From Great to Greater

Do you want to settle for being great when you can be greater? Whoever, wherever, and whatever we are, we can choose to be greater.

Recently, I visited the Pergamom Museum in Berlin, Germany. The reconstruction of the Processional Wall, the Ishtar Gate, and the Throne Room of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon reside here. I was enthused to think about the stories of Nebuchadnezzar II and Daniel in the Bible. Could I have touched a brick that Daniel touched? King Nebuchadnezzar II and his kingdom of Babylon (Iraq) were great. King Nebuchadnezzar II reigned from 605 BC–562 BC. By the world’s standard he was a great king.

Much of Babylon had been destroyed by wars. Nebuchadnezzar II purposed to rebuild the city and kingdom. The bricks of the walls had the inscription, “I am Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.” The city wall was fifty-six miles long, which covered an area of two hundred square miles. There were chariot races on top of these city walls; it was that wide. Nebuchadnezzar II is known for the Hanging Gardens of Babylon he made for his wife; as well as the Babylon Ishtar Gate, which both were known as the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. He controlled trade routes, subdued regions, taxed to build, and consolidated power. The king was using all the power, authority, talents, and gifts given to him. What could be greater?

Nebuchadnezzar II also overtook Judah of Jerusalem. The Judeans are known as God’s people, but for their idolatry and sins, God allowed them to be taken captive by Babylon for 70 years. Join me in the book of Daniel in the Bible. King Nebuchadnezzar II ordered some of the Judean royalty to be trained for three years to serve him. Daniel and his friends were part of this group. They had great favor with the king; however everyone faced great trials including the king.

How could a captive walk in greatness? First, could you tell a dream the king had and interpret it? This was King Nebuchadnezzar II’s way to sort out the false interpreters. A death sentence was given to all the wise men, as no one could do both. Daniel and his best friends were among this group. He asked his best friends to pray with him for help from God, it was a desperate time. God showed Daniel the king’s dream and its meaning, and he shared it with the king. What do you do when you are desperate? Consider asking God for help and ask some godly friends to pray with you. As a result, Daniel and his friends were placed in authority close to the king. “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you…get understanding and she will honor you” (Proverbs 4 NIV).  Do you ask God for wisdom as you face your daily challenges? Move from being great to greater.

Secondly, Daniel’s friends would not bow down to an idol that was required to worship. This ultimate violation had a strong consequence. Daniel’s friends were bound and thrown in a fiery furnace, but they didn’t burn. The fire was made seven times hotter! They still did not burn! The king began to see a fourth man in the fire which looked like the Son of God. Because they did not waiver and God demonstrated His power, the king decided to acknowledge the God that Daniel’s friends served.  They did not compromise. Do you find yourself compromising? Do your standards or choices simply reflect the status quo? Read the Bible daily; it will guide you in God’s ways. The words in the Bible motivate us to make choices that would be pleasing to God. March on from being great to greater.

Just knowing God is not serving God. As the king proudly professed his accomplishments, God allowed him to fall mentally and physiologically ill. For seven years he acted like an animal and grazed the grass of the fields. Now that is a long time out! God waited for Nebuchadnezzar II to acknowledge God as being sovereign, and that He alone allows men and kingdoms to rule. Man’s greatness can never supersede God’s greatness. Always acknowledge and thank God for using your talents and gifts (paired with His blessings) to bring success in your life.  Advance from being great to greater.

Thirdly, others found Daniel praying to God three times a day while serving under King Darius. Jealous men persuaded the king to enforce a thirty day law to decree that only the king could be worshipped. Daniel was apprehended and thrown in the lion’s den as the edict declared would happen.  Though King Darius liked Daniel, he had to follow through with his statute for this violation. He spoke to Daniel hoping his God might be merciful and spare him, but instead God caused the lion’s mouths to be silenced as well as their instinct to kill Daniel. This caught King Darius’ attention, and he then allowed God to be revered and worshiped in the kingdom.

Daniel took time to speak to and acknowledge God daily. Do you, like Daniel, thank, praise, worship, and declare God’s Word daily? Discipline yourself to move from being great to greater.

King Nebuchadnezzar II built a foundation for his kingdom and life on his own strength, wisdom, and power. It did not stand in the end. Are you establishing this kind of faulty foundation? Why not invite God into your life and allow Him to direct and guide you in your daily life? His foundation is solid. Follow Daniel’s example:

  1. Speak to God daily.
  2. Follow God’s ways by reading His Word.
  3. Avoid compromising the standards of God.

It does not mean that we will not face trials or tribulations, Daniel and his friends did, and we will too. Remember, that with God in your life, you too can surpass great and live a greater life!

Daniel took time to speak to and acknowledge God daily. Do you, like Daniel, thank, praise, worship, and declare God’s Word daily? Discipline yourself to move from being great to greater.

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