King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! 2 It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.
3 How great are his signs,
how mighty his wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and his dominion endures from generation to generation.
Maybe you know someone who can talk himself out of any trouble. He gets caught padding his expense account and he’s got a tale a mile long to distract from the facts and escape the blame. He gets in trouble at school and he manages to put the blame on the teacher. Or he is proactive: he feigns deep religious piety only to take advantage of others’ gullibility.
As we learn more about Nebuchadnezzar we will discover that there is at least a little bit of the “feigning deep religious piety” going on here. Make no mistake: the words are good. God is great. His wonders and signs are mighty. His is an everlasting kingdom. He will not soon, nor ever fade away.
Consider how incredibly true that is. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the eternal God. He made himself known as the God of faithfulness to Abraham. He revealed his holy name to Moses. He established his earthly kingdom through David. Now, however, God’s nation is taken captive. Their glory gone. Their temple ransacked. Yet he shows up in mighty power, saving the three men in the furnace, and revealing dreams through Daniel.
More important: God, the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who will send his Son and pour out his Spirit is known, feared, loved, and trusted by countless people from Baghdad to Brazil, from Jerusalem to Johannesburg; from Riyadh to Rome; from Cairo to Chicago. All around the world people call on the God who Nebuchadnezzar praises – these 2500 years later. And who remembers the gods of the sorcerers, satraps, seers, and sweet-talkers of Nebuchadnezzar’s day?
Thankfully God isn’t finished with Nebuchadnezzar. His easy-talk will be shown to be lacking in true faith. He will be brought dramatically down before he is restored. But this powerful king will fade into history, and the God he acknowledges still reigns.
The question for us today is whether our praise is easy talk or from the heart of repentance and faith. Such true repentance and faith is never easy; we cannot do it without the presence and working of the Holy Spirit. That attitude is a daily calling for the followers of the true God. He is faithful, and true, merciful and good. He will always be ready to receive those who come to him in that spirit.