from the palace to the fields to live with the animals for seven years.

31 While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, 32 and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.”

In chapter 6, verses 26b-27 we hear similar praises from Darius, the Mede, who overthrew the Babylonian kingdom. Making a vibrant testimony praising God for the marvelous things He has done does not make us a Christian! Remember, Christianity is a religion of the heart. When in our hearts we bow before Christ, repenting of our sins and accepting Him as our only possible Savior, Christ comes into our hearts and lives with us forever!

Did these pagan kings become Christians? I do not know, though I think it was very unlikely. We never hear of these kingdoms leaving their own gods to follow the one and only, true and living God. In the end, however, we cannot know another person's heart; only God has that power.

These are good questions for those of us who live in the United States to ponder in this election year.

God Bless You,

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

1 comment:

El-Shaddai-dad said...

Veirly verily hath it not been writ-ten that all flesh is grass?

Your's is to know the hour and day before many. Othniel, the hour of God and THE LION OF GOD.

All is well in Love and Peace.