My reign as a bossy big sister began at two-years-old.
I was all corkscrew curls and chubby cheeks, and I was thrilled over my new brother’s birth—or rather, my rise in ruling status to that of “big sis.” Upon returning from the hospital, my mom rocked the blue bundle that was baby brother while my dad cradled a cake, the celebratory centerpiece of our party of three-turned-four.
Dad turned on the video camera to capture the occasion, but my attention had already been taken by the yellow and green flowers on the cake. Were they real? A bouquet of flowers on a cake? I had to find out!
My eyes gleamed with delight as I seemingly reached for my baby brother, but instead took a sharp nosedive into the lovely bouquet of of flowers that, whaddya know, came straight from a tube of icing. The whole scene was captured on camera: horrified toddler, messy hands, confused parents, screaming baby.
I continued to establish my dominance as bossy big sis throughout toddlerdom, but I didn’t get any better at ruling. In fact, one day I decided to extend my authority to the preschool playground by announcing my attack on the nearby anthill. Armed with my weapon of choice (light-up sneakers), I began to stomp on the anthill, yelling all the fight words I had learned from The Lion King. You can guess how that turned out.
My power was limitless in my own imagination, but in reality I was easily defeated by my own weaknesses— like my notions of grandeur on the playground and my insatiable love for cake.
Nebuchadnezzar had some notions of grandeur of his own. Arguably the most powerful man of his time, the Babylonian king had the world at his fingertips—which is why he could say things like this: “If you don’t tell me [my] dream and its interpretation, you will be torn limb from limb, and your houses will be made a garbage dump” (Daniel 2:5). Yikes.
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in question, in Daniel Chapter 2, did more than confound the king; it exposed his vulnerabilities. Daniel—relying on wisdom from the Lord, the true King—interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, explaining that the large statue made of various metals represented the four dominant kingdoms at the time: Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and Roman. Daniel also explained the dream’s punchline: all these powerful, earthly kingdoms would crumble under the kingdom of God.
Those listening, the mighty king himself included, must have thought this sounded like crazy talk! In the midst of rising and falling kingdoms, they couldn’t comprehend a time where not one of the competing powers was on top. The constant need to gain and maintain power was their utmost goal, but it was also their greatest weakness. Daniel, however, spoke of a different kind of power, one that was not of this earth and would never falter. “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44).
Earthly power will never reverse our inherent flaws. We’ll see Nebuchadnezzar continue to learn this difficult lesson. Our weakness ultimately cannot be strengthened by anything on this earth—not power, not position, not morality, not our own attempts at justification— only Christ (Romans 4:25).
Apart from the Kingdom of God, we’re just playing Goldilocks in temporary realms, trying to find a place where our sin fits just right. Unless we house our souls in the Everlasting Kingdom of Heaven— the Kingdom ruled by the God who reveals all mysteries (Daniel 2:28)— we’ll always walk away with messy hands, a false sense of control, and possibly a whole lotta ant bites.
Friends, let this be our cry today, as we proclaim from the bottom of our weakness our allegiance to Christ the King and His Kingdom:
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.