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The King’s Stump

 “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in my palace in comfort and prosperity. But one night … ”

The book of Daniel reveals to us that King Neb was living in a palace with all the comforts and prosperity that the world had to offer.But then he got a wake up call.

When was your, “BUT ONE NIGHT” wake up call? Have you too experienced an awakening?

What dream has God given you that has caused such a stirring in your heart that you can’t sleep until you get answers.

Neb took action. He learned that he had grown into a strong and mighty tree that produced much fruit and was providing shade to many. 

Then he heard the unthinkable. The tree would be cut down to a stump with only its roots in the ground. He would live like a cow eating grass until he learned that it was the Lord, not him, that rules kingdoms and gives opportunities to lead to anyone he chooses. 

The kingdom was not Neb’s. The kingdom was God’s. Neb was a steward who had begun to believe his own press. 

It is notable that a stump with roots remained. This was an indication that if Neb came to his senses, the kingdom would thrive once again but not until he realized it was God’s kingdom that he supervised. 

It was critical Neb stay in his lane, recognizing his role, serving God’s purpose, not his own.

Daniel’s appeal to the king could have been written to the leader of any organization. 

“King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.”

It is worth noting that emphasis is placed on a change of heart and a change of direction. It is as if Daniel is saying, “Quit just thinking about yourself and living an excessive lifestyle while poor people are dying in the streets.”

Surely, these word must give us pause as we reflect on our role, our calling and our purpose as leaders. It’s not all about us! God has given us a platform for loving him and loving others as we love ourselves. 

But we must place the emphasis on all three aspects of the appeal. We will fall short of all God wants to do though us if all we do becomes just about us. If we are not careful, we will become like cows eating grass and the organizations we lead will become nothing more than stumps with deep roots that produce no fruit.

Neb failed to heed the warning. We gain additional insights from Daniel 4:30-31.

As he looked out across the city, he said, “Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor. While these words were still in his mouth, a voice called down from heaven, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom.”

Again the passage is clear, “You will live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.”

Neb soon found himself driven from human society, eating grass like a cow with unkept hair as long as an eagle’s feathers and nails like bird claws. He was a mess. The former king had become an outcast!

But all was not lost. After considerable time had passed, Neb finally came to his senses. His sanity returned. His focus was placed on the ultimate ruler of the kingdom. He started praising and worshiping the Most High God. He acknowledged that God does as he pleases. No one can stop him. He gives and takes away.

And then we learn the outcome in the words of Neb’s himself, “When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.”

Oh Lord may we learn from the lives of the leaders who have gone before us. 

Have mercy on us Lord. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see in order that our pride and arrogance not drive us to unthinkable humiliation. 

May King Nebuchadnezzar’s legacy serve as a reminder that God is the King and we serve at His pleasure in all that we do.

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