We can live fearlessly because the future is not up for grabs; and the past and present proclaim God is never out of options. A look at Babel, Babylon, and how they relate to modern day fears. Bible study, encouragement, Scripture, history, inspirational quotes. American politics, election, Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar statue dream

God’s Sovereignty Vetoes a Nation’s Idolatry

{Psst! ^Check out the podcast. There’s more good stuff tucked away in there.}

{This “Rock Collection” series explores stories and places in the Bible that include mention of rocks or stones, with an underlying message for today’s shaky times. This post explores:
Two important lessons from the first and last stones in the Bible and the ROCK in the dream Daniel interpreted for King Nebuchadnezzar.}


Are we trying to “Make Babel Great Again?”

The Bible’s first mention of stone (Gen. 11:3) specifies it wasn’t available for a building project. Yawn. On the surface, this might not seem interesting, but stick around. You see, the lack of stone is not fascinating, but the building project is.

After the flood, God told Noah and his sons to repopulate the earth — all of it. Although many did, one group determined to rebel against God’s command:

“Then they said, “‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.’”
(Gen. 11:4)

This group, led by the known rebel Nimrod, had no interest in what God wanted. They wanted what they wanted: their own city and their own fame. Their desire to place nationalism and rugged individualism above God’s purposes was rooted in pride. John MacArthur calls this attempt the “birthplace of idolatry.”

God intervened, confused their language, and forced them to scatter and continue filling the earth. For this reason, the place was called Babel. Later, a city grew up around this area and was called Babylon (now modern-day Iraq).

Idolatry at the Original Rebellion

Babylon has both a historical and theological role throughout the Bible. It became identified with Satan, and later the prophetic Antichrist. Isaiah prophesied against the king of Babylon and the devil who energized him. In doing so, he gave insight into Satan’s original rebellion:

“You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’”
(Isa. 14:13-14)

When Satan fell from heaven to earth after his failed coup, he began to spread this “make ourselves great again” theology to whomever he could tempt, including the builders at Babel and later the rulers of the physical kingdom of Babylon.

Idolatry at the Center of History

Under King Nebuchadnezzar, the literal Babylon took its place on the center stage of history in the late seventh century B.C. The empire was synonymous with extreme idolatry and pride, staying true to its Babel roots. God used the pagan nation to carry out His judgment on another idolatrous nation.

That nation was God’s chosen people (Israelites, later called Jews). Their temptation to give images made of metals, wood, and stone the glory only God deserved reigned as a defining characteristic in their national history.

King Nebuchadnezzar conquered the Israelite nation of Judah, leveled Jerusalem (its capital city), destroyed the temple, and killed most of the people. However, some were taken to Babylon to live in captivity, including Daniel.

Short-lived Statues

Babylon was short-lived as world powers go, not lasting even a century. God gave King Nebuchadnezzar a dream about a giant statue stacked with different metals. From out of nowhere, a rock struck the statue and crushed it so completely “that not a trace of them was found.”

God gave Daniel the interpretation. Each metal represented a nation that would rise and conquer the preceding nation. Babylon was the golden head, and it would go down from there. Literally.

Babylon’s conqueror, Persia, was the silver chest. A century and a half before the Persian King Cyrus lived, Isaiah prophesied about Babylon’s complete destruction (Isa. 47) and God’s choice of Cyrus to carry out His next phase of plans for His people (Isa. 45).

The Rock Wins

Daniel made it clear the hero of Neb’s dream was the rock:

“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”
(Dan. 2:44, NIV)

The rock was the hero because the rock is Christ.

His death split the rocks, and when the stone was rolled away from his tomb in the rock, He emerged as the victor over both sin and the original sinner —the prince of Babylon.

Because He chose, “thy will be done” and not “I will ascend,” refusing to grasp equality with the Most High, God has highly exalted him and given him the name that is above every name. And one day, every knee WILL bow —in heaven, on earth, and under the earth to Him and to the glory of God the Father.
(Phil 2:5-11)

All who believe in Him will not be disappointed, but He will be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to those builders who reject him.
(1 Pet. 2:6-8)

And we’re back.
Back to builders who rejected God’s Word, but we’re not quite finished.

