Feet of clay – November 17, 2019
“You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.”
Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that made his spiritual advisors quiver in fear. He demanded they interpret it. But first, they needed to tell him what the dream was about.
“Impossible!” they said.
He said: “If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble.”
Since it would be a Babylonian king that would throw a Daniel into a lions’ den and his friends into a fiery furnace, the threat of this Babylonian monarch was not empty.
The advisors relaxed when young Daniel stepped forward to say he could give the answers. The Lord, the God of Israel, had revealed this to him.
He described the statue in the dream: enormous, dazzling, and awesome. The head was of gold; below that was silver; below that, bronze; legs of iron; and then, feet: “partly of iron and partly of baked clay.”
It had feet of clay.
Daniel explained what it meant. These were the kingdoms that would follow the Babylonians—each one a little less impressive than its predecessor. The clay in its feet could crumble and cause the entire structure to collapse. But it was not erosion that would take down these kingdoms. It would be a rock.
The dream went on: “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:44).
What kingdom is this? What kingdom would be so powerful that it could smash the power structures of the Babylonians and Persians and Greeks and Romans? What kingdom would spread out over the whole world?
The answer is: “Our kingdom! The one we are members of.”
Daniel was in this kingdom. So were Jacob and David and Peter. This is the kingdom of God. Today we can call it the Christian Church.
Often under attack, often dismissed as insignificant, it still stands. It has gathered people from all nations. It challenges every form of evil. It conquers, not with a sword, but a Word.
It overthrows the claims of Satan and death. It rescues souls from their hands.
Its king is the Son of God and the kingdom is built upon his sacrifice on Golgotha. It will stand beyond the end of time into all eternity.
“My kingdom is not of this world.” Jesus reported to a representative of the mighty Roman empire. But his kingdom made an impact upon this world. It held ultimate control of this world.
It still does. It always will.
The kingdom of God does not have feet of clay.
The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
She is his new creation by water and the Word.
From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride.
With his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died.
The Church shall never perish, her dear Lord, to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish, is with her to the end.
Though there be those that hate her and strive to see her fail
Against both foe and traitor she ever will prevail.” Amen.
Christian Worship 538:1,3
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
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