King Nebuchadnezzar had some problems; one was understanding glory. What it was and who had it topped the list. Thousands of years later I was blissfully unaware I shared King Neb’s problem and fate. Daniel 4 recounts how King Neb thought he was responsible for Babylon’s existence and glory. King Neb thought his actions in building Babylon revealed that he was great.
30 “The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’”
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Da 4:30). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
This is how God responded to King Nebuchadnezzar,
“[A] voice came from heaven, saying… you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.”
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Da 4:32). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
After high school I wanted to become an Aeronautical Engineer and a Graphic Artist. I thought these professions would make me important, respected and wealthy. Most of the girls in my high school graduating class seemed to want to be social workers. I thought that was stupid and that helping people was a waste of time. There was no glory in that. Neb and me had the same problem, and we got similar solutions. Neb lost his mind for seven years. I lost my mind for ten years.
When we were restored to sanity we were both very grateful to God. And we now know that only God is great and worth our lives.
But what is true greatness? In ancient Babylon and now? Deuteronomy 6:5, and Leviticus 19:18 are quoted by Jesus (who is my authority on greatness):
30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mk 12:30–31). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
Jesus said that, Loving God and Loving People, are the most important things you can do. People that do this are great to Jesus and people that don’t do this do not know what greatness is.
Jesus’ disciples were arguing who was the greatest among them. Jesus took a small child and said to them, to be great you must be converted and become like this child. And to be on the very top you must be a slave to all.
Neb and I could not possibly have gone any more in the wrong direction. Yet, Jesus loved us and humbled us with mental illness until we could think right.
Our culture pushes the pursuit of empty glory. Jesus invites you to voluntarily humble yourself and learn from him. He is gentle and humble and will enable you to give and receive love.
And that is the only glory there is.