Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Feet Of Clay

Ancient Babylon was a great civilization. The king of Babylon had a troubling dream and he was desperate to find some one who could tell him what it meant. There was no one above him and he was a brilliant man. Help was hard to find.

This sounds like a story but it actually happened and it is recorded in the book of Daniel.

"Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and said thus to him: 'I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who will make known to the king the interpretation.' The king declared to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, 'Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?' Daniel answered the king and said, 'No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be. But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.' " - Daniel 2:25-30 ESV

The king said, 'Are you able?' because that is what kings say. Unless you are able to do things you have no use. A king is 'able' or he is not a king for very long.

Daniel does not have ability like the king does. Daniel is a revealer not a doer. Daniel tells the king, 'God has favored you with a special dream.'

It was a very special dream. It would map out ancient human history. Scholars insist that the book of Daniel must have been written later or changed because it is so accurate to ancient civilizations and events.

"You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all--you are the head of gold. Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure."" - Daniel 2:31-45 ESV

This is a map of human history. Things have unfolded just this way. Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome are each represented. Europe and western civilization as we see it today is an extension of Rome. It is iron mixed with clay and it bears the weight of history on it's brittle structure.

Yes. This speaks of men and their history but it also tells us of each individual man and his history. All fallen men have heads of gold and feet of iron mixed with clay. Victory is mingled with failure.

"Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him. 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.' " - Daniel 2:46-47 ESV

This King had a troubling dream. It was so troubling and mystifying that he could not solve it by natural means. He was a monument to his own accomplishments. Most men are.

The 'stone cut by no human hand' is Jesus and when He comes on the scene he destroys our constructs so that a vast kingdom can be established. Our idol of self must be smashed so that an eternal kingdom can be revealed.

We as listeners are most favored. That is the message of those who speak for God.

"Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." - 2 Thessalonians 1:2 KJV

God doesn't sugar coat our natural failings but He also doesn't dilute His favor. That stone does a complete work. He died in our place and is raised to sit on a throne in Heaven as our justification.

Your feet are made of clay but grace unto you.

That grace is where we find our identity. That grace puts praise on our lips if our identity shifts from personal accomplishment to eternal perspective.


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