how quickly nebuchadnezzar forgets! he recognized daniel's yhwh as the true god in the chapter before (2:47), but then makes a statue of himself in gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide. he makes everyone in his realm bow down to it!
of course much could be said about how easily we forget god. how we worship him one day and turn around just to engage in self-worship.
but i'm also struck by the very fact that king nebu and we love making statues.
perhaps we want to feel larger than life. for king nebu to stand on his own and to order the whole realm bow down to him would not have had the same effect as the whole realm bowing down to a ninety-feet golden image of himself. that just looks much more impressive. we want to be more than we actually are.
i'm sure king nebu had impressive features. people who rise to those ranks often have remarkable talents. i don't know anything king nebu, but it wouldn't be surprising if he had been a great general or a astute politician (though the bible does not depict him that way).
at the same time, however, i think most people's successes come mostly from chance, circumstance and dumb luck. king nebu's father was probably the king of the babylonian empire, which probably did 90% of the work for him. he probably had the infrastructure and resources to go out and conquer in ways that his predecessor didn't. i don't know. i would need to do some more research, but i think it generally stands - our successes are rarely individual achievements.
but we still love to exaggerate the little part that we played in our successes. this is certainly true of myself as well. i did okay in school and in life, but that's mostly because i had good parents, went to good schools (which led to other good schools), surrounded by good friends and given good genes. in terms of school, my friend will hafer edited my college essay, which helped in getting into wheaton. i had tracy landers who helped me with my divinity admission essays. i got to all souls owing to another good friend chris jones. even now, the successes of shatin church, if anything in the church could be counted as a success, owe to great children's program, tireless volunteers, and works of countless people in the church. but i love taking credit. i love making statues.
i think this is because we all crave recognition, and we need to exaggerate every little achievement, because we want to feel significant; and if we don't exaggerate but put our 'achievements' in perspective, they don't amount to much.
secondly we love making statues, because there is a desire in us to be ' permanent.' even if king nebu dies, his statue would have remained. he would have lived on, and we all want that, don't we? most people don't make statues, but they crave immortality through their children or in the hospital wing that's named after them or in the 'difference' we make in people's lives. we want to live on.
but of course this too is misguided, for statues are impermanent. hospitals get torn down and our names forgotten by the second or third generations.
thank god for the gospel.
god sees everything in our lives and recognizes our little achievements. we don't have to exaggerate or lie about them, for god cares about the very little things. he sees and remembers everything. and that's all the recognition we need, since the recognition by the greatest is the greatest kind of recognition. and he lives on forever, and we too in him. he gives us the kind of permanence that can't be compare to the immortality of a statue.
no need for statues. just need to please jesus more.
thank god for the gospel.
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