Posted by: Bethany Davis | July 30, 2009

Jerusalem vs. Babylon: the proud will be brought low

I’ve been reading through the book of Daniel and struck with how closely Babylon’s (Satan’s) practices mirrored Jerusalem’s (the Lord’s). On July 1, I blogged about the city of Babylon from the perspective of Rev. 18 — it’s fall to Jerusalem. Daniel depicts Babylon in its splendor; she has dominion over other nations, even boldly taking slaves and temple possessions from Judah (descendants of Jerusalem before the nation was divided). How ironic that Babylon not oppresses Jews only to fall to the Lord of Jews in the end!

Not that I’ve done extensive study, but two other similarities between the King of Kings and Babylon’s kings stood out to me.  For one, both issued a dietary code. God had given the Israelites instructions to follow (not eating meat), and Nebuchadnezzar commanded all his servants to eat a daily portion that he assigned (which included meat). Daniel and his pals petitioned for permission to eat vegetables and water. After 10 days they proved “fatter” than the others and were allowed to continue on their Jewish diet.

Secondly, both kings have a desire for worship. King Nebuchadnezzar constructed his own god and threatened death by fiery furnace if the people wouldn’t bow down. On the other hand, the Lord promises LIFE to those who chose to worship him. He rescued Daniel not only from the fiery furnace, but also from the lion’s den.

The Lord triumphs over culture and rulers and will bring low the proud. (Look at Nebuchadnezzar living like an animal for 7 years!) Just as Nebuchadnezzar looked over his kingdom and proclaimed, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” What an audacious, self-righteous statement! Yet, how often do I do the same thing— take credit for something that rightfully belongs to the Lord.

Correspondingly, the Lord says in Isaiah,” I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols (42:8).” Yet the He continues and offers himself as a Savior, “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, I will not remember your sins (43:25).”

The Lord is gracious to those who call upon his name, and will be faithful to those follow Him. Daniel understood what would later be written in Luke 9:23-24, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Daniel faced death multiply times; even if God hadn’t spared his life, he was content (Daniel 3:18).  What an example to live by!

“For me to live is Christ, and to die gain (Philippians 1:21).

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