If God is perfect, He never makes mistakes, and He always gets what He wants then is it possible for people prevent God from accomplishing His plans? What happens when we do not follow what God wants? There are two Kings that wanted their own way…
Nebuchadnezzar at the height of his Empire found out first hand that God is in control of everything. It is God from whom all success flows. Daniel gives gracious words to a King who does not recognize God the Creator.
20 The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, 21 whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived— 22 it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth. Daniel 4:20-22 ESV
Nebuchadnezzar’s greatness had grown so large that his power stretched out over the world and nations from everywhere were blessed by this stability. Like most people the King became full of himself and thought about what an amazing person he had become because of the power at his hand. God’s plans in this event are dramatic and overwhelming.
30 and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” 31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, 32 and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” 33 Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws. Daniel 4:30-33 ESV
As soon as the words came from his lips exalting himself, giving credit to himself, patting himself on the back for the scope and wonder of everything before him God stepped in to make known who was really responsible. This king of Babylon is not as powerful as he thinks and neither are normal men who live every day fulfilling their own selfish ambition. This king was just a sinful man that God was using to accomplish his eternal perfect vision.
Nebuchadnezzar is an extreme and spectacular example of God having His way and there are ramification to ourselves and those around us when we resist and rebel against our creator. Have you ever resisted the instructions of God? What was the outcome? How were the people around you impacted? Life is hard and if God has called you to serve Him rejecting that call can make life even more difficult. There is an interesting event recorded in Numbers where a man name Balaam had been given a gift from God to provide blessings and curses to people in the land. The gift is obviously from God and Balaam has some kind of relationship with God even though he does not appear to be an Israelite. Knowing of the gift that Balaam has the King of Moab who is about to go to war with the Israelites offers to pay Balaam to curse the Jewish people.
12 God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” 13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go to your own land, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.” 14 So the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.” Numbers 22:12-13 ESV
Balaam has heard the plans of God that these Israelites are “blessed” and that He does not want them cursed. Balaam told the princes of Moab the bad news but they still pursued Balaam to try and get him to curse the Israelites. Balaam knowing what God said went back to God to see if he would change his mind. God becomes angry with Balaam because Balaam continued to purse God even though he had clear instruction. The reason Balaam did not like God’s instructions is because of the riches that Moab was promising (Numbers 22:22). Because of Balaam’s intent God permits him to go to the King of Moab but the consequences of this selfishness will not be good for Balaam or the King of Moab.
10 And Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. And Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have blessed them these three times. 11 Therefore now flee to your own place. I said, ‘I will certainly honor you,’ but the Lord has held you back from honor.” 12 And Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, 13 ‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will. What the Lord speaks, that will I speak’? Numbers 24:10-13 ESV
Because Balaam did not listen to the first instruction from God to not go with the men of Moab Balaam’s ultimate result was an additional curse on Moab that may not have been needed and Balaam’s reputation being questioned by the people that God had called him to serve. Ultimately through all this disobedience God is glorified and God’s plans are accomplished in regard to blessings on the nation of Israel.
In the same way Nebuchadnezzar’s arrogance and refusal to submit to the will of God caused unnecessary harm to the nation of Babylon for the period of time that God banished him to the wilderness. When Daniel interpreted the dream for Nebuchadnezzar he told the King that all of the comfort and prosperity that were a blessing to everyone around him would be cast away.
14 He proclaimed aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and lop off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts flee from under it and the birds from its branches. Daniel 4:14 ESV
For the seven years when the King lost his mind the Babylonian kingdom was cast into some level of disarray and a loss of comforting shelter and a loss of the fruit produced by God’s plans for this King. In his arrogance failing to submit to God’s will and plans countless others were impacted.
When God seeks to work through you His child and servant do you resist and champion your own desires. Do you rationalize in your own mind that you can take the consequences? Before you continue to resist God think about the impact to others who are living in a difficult world. Those closest to you the ones under your protection and authority are the ones that would be impacted the most by the selfish acts. What God has planned will come about and what He has planned is lovely, true, and righteous. Here is what Balaam was forced to say when what he wanted was only to make money from Balak the King of Moab by cursing the nation of Israel.
Rise, Balak, and hear; give ear to me, O son of Zippor: 19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? 20 Behold, I received a command to bless: he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it. Numbers 23:18-20 ESV