"... Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?"
I am in the midst of a deep study of the Book of Daniel, and this arrogant statement by King Nebuchadnezzar hit home. As I was studying Scripture, I couldn't help but make the connection to my personal life and the condition of our nation.
If you will remember, the king had suffered a very disturbing dream, in which he saw a mighty tree, one "that grew and became strong ... it could be seen to the ends of all the earth ... its fruit was abundant, and the beasts of the field found shade under it and the birds found shelter in its branches ... all flesh was fed from it." I can certainly see a picture of the United States of America in this description of power and authority.
We grew from a small nation to one whose influence reaches to the ends of the earth. We have prospered and our yield has included not only economic success, but freedom and liberty. Other nations have benefitted from our protection and we have been a sanctuary and refuge for millions who have come to our shores. We have a right to be proud of our accomplishments!
But we must not forget that, as in the rest of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, we risk losing our blessings and advantages if we forget that all we have gained is due to God's benevolence and authority. When we, as an individual or as a nation, give ourselves all the glory, we lose that dependence upon the God of the Universe. We no longer seek His counsel or listen for His voice. We open ourselves to the temptations and desires of the flesh, which are so easily directed by the Enemy.
In Nebuchadnezzar's case, he spent the next seven years insane; living as a beast of the fields. The important thing to remember is that at the end of that period of discipline, the king "praised and extolled and honored the King of Heaven, all of whose works are Truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down." [Emphasis is mine]. The result was that God restored his kingdom to him. But it took a long period of punishment to correct his disobedience.
I am in no way making the definitive claim that the United States is Babylon (although I wouldn't disagree with that characterization; but that's a discussion for another day). The point I want to make is that I must be careful to give God the glory in my life and not fall prey to our culture's egotistical and self-absorbed mentality. When we turn our focus away from our Creator and begin to believe the lie that we are masters of our fortune and fate, then the consequences are as old as the Garden of Eden.
My prayer is that I will be humble and obedient in my faith, and that this nation will turn from its idolatrous and self-serving ways and recognize the majesty of El Elyon.