Monday, June 21, 2010

High and Low

“…he adorns the humble with salvation,” Psalm 149:4.   “…and those who walk in pride he is able to humble,” Daniel 4:37.   Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Babylonian state at the height of its wealth and power.  The Hebrew people dwelled in Babylon as captives.  And the God of the Hebrews was very involved in Babylonian politics….

  Nebuchadnezzar, although knowing the sovereignty of the Hebrew God, nevertheless became exalted in his own mind and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and the glory of my majesty?” Daniel 4:30.  And since it is good for man only to think of himself with sober thoughts, God had this reply: “O Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field.  And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will,” Daniel 4:31-33.  

And so it came to pass… the great king pawed at the ground and let out an agonizing yelp.  His grotesquely long hair and beard were matted with four years worth of earthen muck.  Nebuchadnezzar sat himself up cross-legged and gnawed on a root he had dug out of the ground.  He gnawed and laughed a sinister, childish moan.  His attendants did their best to avoid his fanatical fits of rage.  He would claw at the palace walls and yell, “I am the king!”.  At times he would be found in a slump crooning unintelligible laments.  But he spent most of his days amongst the wild beasts hunting roots, herbs and foliage.  His lack of nourishment left him gaunt.  He was needy and neurotic.  Certainly, he had been driven from the land of the humans. From great kings to the least of paupers, some are brought high and some are brought low.  

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable marvelous things without number: he gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields; he sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.  He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success.  He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end.  They meet with darkness in the daytime and grope at noonday as in the night.  But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth and from the hand of the mighty.  So poor have hope, and injustice shuts her mouth,” Job 5:8-16.  God humbles the proud and lifts up the humble until all in a straight line we stand shoulder to shoulder – human.  Our thoughts not a little too high and our perceptions not a little too low.  The simple fact that we have to strive in this world keeps us balanced.  All have to work to eat, exercise to stay healthy, learn to achieve, try to have even an attempt at success and so on.  No one is exempt from the rules. 

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