2007-02-05 - Daniel
So what of us? First let us rejoice for God is our father, and as we live for Him and walk in His ways, we are given the opportunity to be used by Him and to build that which will last for all eternity.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
God placed Nebuchadnezzar in his position of authority. God wanted him to rule wisely. What was unacceptable was for Nebuchadnezzar to keep the glory and honor which belonged to God. Probably the most difficult thing for us to learn as believers is that we cannot base our lives on circumstances. We give assent to the fact God is in control, but I know that I sometimes act as if I think that God has made a mistake. And I suspect that we have all felt that way at one time or another. I'm sure many wondered why Nebuchadnezzar had to suffer with madness for such an extended time. But the most important thing in Nebuchadnezzar's life wasn't his power, his comfort, or even his reputation. The most important thing in his life was given God the proper place. He needed an accurate self-image. This is the bottom line for each of us. We too are called to have an accurate self-image. We are called to acknowledge, and to walk in the truth that all life comes from God:
First, God is the source of eternal life.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Second, He is the source of true life.
"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10
An accurate self-image comes from recognizing this truth, that we are the creation and that our Father is the creator and that there is no life outside of Him. There is no life outside of the Lord. We can strive to make our lives materially successful. We can strive to make our children behave in a way that makes us proud. We can strive to make our marriages ideal. We can even strive to make a church great. But if we strive to do any of these things aside from the Lord's direction; if we strive to do any of this out of our own strength; if we make these things the goals of our lives and the source of our motivation, then we have no life, because we are saying that life comes from somewhere other that God.
"Whoever finds his life will lose it. In other words, when they find all of these things the source of life they will find just as did they have nothing, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 10:39).
And where we decide that the only thing that matters in life is obedience to the Lord, we will find true satisfaction and fulfillment. Satisfaction does not come from comfort in life, but in knowing that we are pleasing the Lord. After all, our lives certainly are not as difficult as Paul's.
"I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness" (2 Corinthians 11:23-30).
And what was the basis of Paul's comfort? That in all that he did, unlike Nebuchadnezzar, God would receive the glory and recognition. And so it is with us also, for whatever success we find is not to our credit, but to the glory of our wonderful Lord. What is the most important lesson we can give to the world around us? And even more so, what is the most important lesson we can give to our children? God is sovereign over all.
And therefore in all things we are to serve the Lord. It is from this service that we receive our peace, comfort, and security. The nation Israel was called to serve their Lord. They were called to be a nation of priests, but because of their sins there was only one priestly tribe. And now there is only a priesthood - made up of all believers.
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9).
And as we struggle with finances, as we struggle with abuse, as we struggle
Come, all Christians, be committed
Personal Application: Let us examine our life, and in dependency on God, develop an accurate self-image. This week, let us consider where we may have confused the world's view of success with God's.
Prayer for the Week: Lord, let our service and worship be worthy of You. Let us live in the confidence that You are in control of all things. In Christ's name, amen.
6 Lloyd, Eva B., The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration, "Come, All Christians, Be Committed," Word Music, Waco, TX, 1986, # 455.