PROSPERING IN THE PALACE: LESSONS FROM AN ANCIENT KING

I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace. 

Daniel 4:4.

  1. When Kings Speak 

People should listen when great kings speak, especially successful ancient kings who made their contributions to the wonders of their time.  Before us is the insightful confession of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, famed in history also for his contribution of hanging gardens to the wonders of the ancient world.  

  1. The Two States and Two Settings 

In the passage above, the king describes two states in two settings: rest in own house, and flourishment in the palace, but rest before flourishment; or rest that leads to flourishment.  The first is an emotional state of rest; the next, a physical and public state of prosperity.  The first is a personal and private state; the other, a rather public state apparent to everyone, described metaphorically as “flourishing,” like a tree openly and handsomely laden with leaves and fruits, generously giving shelter and food to everyone; a tree so well nourished (secretly) that it also can give nourishment to others (openly).

The first is a ‘received’ state; the next, a ‘giving’ state.  Both settings, however, are physical, except that the first is more private than the other, yet powerful in determining outcomes in the more popular and opulent palace.  In other words, the size of a setting is not often a reliable indication of its power and influence.  Atomic bombs are not usually measured in terms of their physical size.

  1. From Rest to Flourishment 

According to this great king, to flourish in the palace – in his official public space, he had rest in the house – his private space.  In other words, if his house had been the place of tests rather than rest, it might have been hard to flourish, even though planted in a palace of gold.  His public prosperity in the palace had something to do with the private peace he enjoyed in his house, his own house.  Sociologists have long stressed the power of context over content; the influence that environment has on character and performance.  The Bible speaks no less (Proverbs 22:24-25).

No matter how coated in gold and silver a palace might be, with hanging gardens decked in rare roses, the king who finds no rest in his own house will find little prosperity in that palace.  In other words, sometimes the barrenness of some good men in some plush palaces may have nothing to do with a lack in their palace but everything to do with a lack in their house.  They will prosper little in the palace whose houses are the wrestling rings of tests rather than the place of rest.  If you doubt me, ask His Excellency, King Nebuchadnezzar of Great Babylon, or read the repeated recommendations of another wise king in Proverbs 21:9 and 19.

  1. The Radical Precautions of an Ancient King 

It might take great wars to gain a palace, but gaining a palace is not always sufficient to keeping it.  That is a story for another day.  Another king, in the early chapters of his palace history, seemed to have learned the lesson at the sudden detection of stressors in his house.  His wise men, probably of the ancient School of King Nebuchadnezzar, advised him quickly on a process of stress-elimination if he expected lasting flourishment in his palace and in that kingdom (Esther 1:10-22).  Years later, as that history shows, he seemed to have been the better for listening to them.

  1. A Gap in Leadership Lessons 

Often, leaders and development ‘experts’ have focused great attention polishing the palace, with little reference to the ‘house’ from which the ruler who sits there comes.  Nebuchadnezzar moved from rest in his own house (not another’s house) to flourishment in his palace.  Of course, he reciprocally took some of the fruits of the flourishing palace back to the house that gave him rest, and he had more rest that gave him more strength to flourish in his outer space.

It is possible to be planted in a plush palace and yet not prosper if the house of horrors from which one comes pre-sets one to embarrassing errors.  The remote buttons for some glaring palace failures might sometimes be found back in their private house: “… at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace.” 

  1. A Prayer 

By the mercies of God, may you be able soon to say of your kingdom, like King Solomon, “the Lord my God has given ISRAEL peace on every side; I have no foreign enemies or internal rebellions” (1 Kings 5:4, The Living Bible).  May you be able to boast in the Lord personally, like King David, “But now the Lord my God has given ME rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil confronting me” (1 Kings 5:4, AMP).  May it be unto you according to Psalm 71:21, that the Lord “increase [your] greatness” and comfort you “on every side.”  Amen.

 

From The Preacher’s diary 

July 30, 2022. 

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