A king in the field

Daniel 4:37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”

 King Nebuchadnezzar, an arrogant bastard was he. He was the same king that put Daniel in the den of lions and when morning came praised Daniel’s God for his safe keeping. Nebbie knew of God but it wasn’t enough. 

Nebbie has a dream, it’s a terrifying one and Daniel explains it for him. The dream is a warning. Daniel pleads with the king to turn from his selfish, self-centered ways, but as all arrogant bastards believe, their way is the right way. 

Twelve months later as he is looking out over his kingdom, Nebbie reflects, “ My kingdom is great which I myself have built…” While the words were still in the king’s mouth another voice was heard. “Time’s up! It’s time to experience field life until you realize that all you have comes from God.”

Immediately Nebbie’s dream came true, he was taken from the castle and out into the field with the animals. He eats grass, slept outdoors; his hair grew like a wild beasts and his nails like bird claws. Needless to say he wasn’t exactly his kingdom self.

Then as if in an instant, the light turned on. Nebbie raised his head to the sky, his reasoning comes back to him and he sees God for who he is.

Not everyone has to experience field life. You know it when you see it, it turns people into animals. It’s not meant as a punishment, rather a way to get their attention. Nebbie had a whole year to change his ways, and he choose not to. He acknowledged the God of Daniel, however God knew that wasn’t enough. Daniel’s God wanted to be Nebbie’s God. It takes a lot to get the attention of those who think they are God’s gift to the world. For some they must become animal like to understand how small they are in comparison to their maker. 

Nebbie came out of this experience, praising, exalting and honoring God. He wasn’t broken, trembling or wounded from the experience. He comes out stronger than he was before. All of his ability, wisdom, and authority was now centered, not in himself but in God. 

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”

He is the God who loves arrogant bastards enough to get their attention and make them kings!


Ears can’t see

Job 42:5  My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.

My buddy Job is an interesting character. Job loves God. He is seemingly a successful father with grown children. He is successful business man with great wealth. In a very short period of time it’s all taken away from him. Come to find out it had nothing to do with him. No, this was a discussion between the God he served and Satan. Satan was accusing God that people only served him because of his blessings.

The image of God that plays regularly in my head is a large, gentle, strong, wise, all knowing and very patient image. I envision God pondering Satan’s words, nodding his head a few times as he contemplates and then simply says, “Have you considered my servant Job? 

Satan’s ears perk up, he snarls a bit and rolls his slimy hands in anticipation. “You can do whatever you want, but you can’t take his life,” God says. REALLY? What the…? 

Satan wastes no time. Job gets the word that all his land has been destroyed, his children killed and all his wealth vanishes; at least he has his health – right, that goes too. I used to think that God knew Job’s character and knew that in the end he would not crumble. I now believe that it had nothing to do with Job. God knew that there was nothing He couldn’t redeem. 

Job’s wife and friends do their best to console him. They actually have some good things to say. God allows their discussion to go on and on, almost 40 chapters of it. Then God begins to talk. His words are loud and clear: He is God and there is none His equal. 

It is at the end when Job says, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” There is a great gulf between knowing God and seeing him. Those who know God typically speak of him as a judging, condemning, righteous figure. Those who see him, see him in the midst of calamity, disaster and suffering. They see a God who loves and who in spite of all the evil and wrong in the world is there. 

Do you see him? Do you see him in the midst of your suffering and heartache? Do you see him in the midst of your loss and abuse? He is there, waiting patiently for you to allow him to redeem it all and work it out for your good. 

There’s a PS to this story. Job did get everything back and he got it back double. BUT it didn’t just appear one morning, it came back naturally. God didn’t drop six grown children in his lap, his didn’t wake up to find his fields completely restored and producing. Barns didn’t just appear filled with herds of animals. I believe that for the rest of Jobs life he experienced God’s rebuilding. Not a bad retirement.


The Protective Bubble

There are three verses that when connected create what I call a protective bubble –

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 

What this verse doesn’t say is, I’m going to tell you the plans I have for you. God has a plan for each of us but unlike He did for Noah, He doesn’t tell most of us. Imagine if God did. What would be your first impulse? To tell someone? To argue with Him? To try to change His mind? I’m thinking all three. 

Isaiah 54:17: No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.

It doesn’t say “no weapon will be formed against me or no tongue will ever accuse me”. We can be certain that both weapons and words will attack at some time in life. Shit happens. The promise is that neither will prosper. It’s not easy to remember when you’re in the middle of it; beginning, middle or end – it doesn’t matter where you are in “my world is falling apart” mode. It’s not easy to grasp. However, once grasped this promise defines contentment.

Romans 8:28  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

My old theology would have taken these three verses to mean that nothing bad will ever happen, life will be one big party – I will get whatever I want – it’s all good! That’s bad theology! 

The protective bubble is this: God has plans for me, I need to trust Him. Bad things are going to happen. Weapons and accusations will cross my path, shit will most definitely happen – but it won’t last. God will redeem it all and work it out for my good. 

On a more personal scale, this bubble of protections says this: You can’t screw up my life! You can interrupt it, make it a bit uncomfortable but in the end if I remain true to this belief it’s all going to work out in my favor. 

For anyone who has experienced abuse in their life this is an inconceivable concept.  I think that even in the worst of cases this bubble of protection holds true. Because of God’s great love, He will not let the abuser prosper; He will weave every experience into the tapestry that is your life and will at the end make it all good. He still has plans for you. It isn’t out of His neglect that abuse happens, it’s out of His love that He redeems it.

Past, present and future, it’s all covered. It’s a guarantee for those called according to His purpose – oh crap, what’s His purpose?  Oh yes I remember,  to love the Lord my God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all your strength and to love my neighbor as myself.

It’s a lovely bubble!