We began by noticing the first mention of stone in the Bible; the last mention is not a shortage, but rather an abundance. Revelation 21 describes the foundation stones for the New Jerusalem and notes they “were adorned with every kind of precious stone.”

The mention just before this? Well, let’s just say it completes our circle:
“Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer.”
(Rev. 18:21)

Is your head spinning from this complete circle? Mine is.

Stepping Stones

This series is about opening our eyes to the things that may be undermining our foundation and diverting our attention from the only place we will find stability, hope, and peace. With that in mind, here are two stepping-stones takeaways.

1-Idolatry comes in all forms

Idolatry is any monument, either built from elements of earth or treasured as an idea in our minds that steals God’s glory and occupies the center of our faith.

If the enemy can’t tempt us to openly deny God, he’ll settle for diverting our worship to something else —anything else. We must be constantly on guard against anything that sets itself up as more important than obeying God.

When the Jews were taken into the heart of idolatry in Babylon, it cured them from the practice of worshipping other gods. Never again did they struggle as a nation with elevating a god above Jehovah. However, they began watching for the promised Messiah who would restore their nation to the height of its former glory. They were so fixated on earthly nationalism and a political king that they missed the servant Christ.

Satan has an excellent track record with inciting idolatry in any form, but notice how quickly in the annals of history he used nationalism as the medium. The rebels at Babel chained their identity to their tower and placed their city before their God.

We cannot serve two masters, and we cannot worship two symbols.
This means we must untangle the flag from the cross. Old glory cannot compete for God’s glory. We can pledge allegiance to the flag, but our worship must be reserved for the Cross alone.

This will be easier if we grasp the next point.

2-The future is not up for grabs

Presidents and politicians are not the real decision makers. Did you notice how many times in this short post we encountered God’s sovereignty? He is in control of who is in control, and the Trinity never meets in an emergency session to figure out how to get us out of the mess we made.

When God revealed Neb’s dream to Daniel, He also revealed this truth:
“He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings.”
(Dan. 2:21)

There is a disease of statue-itis, characterized by having our peace grounded in the government:
If our people are in power, we are at peace.
If the other side holds the reins, we are anxious.

In the U.S., you know if you have statue-itis based on your stress level about the election Nov. 2016. Those who cry, “We must take back our country or lose it forever,” easily invade our thoughts. The news and the social feeds sound like the sky is falling.

At this crossroads in U.S. history, we have to realize we are not “one nation under God,” which supposes a national submission to Him. However, we will always be “One God over a nation,” because He is still on the throne, regardless of whether our culture bows to His name.

The cure for the disease of statue-itis is rock-abotic eye drops: diverting our focus from the statue and placing it on the rock.

We must seek first the kingdom of God. We must also study His Word to know His history. This is why I’m writing this series. I don’t think it’s enough to say, “God is in control.” We must teach and remind each other of what we know from Scripture when it looked like everything was out of control.
When God made a way when there was no way in sight.
When God used evil rulers for His good purposes.

We also must proclaim the future hope of heaven. The New Testament writers believed this blessed hope to be a very practical part of persevering through life and enduring persecution.

The future is not up for grabs and not for the kings or presidents or any other ruler to decide. We may not know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow. And we know the ending to this story.

Forget the paper and the scissors and the parties and the platforms.

Rock wins.

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Encouraging YOU as YOU Inspire Others,

Christi
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Unless otherwise marked, Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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We can live fearlessly because the future is not up for grabs; and the past and present proclaim God is never out of options. A look at Babel, Babylon, and how they relate to modern day fears. Bible study, encouragement, Scripture, history, inspirational quotes. American politics, election, Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar statue dream

ChristiGod’s Sovereignty Vetoes a Nation’s Idolatry

Comments 9

  1. helloredds

    Rock wins! Rock wins! Yes, our Rock wins
    Love this one, Christi!
    What a powerful word of hope and encouragement!
    I’m so thankful for you and your voice out in the social media world!

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  2. Ruthie Gray

    So.much.love. for this post!!!! From the word, “yawn” (lolol) to the very ending phrase, “rock wins”, you had my full attention. It is not coincidence that I just scratched out a post on the captivity of Israel and how God told them to build houses (probably with rocks).

    I’m so glad I sat down to purposefully read this. I will be linking it to my post. So much wisdom, I am loving this rock series. Also, you make me laugh.

    I heart you.

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