Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold. “After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. Daniel 2:37-43 (NIV).
How would Nebuchadnezzar have felt to know that his empire would not last? How would you or I feel in that situation?
Fact is, our empires won’t last, either. Nowhere in Scripture is a “United States” mentioned. Businesses and corporations aren’t meant to last over generations; in fact, most don’t. And what about us? Most families don’t raise a fortune; most families don’t inherit fortunes either. In the end, the only earth we really, truly ‘own’ is our grave. Even Nebuchadnezzar is dead, and we don’t know where he’s buried today.
One thing to note about the verses: Daniel isn’t referring to Nebuchadnezzar as Jesus. Jesus is often called “King of Kings.” In verse 37, Daniel calls Nebuchadnezzar “king of kings.” He isn’t referring to Nebuchadnezzar as savior. Instead, Daniel addresses him as the most powerful ruler in the known world; the temporal king who rules over lesser kings; the ‘head Fred,’ if you will, not the Savior of the world.
What do those thoughts have in common? What do the ideas of “nothing here lasts forever” and “some rulers are powerful” and “Jesus is King of Kings” have in common? They remind us that God is God and we aren’t. That nothing here lasts, so we desperately need Jesus forever. As we’ll see tomorrow, the good news of the Good News got preached because a bold man humbled himself before God so that he could boldly proclaim the truthful interpretation of a tough dream to a worried but understanding enemy.
For further reading: Daniel 2:44
Lord Jesus, only You last forever.
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