Who’s really got the power?

With the UK general election only a few months away, we’re going to hear start hearing more and more promises about all that a leader will do when they ‘come to power.’ Any aspiring national leader, would do well to read Daniel 4 and be reminded that any position of authority, is only because God has ordained it.

In fact, whether we lead a nation or a company, a classroom or the front room, God wants us all to remember that he is ultimately in charge.

In Daniel 4, proud King Nebuchadnezzar is humbled. As the leader of the mighty Babylonian superpower, he’s pretty sure of his achievements, his wealth, his power, and he’s rather proud of himself. Trouble is, this sort of self-sufficient pride, cuts at the root of what it is to be human at all, the creature knowing the Creator. We tend to wince at arrogance (who writes the script for the Apprentice candidates one liners?!) but God does far more than that: he opposes it. This opposition is a very good thing, because God doesn’t simply stand against pride, but strives to deal with our pride. That’s the nature of King Nebuchadnezzar’s warning, his humbling and praise the Lord, his humble repentance. He writes an edict, to praise the God of kings, who is even able to humble the proud, that they might know God and live.

Read Daniel 4. It’s not short, but take your time to let the events of the narrative unfold…

To Ponder

1. Verses 2-3 and 37 show a remarkable change in the King, in comparison to previous chapters. What/who has changed him?

2. Did the King ask to be warned and humbled? What does this teach us about God’s dealings with proud sinners?

3. What is Daniel’s concern in v19? Do we share a similar concern for the seriousness of a proud rejection of God, knowing its consequences?

4. Do we tolerate personal pride more than we should? In what areas are we proud, and need to be careful?

5. How does such pride hinder our relationship with the Creator, and dependence on word and prayer?

6. God’s character is consistent with humanity: he warns (the dream) and acts (the watchman comes down) that we might turn to Him and live. Have a read of Philippians 2.5-11 and be very encouraged!

To Pray & Praise

1. Pray through anything you’ve learned about your attitude to pride, and areas you need God to help you change

2. Thank God that he can and does humble proud sinners like King Nebuchadnezzar, (and you and me).

3. Thank God for Jesus, who is the humble King of Kings, dying and rising so that proud sinners might live.

4. Commit to praying for opportunities to speak of repentance to the most proud people you know, the ones you’ve almost dared to ‘give up’ on.

5. Pray for your own ‘kingdoms’: those areas where God has entrusted you with authority – that with Him ruling over you, He will also rule through you.