TWO: Nebuchadnezzar's Plan of Economy

By Stephen Phinney

"The king reflected and said, 'Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?' (Daniel 4:30, NASB).

These were the words of the "great Nebuchadnezzar" - the man who had such pride and bondage when it came to the building of the "great Babylon." If you have been doing any reading in the book of Revelation, you will discover that Babylon will show its face one more time. This city has always been a thorn in God's side. It has and will again, pride itself in wisdom, wealth, and power. In the case of King Nebuchadnezzar, he is turned over to a depraved mind for making such arrogant claims.

"Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws” (Daniel 4:33, NASB)

Why is God so offended by man or the Antichrist being so attached to wealth or external things? The answer is really too simple for the average mind to embrace. God knows that all who put their focus on wealth, tend to forget Him. The other critical factor is people with wealth or excessive material things, tend to think that if was by their hand. This ultimately provokes God to jealousy (Deuteronomy 8:11, 17-18).

What means did God use to break Nebuchadnezzar of his pride? It would behoove all of us to review chapter four of Daniel. But the simple overview is this: God took all the externals away from the king until he was able to give God all of the honor, glory, and credit for the existence of wealth. That took 7 years!! Yes, seven years of eating and looking like a beast. Even though there are many parallels here regarding the Great Tribulation of the Antichrist, God is making a clean and clear statement about man, money, and how he stewards it.

Thankfully, in Nebuchadnezzar's case, he repented and put his focus on the Creator - not all do that after such humbling. In fact, "Neb" himself lost his focus again. Wealth and possessions are seductive in nature, unless they are yielded to God. As with "Neb," God has three primary requirements when it comes to money:

GIVING: Being free from the bondage of the love of money begins with following the guidelines God laid out for us for Biblical giving. When we give, it brings God into our finances in a personal way. It also provokes God to give more to the giver. “Give, and it shall be given unto you...” (Luke 6:38, NASB). Our new habit of giving must start with what the Bible calls our tithes and offerings of God. We will speak more about the difference between the two later, but for now; tithe is the highly requested 10% and offering is the above and beyond. Giving is the Christian’s way of investing in Heaven, kind of like Heavenly stock, where “…thieves do not break in or steal” (Matt. 6:20, NASB). Giving also proves where our hearts are. So many claim they love Jesus. But until a person looks at their check stubs, it cannot be proven (Matt. 6:21).

RECEIVING: If you're a good giver, then you are an awesome receiver. Once God sees that He has a giver on His hands, He opens the doors of Heaven to directly and indirectly bless them. He knows the more He gives this type of giver, the more they will give away, and the more given, the more needs are fulfilled by God. In order to be one of God's receivers, you have to be in tune with God Himself. Personally, I believe God is intimately close to givers and receivers. He knows where His messengers of answered prayers are available. Keep in mind that the measurement you give is most likely the measurement you will receive (2 Cor. 9:6).

ACCOUNTING: It is one thing to be a giver and receiver, but it is an entirely different thing to be a manager or an accountant. You know, one who keeps adequate track and account of what is coming in and going out. Everything we eat, spend, save, or invest is to be held in account to God for how we use each and every penny we have. Many do not even realize that the Word is clear as to what we should spend His money on. We will reveal these areas later, but know today - He is detailed. God told us in His Word to flee from those who would waste our time and take our money. He instructs us to use great care and prayer in what we purchase. Why? It is His time and money we are stewarding. As we wisely steward small things, He will entrust more, or the greater, to us later (Luke 16:10).

Being freed from the Nebuchadnezzar Plan of Economy is realizing true wealth and prosperity comes only from God. He is the One who chooses the measurement of wisdom, wealth, and health. If we think that we can get rich quick by our own education, investments, or practices, we will become the victims of our own schemes. God will soon bring a lesson upon us much like that of "Neb." It may not be as extreme as with Job and King Neb, but that would be God's choosing (Deut. 8:18).

Freedom comes when we are committed to God's Divine purpose of money. The purpose of money is not to bring us security and protection. These are reasons that many use, but these reasons don't have caps or ceilings to them. The purpose of money, for most, is to breed independence - not having to lean on our fellow brothers and sisters for aid. I have news for each of us. Money is for full dependence on God. It demonstrates God's love and power over us. When we have money, we become stewards. When we become stewards, we have to depend on the One who is going to tell us how to steward it (Matt. 6:30). That's it!

You know you’re free when you recognize false worldly financial concepts. Actual freedom comes through restraints - God's restraints. Freedom is in being a steward, in fact, a bond-servant. Remember:

For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave (1 Cor 7:22, NASB).

One of the toughest elements of being a freedman is embracing God's discipline. All those times when we sin by not bringing application to God's mandates, God allows riches with sorrow. He even allows the success to devour our investments. Many times we go on a lifetime search for this wealth and never find it (Haggai 1:9). We turn into a bitter old person, asking the same old question: Why me? God loves His children and a father who loves his children will discipline them. Many times, God's discipline is in hiding the prosperity of our dreams.

Being financially free is by the willpower to serve God rather than money. What we serve proves the location of our love. This is why God said, “For the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil…” (1 Tim 6:10, KJV). Notice it is not the money that is evil, but the love of money. God rarely makes a big deal about the money in the world, but rather the love of such things. This is what provokes God to being jealous (James 4). In the end-times, Satan wants people to serve him through their love for power, money, and success. Not to insult your intelligence here, but HIS PLAN WORKS. Without question, this is one of the reasons why God sends His Son for a Second Coming.

Did you know that being out of debt is a Biblical requirement? If you didn't already know, it is! God asked us not to be in debt to any man or institution. Most debt is the result of our disregarding God's Eternal guidelines and not being willing to wait on Him for His supernatural provisions. I know the violation of this Truth quite well. I grew up an impatient child who got tired of waiting on anyone, let alone God. I understand the struggle to stay out of debt at all costs. The person or institution we are indebted TO becomes our master. In the end-times, if we are in debt to man or his human institutions, we will be forced to pay the piper (Satan) in one facet or another. This is the connection with money and the end-times many believers do NOT want to look at. I have even known some "Christians" to go into deeper debt because the "Antichrist" was right around the corner. Do what is moral, legal, and of God, to get OUT OF DEBT (2 Kings 4:7).

Another principle I learned about being free financially - learning how to embrace the suffering of poverty, as easy as the embrace of abounding. Learning to accept abounding is kind of a joke to me. I know there are some who find it difficult to have money and material gain, but not this boy. I find the loving embrace of abounding fun and enjoyable. Now - learning how to embrace the suffering of poverty? No, that is not an easy embrace for me. When God decides to abase me, I start thinking thoughts like: God is angry at me, I am not as good as other Christians, or there is "unconfessed sin" in my life somewhere. This is one of the toughest messages of Truth for me to hear, even though I know it is required of me to do so (Philippians 4:12).

In my next Blog, I will be addressing the resistance to sales, bargains, swindlers, getting the best buy, and many other practical principles of Finances and the End-times. Until then...