The Bible does not shy away from politics (or dreams, for that matter).
In fact, the Bible is full of royal narratives. There are stories of great kings and evil kings alike, of earthly and divine. There are stories of kings who rule in righteousness, allowing their countries to enjoy peace, stability and success, while other kings abuse and persecute their people, povertising them and making their cities vulnerable to foreign invasions.
But the Bible does not just tell stories of kings.
Rather these stories are full of commentaries and commands on not just the role of the king and appropriate responses from the people, but more importantly the existence and reality of the ultimate Sovereign, God Himself. When we approach politics today, we must consider all of these facets, like the Israelities in ancient Israel had to, and ultimately recognize how the truths conveyed back then are just as applicable for us today.
So what are these truths about kings and the one true King?
This week we want to explore this question with a journey through Daniel 4:1–37. This passage is full of literary brilliance as it uses the dream of a secular king to paint a divine picture on sovereignty.
Our story takes place during the 6th Century BC. At that time, the Israelites had the land conquered by the regional superpower, the Babylonians, and specifically by the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem was destroyed; the temple ransacked, and many people were taken captive. Suffering now characterized the experience of God’s people and, as you can imagine, the prevailing questions of the Israelites were: “Is God in control? What is He doing? How could He let this happen?”
Daniel 4:1–37 provides the answers to these questions through the use of a flashback (or dreams).
This literary device interrupts the metanarrative of Daniel in order to insert a past event, namely a dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had. His dreams provides both background and context to the current political situation in Daniel. By using the king’s dream as a flashback, the writer of Daniel allows us as readers to gain greater insight into the conflict between this pagan king and God’s people as slaves as well as to see God’s solution in this conflict.
Whether you are overjoyed with the results of our recent election or troubled in the face of our new, 45th president, this is a passage that you need to study!