The story of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar his Son is told in the book of Daniel. Here we find that Belshazzar enlisted Daniel to tell him about the writing on the wall. Nebuchadnezzar, his father, was blessed by God but in his arrogance things soon changed. Daniel 5:20-21 says that Nebuchadnezzar during the fullness of his reign became bitter and God removed His spirit from him: 20 “But when his heart and mind were puffed up with arrogance, he was brought down from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 He was driven from human society. He was given the mind of a wild animal, and he lived among the wild donkeys. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven until he learned that the Most-High God rules over the kingdoms of the world and appoints anyone he desires to rule over them.”
So, God stripped him of his reign, what does that have to do with me? In the world today, I feel this is where people have landed in the realm of spirituality. They have become bitter and arrogant imagining that they can do anything they desire and it will never catch up to them. I have observed two different responses to God this week. The first was in a parking lot at The UPS Store. First, a little background before I tell you the story. When I went to get my new car tag at the county clerk, the receptionist asked me whether I wanted “In God, we trust” over the Tennessee crest or without it. I chose to place it on my tag for reasons I will not share. As I was driving, I realized that this could possibly be a great conversation starter with people in the community. Now to continue my story, I went to send a package at the UPS store and parked next to a lady who did not have those words on her license plate. I decided I would try to start a conversation. I first asked her permission to ask a question. She was kind and willing to participate. Here is the question: Did you have a choice to place “In God We Trust” on your car license plate? I asked it this way not knowing if she got it through the county clerk’s office, mail, or online, and even had a choice. Her answer was as I suspected. She said, Yes, I did. May I ask why you chose to leave it off? Her response was simple, God has not done anything for me so why would I want to place that on my plate. I don’t go to church, nor do I want to go to church. Okay, I got my answer. Our conversation continued for a couple more sentences and then we went about our business for the day. Not shocking but still a little unexpected. My second experience was simply an observation on Facebook. I noticed someone had posted about an event they had experienced and one of the comments about the person was, “you know I’m not religious, but I know your story and love you”. I’ll leave it at that.
My heart was breaking for these individuals for two reasons. First, we as a church have become blind to the bitterness that has happened in society. Second, I have become blind as well. If these people have become bitter and arrogant about a Holy God who came and died for them, what has caused this? Further, who is responsible? What should be our response as a church, or as an individual? What people do I know that have these views? What can I do to help? What will be my response?
I understand that when life is difficult, and prayers do not get answered that it is easy to give up on God and turn to bitterness. Even Jesus asked if his path could be removed from Him, but His spirit remained faithful continuing in the path God has chosen. If you are feeling the temptation to give up on God or feel that you have nothing to believe in anymore, let me encourage you to seek God and his wise counsel. God wants us to live our lives fully and He has plans for you. He will never lead you astray. I feel many people have squandered their relationship with God only to come to the end of life with regrets. When we see Jesus what will you say when he asks you why your relationship with Him took a back burner? Make a change today and realize that how we see our lives is not the way God sees them. He will fulfill everything He has promised. Hang in there and stay true to your relationship with Him.
Song: Each One, Reach One (Babbie Mason)