Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Munich, Germany, ca. 06/1940 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Book of Daniel tells a story about a dream of King Nebuchadnezzar. The dream was of a large statue. The head of the statue was made of pure gold. Its chest and arms were made of silver; its belly and thighs were made of bronze. But its feet were a mixture of iron and clay. At first this statue sounds like an awesome structure. Then you find out that in reality it is weak. This is where the phrase “having clay feet” comes from. Then a large boulder rolls into this statue, bursting the iron and clay and causing the statue to come tumbling down.
In short, the meaning of the dream is that kingdoms and nations rise and fall, but God will have the final say. The great nations of this world, with all of their pomp and circumstance and bravado have feet of clay. The only kingdom that will last forever is the kingdom of God. That is an important message for people to hear who are living under the persecution of a dictator. It is the same message of the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. The readers of that book were also facing severe persecution from the government. It is a message that was important then and has continued to be important throughout the years.
And here is where it applies to us. It is a simple message that we often need to hear and we just as often forget. God will have the last word. To God’s people all through the centuries who have lived under despots, they are not the final authority. God is. Do you see how important that message was to God’s people who lived under the rule of Antiochus Epiphanes? Or Nero? Or Hitler? Or any number of dictators today?
God is the final authority. No dictator, no government, but God will have the final say. We don’t live under persecution. But this is important for us to understand as well. It concerns me when I see Christians either living in fear of government or putting their hope and faith in governments and political parties and political candidates. It is fine to be involved in all of those things, just don’t get your faith in God mixed up with those things. God has not chosen any government, any political party, nor any candidate.
Shane Claibourne said, “When we mix faith and politics, it is like mixing ice cream and manure. It doesn’t hurt the manure, but it sure messes up the ice cream.”
Our faith is always in God, because God will have the final say.
I have a friend in Atlanta. He was going through some pretty trying times, and yet his attitude and his faith were as fresh and bright as ever. I said something to him about it one day and he told me this. “Either God is in charge or He is not. I believe He is.”
Whether its oppressive governments or health issues or vocational issues or financial issues or relational issues, don’t forget that God is still in charge. He will have the last word.
Either God is in charge or He is not. My prayer for each of us this week and for the rest of our lives, is that we would simply live our lives like anyone would live who really believed that God was in charge.