I am the king of all I survey, ruling a great and mighty empire. Other nations and their gods fall before my armies. Who is like unto me? Who can compete with my power and glory? I am the chosen vessel of Bel and Marduk, the gods of my people, and perhaps I have outstripped even them in glory. My power knows no limit. I move peoples and nations according my whim, mixing them up so that they might become one people, just as when water and wine are mixed together and cannot be separated again. But is it enough?
No, it is not enough. I want more than just their subservience, I want their worship. I have ordered the construction of a mighty golden image of myself. Who is fitter than I am to receive the worship, the homage, the adoration of the people of Babylon? I am Nebuchadnezzar and I believe that I am a god.
My name is Nebuchadnezzar and I am not a god, just a foolish and vainglorious man. I believe that there is one true God in the universe, the Most High, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The only power any man has is the power that the Most high allows him to have.
I should have known, I should have believed much sooner. First there were the boys who refused to eat the idolatrous meats from my table, yet they throve. (How could I not have seen? How could I not have known? But pride is a terrible blindness). Then there was my prophetic dream of the large statue made of various materials, which no one but Belteshazzar, prophet of the Most High God, could discern or interpret. He told me then that it was his God who was the revealer of mysteries. I should have known when those three Hebrews refused to bow to my image and I had them thrown in the fierce flames but they did not burn. Instead they walked around in the furnace with the same ease with which I walk around my private gardens, and they were in the company of another who was as glorious as a son of the gods. How could I not have realised that He was so much greater than I?
But I persisted in my folly. I was warned in a dream to change the direction of my heart, for the Most High is merciful beyond man’s comprehension, but I was wedded to my pride, so the King of Heaven humbled me so that I might be delivered. In the very hour when I raised my voice to declare that the glory of Babylon was a reflection of the glory and majesty of myself a voice from Heaven de3clared my sentence. Everything I treasured was taken from me, I was driven forth from the city, and, with my sanity vanished, my very humanity disintegrated. For seven years I lived like a beast of the field, filthy, unkempt, unsheltered, eating grass like mindless cattle. I had neither majesty nor dignity.
After seven years came a moment of blessed clarity, and I lifted up my heart in praise of Him who orders the kingdoms of men and gives them to whomsoever He pleases. And my kingdom was restored to me.
Now I believe and declare that all glory dominion and power belong to God. His kingdom, and his alone, has dominion over all the world and shall endure for all generations. And all He does is right and true and just.