Friday, July 02, 2010

How Did I Not Post This Before?

Around Independence Day, I get nervous about how Biblical patriotism is. Now, I like the U.S. I think it's probably the greatest nation on the planet in terms of natural resources, freedoms, opportunities, and sheer military might. I'm proud of all that, I guess--even though I had nothing to do with it.

So, this Sunday is Independence Day, and I'm compelled to celebrate our liberty and freedom, but I want to be relevant AND true to Scripture. So, I'll be looking at things like Daniel 4 and the 57th Psalm, which remind us that it is God who is responsible for our nation's place and status in this world.

Anyway, in remembering the lesson of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4, I thought, "Didn't I post my poem-sermon about that at the brain lab?" Then I checked. Nope, I did not. So, for your enjoyment (maybe), here is:

"The Ballad of The Cow King"

I've had a dream,
Just last night!
It filled me with horror!
It filled me with fright!

I'm really quite sure
That, unlike other dreams,
This one is really
Much more than it seems.

This dream has a meaning.
Of that I've no doubt.
If I could just discover
What it is about!

I'm Nebuchadnezzar--
King Neb, for short--
In the city of Babylon
Is my royal court.

I called all my wise men,
Magicians and enchanters,
To tell me what my dream meant,
But not one had the answers.

Finally, in walked Daniel
A man who was godly and wise.
God gave him power to interpret dreams,
So I asked him for his advice.

Here is my dream, I said, I saw
A meadow and a gigantic tree.
The top reached far into the sky
And the branches stretched from sea to sea.

The tree bore much fruit
As it grew and grew,
It fed every creature,
And sheltered them, too.

Every bird of the air,
All the swallows and finches,
Made nests in that tree
Among its many branches.

Then suddenly from heaven
An angel came 'round.
And ordered that this tree
Must be chopped down!

Cut off its branches!
Strip off every leaf!
Drive away every animal
That rested beneath!

Scatter the fruit!
Chase off the birds!
Then the angel added
These odd words:

Leave the stump and the roots behind.
Bind them with big iron bands.
And let his mind be changed,
So it is no longer a man's.

He'll live with the animals
And think like they do.
He'll be drenched each day
With the morning dew.

Now this will continue to happen
'Til the end of seven years has come,
So people will know that God is in charge
Of who rules over every kingdom.

Can you help me Daniel--
Who I call Belteshazzar?
Can you decode this dream
Of King Nebuchadnezzar?

None of my other advisers
Were worth a hill of beans,
But Daniel, God's Spirit is in you.
You can tell me what it means!

Daniel got very quiet.
His lips were tightly sealed.
He didn't want to tell me
What my dream revealed.

Don't let my dream alarm you, Dan,
Or let its meaning worry.
Whatever it means, you can tell me.
Just please do it--and hurry!

Your Majesty, spoke Daniel,
I understand the dream, it's true.
But I wish it applied to your enemies,
Instead of applying to you!

The tree you saw,
Which was so high,
Which fed all the animals
And birds of the sky,

And gave them all shelter,
And branches to sit,
That tree that you saw:
You, King, are it!

Oh, King Neb, your kingdom
Is mighty and strong!
The reach of your power
Is wide and is long!

A huge crowd of people,
Many nations and races,
Depend upon you
For food & living spaces.

You dreamed that an angel
Came down and commanded
The tree be chopped down,
And the stump iron-banded.

“He must live in the field”--
This tree that is you--
“Eat grass like an ox,
And be wet with the dew

Till his time is up,
The years numbering seven.
This is the judgment
That comes down from heaven.”

God has commanded,
Your fate is sealed.
You'll be chased from the palace,
And go graze in the field.

This will go on happening
’Til seven years are up,
And you admit that God is boss.
He humbles kings, and lifts them up.

The fact that the stump
And the roots are left over
Means you won't be permanently
The king who eats clover.

Once you acknowledge
That God made you king
And that he's in control,
He'll give back everything.

You'll be back on your throne,
Now, won't that be nice?
But this can all be avoided,
If you’ll take my advice!

Break away from your sins,
Your arrogance and greed!
Be fair in court rulings,
And help those in need!

Change your ways, if you would win
This great spiritual battle.
Otherwise, King Neb, you'll be,
Neb, king of the cattle!

It happened twelve months later
I was walking on my roof
Looking over Babylon
And I saw that it was proof

Of what a great king I was.
I made this city and empire great!
I patted myself upon the back
For being a wonderful potentate.

My ingenuity, my wisdom,
My military strategy
Have made Babylon what it is today:
A tribute to the glory of me!

While I was gloating like this,
A voice spoke from the sky,
Your time is up, King Neb,
And I think you know why.

Just as I decreed,
You'll no longer be a king.
You're headed for greener pastures--
Just perfect for grazing!

You'll be driven away from people,
And live like the animals do.
Instead of royal proclamations,
You'll probably just say, "Moo!"

You'll be Neb, the Cow King,
‘Til seven years have passed,
And you admit that I'm in charge.
Then you'll be yourself at last.

Nebuchadnezzar gave up his crown
And royal robes because,
His mind was like an animal's.
His fingernails grew like claws.

His hair grew long and shaggy
Till it looked like eagle's feathers.
He ate grass and lived like a cow,
Exposed to all kinds of weather.

When the number of years of insanity
Finally reached seven,
I, King Neb, was ready to repent,
So I lifted my eyes toward heaven.

I gave praise to God Most High,
Who holds this world together.
For he is a king much greater than I!
His reign will last forever!

God does what he wants.
He will always win.
No one is his equal
In all the kingdoms of men!

He answers to no one,
No one tell him, “Stop.”
He chooses who loses,
And who rises to the top!

When I'd said all this--
I don't understand how--
I got back my human mind,
And quit thinking like a cow!

My royal advisers
Tracked me down,
And gave me back
My robe and crown.

I was the king
Of Babylon once more,
With even more splendor
Than I had before!

The God of Heaven
Deserves all praise!
He's right and just
In all His ways!

Beware, proud people!
Before you stumble,
Those filled with pride,
God can certainly humble!

Any achievement,
Status, or rank,
Is a gift from the Lord
It is Him you should thank!

So unless you aspire
To the life of a cow,
Take this piece of advice:
Humble yourself now!

Remember what's written in the book of James,
Chapter four, verse ten:
“Humble yourself before the Lord,
And he will lift you up again!”

1 comment:

PaperSmyth said...

Thanks for the reminder to always remember what we have comes from God!