After the “Red Wave” that didn’t happen during the 2022 mid-term elections, we might be wise to consider Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar, as recorded in the book of Daniel, as well as other Bible passages that declare the sovereignty of God over the nations.
First, let us consider King Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of Babylonia from approximately 605 BC until approximately 562 BC. He is considered the greatest king of the Babylonian Empire. In biblical history, Nebuchadnezzar is most famous for the conquering of Judah and the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem in 586 BC. Judah had become a tribute state to Babylon in 605 BC but rebelled in 597 BC during the reign of Jehoiachin and then again in 588 BC during the reign of Zedekiah. Tired of the rebellions, and seeing that Judah had not learned its lesson when he invaded, conquered, and deported Judah in 597, Nebuchadnezzar and his general, Nebuzaradan, completely destroyed the temple and most of Jerusalem, deporting most of the remaining residents to Babylon. In this, Nebuchadnezzar served as God’s instrument of judgment on Judah for its idolatry, unfaithfulness, and disobedience (Jeremiah 25:9).
We are most familiar with the accounts of Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams recorded in the book of Daniel and the interpretations of those dreams given to him at the King’s own request. Daniel interpreted the second dream for Nebuchadnezzar and informed him that the dream was a warning to the king to humble himself and recognize that his power, wealth, and influence were from God, not of his own making. Nebuchadnezzar did not heed the warning of the dream, so God judged him as the dream had declared. Nebuchadnezzar was driven insane for seven years. When the king’s sanity was restored, he finally humbled himself before God. In Daniel 4:3, Nebuchadnezzar declares, “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.” Nebuchadnezzar continued in Daniel 4:34–37:
“And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.” (Daniel 4:34-37)
Whether or not King Nebuchadnezzar became a true follower of God is a matter of conjecture, but we do know that God used him as His mighty servant in the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem as had been prophesied by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:9; 27:6; 43:10). Whatever the case, the story of Nebuchadnezzar is an example of God’s sovereignty over all men and the truth that “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will” (Proverbs 21:1).
Turning to the New Testament, we also find declarations of God’s sovereignty over nations. The Apostle Paul told believers living under oppressive rulers in Rome:
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” (Rom 13:1)
The Apostle also urged young Pastor Timothy: that prayers be made “for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Prayer is the most tangible expression of trust in God.
To quote Jerry Bridges:
“God is sovereign over the nations. He is sovereign over the officials of our own government in all their actions as they affect us, directly or indirectly. He is sovereign over the officials of government in lands where our brothers and sisters in Christ suffer for their faith in Him. And He is sovereign over the nations where every attempt is made to stamp out true Christianity. In all of these areas, we can and must trust God.”©2008 Jerry Bridges.
Back to the 2022 mid-term elections. I, like many others, expected to see something of a “Red Wave’, especially since even some Democrats predicted there would be one. Well, it didn’t happen.
I also confess to knowing some fellow Christians who seem to spend more time in battle for the soul of America than lost souls all around them, separated from God and apart from Christ, who at this very moment living under God’s wrath (see John 3:36). Should be who name Christ just ignore what’s happening in the political arena? By NO means! We should continue to pray for our nation, as well as the rest of the world’s nations, as Paul instructed young Timothy.
At the end of the day, however, we must remain mindful that it is God who raises up nations for His purposes and also tears them down, also for His purposes. I am reminded of the words of Job spoken to one of his ‘friends’, “ He (God) makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away.” (Job 12:23),
Portions of this article have been adapted from Trusting God Even When Life Hurts, ©1988; 2008 by navpress.)
Scriptures cited are from the English Standard Version)