Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Nebuchadnezzar's dream interpretted

Good morning brothers and sisters,
On this morning we remember the horror of 11 years ago and we pray for all those affected by the events of September 11th here and around the world. Our reading for today is also a story about nations and empires. It's a very different story than the tragedy of 9/11, but it offers a caution our nation needs, a caution to every nation that feels a calling to world power. The Bible's clear word to every empire is that human power never lasts. During the course of the biblical story we see empires grow and shrink, rise and fall. We see Israel move from freedom, to prosperity and to defeat. We see the Assyrian Empire decline and the Babylonian Empire rise. As Daniel interprets King Nebuchadnezzar's dream we see that Babylon will give way to other empires, but that none of them will last. Take your time with this passage because it's an introduction to apocalyptic literature, which is a formative kind of writing for scripture.

God bless,


Daniel 2:31-45
31“You were looking, O king, and lo! there was a great statue. This statue was huge, its brilliance extraordinary; it was standing before you, and its appearance was frightening. 32The head of that statue was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, 33its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.

34As you looked on, a stone was cut out, not by human hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces. 35Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, were all 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 statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. 

36“This was the dream; now we will tell the king its interpretation. 37You, O king, the king of kings—to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the might, and the glory, 38into whose hand he has given human beings, wherever they live, the wild animals of the field, and the birds of the air, and whom he has established as ruler over them all—you are the head of gold. 39After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over the whole earth. 40And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; just as iron crushes and smashes everything, it shall crush and shatter all these. 

41As 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 strength of iron shall be in it, as you saw the iron mixed with the clay. 42As the toes of the feet were part iron and part clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. 43As you saw the iron mixed with clay, so will they mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. 

44And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall this kingdom be left to another people. It shall crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever; 45just as you saw that a stone was cut from the mountain not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The great God has informed the king what shall be hereafter. The dream is certain, and its interpretation trustworthy.”

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