Who Do We Want Receiving the Praise?
Did you know God has a calling on your life? Did you know there is a purpose to that calling? It’s to draw you close to God and bring praise to Him.
Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, was told through a dream that he had an incredible calling on his life. In the dream, he saw a statue with a head of gold, a chest and arms of silver, a waist of bronze, legs of iron and feet of iron mixed with clay. At the end of the dream, a stone not cut with human hands crushed the statue into powder. (By the way, that stone is Jesus.)
When Daniel interpreted that dream, in Daniel 2, he told Nebuchadnezzar that the head of gold was none other than the king himself.
Imagine the Lord showing you that you and the kingdom you set up are a head of gold in a giant statue!
Would this invoke praise to the Lord in your heart?
Nebuchadnezzar goes on to build a 90 foot tall statue made entirely of gold. It’s as if he was saying, ‘My calling isn’t enough. I want bigger, I want lasting. I want to defy the Lord, who I just finished acknowledging, by building an unshakable monument to myself. And I want everybody to bow down and acknowledge my achievements. Under pain of death.’
Anyone who has been to Sunday School knows the story of the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace. What courage they had to stand up to Nebuchadnezzar! But that’s for another day.
When Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, also known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were pulled alive from the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar again acknowledged the Lord. Right after this, Nebuchadnezzar had another dream, this one about his glory, and a humbling after a show of pride. After acknowledging the Lord two times, Nebuchadnezzar goes off to say,
“Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”
Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you…” (Dan 4:30-31)
He repents and is restored. He gives glory to the Lord.
But does he ever have a close relationship with God? His son (or grandson) Belshazzar, displayed ultimate blasphemy not long after Nebuchadnezzar is gone.
This whole story of Nebuchadnezzar hit me real strong this last time I read it. I began to ask myself some questions. Why am I excited about walking out in my calling? Is it for the Lord to receive the glory, or is it so people will acknowledge me and my achievements?
The Lord said, in Revelation 3:1, in the letter to the church at Sardis, that there are Christians who have the reputation of being alive but they are dead. The reward offered to the believers who overcome gives a clue of how they are failing. Jesus promises the overcomer that He will declare that person’s name before the Father and His angels.
The Lord showed me that this reward didn’t amaze or humble me. I was more interested in praise from men than the Trinity having a loving and excited discussion about me. If this doesn’t matter to me, God really doesn’t have a place of importance in my life. I run the risk of being no different that Nebuchadnezzar, who acknowledged the Lord but had no deep relationship with Him. But when I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal this truth to me, my heart exploded with wonder—God talking about me to God! His kindness truly does lead to repentance.
I encourage you to lay your heart before the Lord and ask Him to show you who you’re seeking praise for. You, or God?
And from God or men?
The garments of white, clean hearts before Him, and His acknowledging us before the Father are marvelous rewards when we see them from His perspective.