According to Wikipedia the term is derived from the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon's dream, that Daniel a prophet during the time of the Babylonian exile of the Jews, had interpreted, (read Daniel 2:31-49) .
In more modern times it tends to be used in somewhat of a derogatory way towards those who act as if they are better or richer than we are, especially when they mess up, for example "See, he has clay feet too".
This is certainly an appropriate criticism of someone who has tried to put on a "holier than thou" persona in public which is why I have decided to write on this subject today.
You see, I have been accused of presenting myself to others as "holier than thou". This has never been my intention. I was born with feet of clay and I will die with feet of clay. It is precisely my feet of clay that has given me the wisdom that I am able to share. I mess up and I mess up a lot, however, Christ has always endeavored to teach me through my mess ups. If I learn my lesson or not, depends on my willingness to be teachable.
In Nebuchadnezzar s dream the feet of this terrible great image was made part of clay and part of iron and even though the two were mixed they did not cleave to each other. Of Course, we know this was a reference to the Roman and Greek Empire which, while the Romans were in charge the Empire was still primarily Greek. We also know that there was a stone not made with human hands that shattered the feet and the whole of the structure fell and was broken into pieces that were blown away with the wind and the little stone grew into a mountain that filled the whole earth.
While this dream and interpretation was about Kingdoms it can be applied to our own lives.
In my life the head of gold seems to refer to pride and arrogance. The silver breast and arms relate to my fears. The belly of brass my excessive appetites (covetousness). The legs of Iron my stubbornness against Gods will. And the feet of clay mixed with iron, my wrong beliefs and the stubbornness to hold on to them.
Then comes the stone not made with human hands who causes the whole structure to collapse upon it's self and be turned into dust that is blown away with the wind, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus causes the structure I have built in self will to collapse. The Holy Spirit blows away the dust of self importance and the little stone not made with hands begins to grow into a great mountain that fills all of my mind and heart.
God, I pray that I will submit to your will every day. That for as long as I am in this shell I will continually be reminded that my feet are made of clay, that my best plans, my greatest ideas, if they do not conform to your will, are destined to be dust to be blown away in the wind. I pray for forgiveness for those times I live in my head of gold or the arms and chest of silver. I pray for your strength to overcome the kingdom of brass, and the humility that will melt the legs of iron. Break my wrong beliefs and scatter the dust to the four corners of the earth that Jesus may fill me completely.
So what do you think?