This shaking is not because He is so angry with us. The Book says He is slow to anger. Nothing surprises Him about our condition. He is never caught off guard by our rejecting Him to return to captivity like the Israelites for the smell and taste of onions and garlic.
Change has to take place for no other reason than somewhere along the way we, like the Israelites, have stopped seeking and trusting God. We have lost the Father, and in losing Him, we forfeit the most precious gift that Jesus came to announce: "I have come to proclaim a Kingdom; that is why I must go from town to town." He desired to set captives free from serving the religious, economic and political systems of man that steal our hearts away from Him.
God loved me enough to take me "to the sea" for several years, to allow me to shed my identity and validation that was wrapped around ministry, church, and performance to prove myself to God and man. He loved the mighty King Nebuchadnezzar enough to take him seven years into a beast-like existence, as an outcast of one of greatest kingdoms in history that he had created and ruled. This shaking would, indeed, be one of the most dramatic ever recorded.
Nebuchadnezzar witnessed the power ministry of Daniel and knew he had seen the God who ruled the cosmos:
Nebuchadnezzar the king to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language that live in all the earth: May your peace abound! It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me. How great are His signs and how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and His dominion is from generation to generation. Daniel 4:1-3
The king gave this declaration based upon a power moment when he feared for his life and marveled at a God who gave and explained mysteries and dreams. He totally believed what he was saying. He knew this God was more powerful than he and could perform signs and wonders he only dreamed about. He grasped that God's Kingdom was everlasting, even generation-to-generation, while his could crumble at his death.
Problem was, Nebuchadnezzar didn't know God. He knew the God of Daniel, but He had not yet become the God of Nebuchadnezzar. God could see through all the language of the king when others could not. God could see the heart and knew the obvious. The king was too confident and powerful in his own kingdom. As big and great as it was, it was not close to the Kingdom of God.
Too familiar with a God we don't know
The number one man in the world was sounding as if he knew God, and God knew that was a lie. It's a little like what Bobby Conner declared to the crowd at a large meeting several years ago, "You guys are way too familiar with a God you don't even know." I could hear a few gasps, see the insult and offense expressed in some pointed chins. I was glad I was not one of those he was referring to.
Years later, I discovered Bobby was talking to me, about me. Just like Nebuchadnezzar, I had all the right words and the knowledge about God. Signs and wonders were taking place, as Jesus said they would; the blind saw, the deaf heard, the sick were healed, and the good news (as I understood it) was preached to the poor. But I had no relationship with the God I was proclaiming.
Theologically, I supposedly knew God because I had prayed "the prayer" back in the '70's. But for me--and a lot of others--this theology became a prison. It didn't line up with our experience, though we pretended it did so we could avoid being shunned by friends, family, and congregation and shamed by our religious system for not believing all it believes. Suddenly this skewed religious/political bent became the grounds over which we dis-invited one another to be our friends. We de-friended the very people God put us in the neighborhood to love.
Some of us are so steeped and secure in our religious theology today that it takes a seemingly heartbreaking moment or two to discover who we are before and in God. He is not concerned with what man thinks or says. He is concerned over our hearts toward Him.
No love-no awe
In my Nebuchadnezzar experience I discovered how little awe of God I had because I did not know how much He loved me. Oh, I feared Him and feared getting my just punishment for the slightest sin or misstep. But for Him, it's always been first about my relationship and identity in Him.
My presuppositions of God and the misunderstandings of His Kingdom ran so deep I had to start from scratch with my theology. I had replaced the awe of God and the mystery of a totally supernatural and relational Kingdom with some good--though not lasting--stuff. Evangelism, signs and wonders, and church growth; prophecy and disciplines; building spiritual family and such. All good but resting on a precarious foundation that was already shaking.
Once I recognized God's love and goodness to me, I found in my relationships with others those who could find the God in me when I couldn't. They loved me despite disagreements on issues and errors of my way. And my God used each and every one to fulfill His desire. All He wanted was to bring me home into a place of growing relationship on a foundation of love with not only the all powerful God and Creator, but with my Father, the Lover of my soul.
The days at sea were coming to a close, and I didn't know it. They would end as suddenly and mysteriously as they had started. In the years of solitude, I was led to the same conclusions Nebuchadnezzar came to. After seven years wandering as a beast in the pastures of the land he once ruled, he concluded:
His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures
from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth
are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the
powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can
hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?"
...Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King
of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways
are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
The last step of getting released from the sea is the first step to our next journey. But isn't that what life with our God is all about -- taking the next step of faith and facing the unknown? And what an amazing journey He has called us to: to watch Him reveal Himself as the God of love and bestow on us His Kingdom of love on earth.
David - firstname.lastname@example.org