In Daniel 4 we see a human king grappling incompletely with the concept that God is king. King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges God’s mighty power but he doesn’t quite get the idea of God being the supreme King. Instead he refers to himself as “Nebuchadnezzar the king to all the people and nations” (v1). Nebuchadnezzar and his contemporaries imagine that gods are there to serve them, not vice versa. It is clear from the surrounding passages that God desires to be King of the world and has all authority to claim the throne. God meets the challenge of King Nebuchadnezzar and simply worries him with a dream. The dream foretells that God will bring him down to the level of the animals, devoid of all human status “until you recognise that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes”(v.25).
Who do we see as king? Is it God the Father? Is it Jesus who was crowned with thorns upon the cross? Maybe it was also Jesus who was walking around with Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in the fiery furnace (3:25)? Do you really believe that God is your king and the king of the world (cf. Matthew 7:21-23)?
As the people of God in the Illawarra do our actions reflect that our God is king over the whole world, over Australia, over the Illawarra and over each one of us? Then as ambassadors of the King do we also treat the world with righteousness (ie. correctly, fairly and appropriately) and show compassion toward the poor? Do our political leaders likewise make correct un-biased decisions and show compassion toward the poor? If not, do we lobby them or support those who do lobby them? (on a side note I think we could and should do more here, not hide behind the convenient intellectual distance between church and state – the poor do not have that luxury!).
Under God’s rule he has delegated some of the functions of his kingdom to us, the body of Christ. He says as much when he called the nation of Israel and all of us ultimately to be a light to the nations as His “kingdom of priests” (Ex 19:6; Rev 5:10).
So is our stewardship both personally and corporately a world-leading example of wise governance and inspiring leadership?
For God’s sake – for the sake of His name – I hope that it is.
Wright, N.T. 2012, “How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels” SPCK Publishing.
Wright, N.T., 2012, “NT Wright discusses his new book ‘How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels’”, – Belmont Church Podcast, – May 8, 2012. < http://www.podcasts.com/belmont-church-nashville-tn/episode/n.-t.-wright>