Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Nebuchadnezzar’s Humbling

Daniel 4:1-3 “Nebuchadnezzar the king unto all people,  nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth,    Peace be multiplied unto you.

                        I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the High God hath wrought toward 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.”

Here is the story of God against a powerful…maybe the most powerful ruler of the times.

And of course, God wins.   The stories of God’s victories are all around us,  but we do not get news flashes about them.

So in the Scriptures, God has set aside a record of His humbling of a heathen world-ruler.  

Not by mighty armies,  or by high intellect;  but by the will and word of God.

Why is this important? 

Because God still rules, and “He does according to His will in the army of heaven and in the inhabitants of the earth…”

How we yield to that fact shows our subjection to the True King of Kings, and Lord of Lords,  Jesus Christ.

Daniel 4:4-5 “I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house and flourishing in my palace:

                         I saw a dream which made me afraid,  and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.”

It seems funny that someone so powerful would feel afraid by a dream,  but many believed that they were signs of things to come. 

This time he was right.

So he calls for all his wise men, and astrologers; but they could not tell him what the dream meant. 

Then Daniel came in and the king told him the dream. 

(Daniel had made known another dream to him before.  Daniel had given all the glory to the “God in heaven that reveals the secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be…” Daniel 2:28)

So Daniel heard what the dream meant:

Daniel 4:20, 22-23, 25 “This tree that thou sawest,  which grew,  and was strong, whose height reached unto the heavens,  and the sight thereof to all the earth;

                                     It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong:  for thy greatness is grown,  and reacheth unto the heaven, and thy dominion unto. the end of the earth.

                                     And whereas the king saw a watcher and a holy one coming down from heaven,  and saying,  Hew the tree down,  and destroy it;  yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth,  even with a band of iron and brass,  in the tender grass of the field;  and let be wet with the dew of heaven,  and let his portion be with the beasts of the field,  till seven times pass over him.

                                   …till thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men,  and giveth to whomsoever He will.”

Daniel gives the interpretation:

The tree is you.   You have grown so powerful that the whole world is under some part of your influence.  But….because you think that you have done all this,  there will come a time that God will make you out of your mind, and you will be as a beast…till…”thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will.” (Daniel 4:25-26)

Daniel also tries to give the king some counsel:

“Break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor;  if it may be a lengthening of thy days.” (Daniel 4:27)

But pride (whether of person, or of accomplishments) is a great sin.

“Who hath made thee to differ?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). 

Simply, is not all that we have from the Lord?  If He gives beauty, or ability, or opportunity?   Is it not all from Him?   

[Does not God give to us from His wealth? What we do with what we have been given, is important—even if you do not believe in God…He takes note.]

Daniel’s counsel suggests that Nebuchadnezzar did nothing about the cruelty of the victors over the conquered people.

The lives of many destroyed, or changed at a whim.

But now the question is:  would he change?

The next verse says it all. 

Daniel 4:28 “All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.”

May I say here, that though many have reformed their actions;  real change comes from God, within the person.

Nebuchadnezzar was given time to come to God.  A year,  twelve whole months…but then:

Daniel 4:29-31 “At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.   

                            The king spake, and said,  Is not this great Babylon,  that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power,  and the honor of my majesty?

                             While the word was in the king’s mouth,  there fell a voice from heaven, saying,  O king Nebuchadnezzar,  to thee it is spoken;  the kingdom is departed from thee.”

We must remember that Nebuchadnezzar is telling the whole world about his experience!   Pretty amazing that he would do so;  and that he would include the details of his sin, and what God did to him:

Daniel 4:33 “And they shall drive thee from men,  and thy dwelling shall be with the beast of the field:  they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen,  and seven times shall pass over thee,  until that thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men,  and giveth it to whomsoever He will.”

He was driven out, a mad man!  He ate grass… till seven times—a complete time for him to get a taste of God’s power and kingdom over all;  and repent.

But,  then….how great a time-word…when repentance is spoken of:

Daniel 4:34-36 “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven,  and mine understanding returned unto me,  and I blessed the Most High and I praised and honored Him that liveth forever,  Whose dominion is an everlasting dominion,  and His kingdom is from generation to generation:

                            And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing:  and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven,  and among the inhabitants of the earth:  and none can stay His hand,  or say unto Him,  What doest Thou?

                             At the same time my reason returned unto me;  and for the glory of my kingdom,  mine honor and brightness,  returned unto me;  and my counselors and my lords sought unto me;  and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.”

Nebuchadnezzar was a great king….but it was God’s purpose that he be so.  

He was at the head of his army.  He led into battle, and overpowered other great nations.  He  built his country into a great world power.  He built a beautiful city.  [Babylon’s hanging gardens was one of the world’s wonders]

So when Nebuchadnezzar was told that all he did was only because God allowed it to happen!?

He heard,  but refused to submit.  

It is a hard thing to submit to,  especially when we would like to get at least part of the credit.

But when Nebuchadnezzar did submit to God, then….”I lifted up mine eyes unto heaven”….mine understanding returned unto me”….”my reason returned unto me;”.

[This is like the prodigal,  “When he came to himself”.  Luke 15:17-18]

Most people do not like to think of the damage sin does to our minds.  The ideas it gives, or the murderous thoughts,  or the imaginations it leads into:  but sin destroys and corrupts every good thing it can.  

We think of “bad attitudes”, or “being illogical”,  but sin twists the truth.

Only when we submit to God as we should, does the truth begin to be seen.

And when we apply that truth to our hearts and lives:  we find our minds leaving  anger, imaginations, and despair;  to find peace, gentleness, mercy and joy.  For ourselves, and others.

Daniel 4:37 “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven,  all Whose works are truth,  and His way judgement:  and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.”

Here he praises God!   For bringing him into submission!

May we all come to the place where we too are submitting to God, and His purpose.   

Leaving the pride of life (1 John2:16),  and entering into the fullness of the Spirit.

In joy and peace, going on with Him….in praise.

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