46*Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him. 47*The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” 48*Then the king gave Daniel high honours and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 49*Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court.
* 3*King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits.
From a position of pride and power, the king, ‘fell upon his face’, in humility and reverence. The king, who was passionate, powerful and ruthless, recognises in an instant that he is not the orchestrator of all things. That he, in fact, is not in control - There is some kind of god, whom Daniel knows, that sees and understands the things inside a man, and this god, and this Daniel, should be recognised and revered. Nebuchadnezzar's first response is to worship. Now, King Nebuchadnezzar is used to worshipping a multitude of gods, so he does what he would do for any number of them - offers incense, falls in his face, gives gifts. It is his natural response. He recognises something significant about this God, acknowledges it and responds in the only ways he knows how. The overflow of his gratitude and awe is to lavish this god with whatever he has. What a response! Nebuchadnezzar, a king, a non-Israelite, a man not even seeking God, responds in joy and wonder and in his exuberance gives generously!
How do you respond to God?
When you see God moving in your life, how do you demonstrate reverence, joy, gratitude, awe?
Does your worship and reverence of God lead you to give what you have to Him and honour His people?
Nebuchadnezzar, as we can easily realise, doesn’t get everything right, (he has no experience of this Israelite got after all) but by being in a culture of many gods, he has learnt how to worship and honour them and he is not ashamed to do it. Even as a mighty king, he humbles himself as he realises there is in fact one god whom he hasn’t yet worshipped that sees right inside of him, and he responds with respect. We can learn from this gentile king a thing or two about not being ashamed of being overwhelmed and honouring God and His people as we see Him moving and showing His character in our lives.
Although Nebuchadnezzar does have this moment of overwhelmed wonder and humility as he acknowledges, ‘your God is God of gods and Lord of kings’, we cannot see this as a conversion moment or a realisation that the God of Israel is the ONLY god. We see that from the very next set of verses where he sets up a golden idol for all people to worship. It is evident therefore that the king just adds the god of Daniel to the list of those he already worships. I find it sad that within a few lines we read this amazing experience with the God of Israel, then we see a new ‘god’ being set up by the very same man.
I know that it didn’t all happen in real life as quickly as we read it, but the contrast does show the fickle nature of mankind. The desire of the human race is to seek something in life, something more than we already have and something more than we already know. There’s a phrase that I have heard several times that ‘the heart is an idol factory’. It is like there’s a throne in our hearts for something to sit on - We were created to worship, and if that throne isn’t for the One true God, then something else must be there; we worship, admire and seek other things. Ancient kings and civiilizations were no different.
King Nebuchadnezzar had seen and experienced something, but it hadn’t taken root in his heart - he didn’t realise that his god revealed to him was the only one, and that all his future, hopes, identity, and purpose could be revealed through him, so he kept searching. He made for himself other things which he could adore and admire just like this golden statue that he commissioned to be built.
It would be easy to skip over this bit, as few of us have an image that we revere, so it can seem irrelevant, but, take a moment to ponder on the idea that the heart is an idol factory, and seeks something to love and worship, then ask yourself these questions;
If your heart has a throne in it, then what is sitting on it right now?
What or who do you rely on when things go well/not so well?
What takes up most of your time/thoughts/affection?
Do you get surrounded and engulfed by things in your culture?
Are you relying on other things to fill the void or compensate for your emotions or situations?
There are things that get in the way of all of us seeing God for who He is. Like Nebuchadnezzar, we can get excited one minute, and the next totally forget the importance of the One True God. Stuff and people can get in the way, we can get overwhelmed or unwell. Sometimes we get so excited about other things that we simply forget. Other things fill the space in our heart. If this sounds like you, then you're not alone. Living a life with God at the centre though needs to be intentional. Putting God on the throne of your life takes a conscious effort each and every day, because we forget. We get side-tracked, we become unmotivated and disorientated or even too busy with life at times. We are in danger of seeming as fickle as Nebuchadnezzar seems to be in this passage.
If you know that you have given your focus and your throne over to something else, then take time to pray. Repent, accept forgiveness through Jesus and ask God to come again and take His rightful place in your life. Maybe some things need to be laid down so that you can give focus to God and give Him the rightful worship. Why not make a change today?
There’s only one throne in your heart - who is sitting on it?