THE HUMILIATION OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR
Daniel -- Chapter IV
INTRODUCTION: Nebuchadnezzar was a mighty king over an Empire that was greater and more powerful than the Persian, Grecian, Roman or any great empire since his time. But he did not give God the glory He deserved, even though much was revealed about Jehovah to him. In this chapter, we see that God in His infinite grace brings the great king to a calamity that leads him to honor God. Let's study what it was.
I. The Preface Vs. 1-3. These three verses were written near the end of Nebuchadnezzar's life which ended in 561 B.C. This chapter is his testimony. Even though he had recognized Jehovah in chapter three as a real being, he had not been saved nor really humbled himself before God. Now he testifies of Jehovah's greatness and he wants all the people on the earth to know it. Isn't that just like a new-born Christian?
II. The Dream Vs. 4-18. In Old Testament times God spoke to people in sundry ways.
A. By Direct Speech. Adam - Genesis 3.
B. By Vision - Ezekiel 1.
C. By Dreams - Nebuchadnezzar; Daniel 2; Joseph, Genesis 37.
D. By His Servants - I Kings 17:8-16.
E. By the Written Word - Exodus 20.
God speaks today to people in two ways:
1. His Son - Heb. 1:2.
2. The Written Word - II Timothy 3:15; II Peter 1:21; I Corinthians 13:8-10.
Vs. 4 -- Nebuchadnezzar had finished his wars and the building of his great empire and was now prospering and at rest in his palace. Just enjoying life.
Vs. 5 -- His dream terrified him.
Vs. 6 & 7 -- These men were stumped again. Unsaved people cannot understand spiritual revelations except God open their minds. II Corinthians 4:3-6.
Vs. 8 & 9 -- After these had tried, then Daniel came in and the king told him the dream. (gods is singular and means deity)
Vs. 10-16 -- The dream given in detail. "Seven times" means seven years.
Vs. 17 -- Nebuchadnezzar admits this was given so that all people might know that Jehovah ruleth over the kingdom of men and puts who he desires in authority. He also claims he (Nebuchadnezzar) is the basest of men.
Vs. 18 -- Daniel lived for God. He was all out for God and God blessed him even to the extent that the king respected him, and knew that the true and living God was with him and in him. SO OUGHT WE TO LIVE! Galatians 2:20.
III. The Interpretation Vs. 19-27.
Vs. 19 -- For a short time, Daniel was concerned naturally, about how to answer the king. The king could take his life. Daniel prudently answered. He said in essence, "the dream will make happy your enemies." In this he prepared the king's heart for the truth. We are to be "Wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Many a person has been driven from accepting the truth because it was not wisely given.
Vs. 20-22 -- The tree was Nebuchadnezzar,
Vs. 23-25 -- The king was to become insane for seven years and was to act like the beast of the field. He was to eat grass like oxen. This was to last until he knew that Jehovah was supreme and worthy of all honor and until he was willing to so honor Him. God knew how long that would take.
Vs. 26 C Nevertheless, he wouldn=t lose his kingdom, it would still be intact and be ready for him to take over when he came to himself. God was gracious to the king as He is to us all. He owes us nothing but forbears with us much longer than we deserve. II Peter 3:9; Titus 3:5.
Vs. 27 CThe King was told what to do to keep this calamity from coming upon him or to have the terribleness of it lessened but he did not hearken. Hebrews 10:31; Luke 13:3; Acts 2:36-38.
IV. The Humiliation - Vs. 28-33
1. His Boastful Pride - 28-30. His fearful error. He left God out. Cp. Luke 12:16-29; Psalm 10:4; Luke 18:9-14.
2. His Solemn Message - 31-32. Cp. Proverb 16:18; Ecclesiastes 8:11.
3. His Sad Condition -Vs. 33. His glory gone, his pride abased, his humiliation complete. He had not learned that the way up is down. James 4:6; I Peter 5:6.
For seven years, he lived as a beast, as an outcast from society. Many people have calamities that come into their lives and they profit from it by coming to know Christ as Saviour. Others go through many calamities, yet never trust Christ. Calamities are meant to be stumbling blocks on the way to Hell and are designed to keep us out of Hell.
V. The Revelation - Vs. 34 & 35. The lesson has been learned:
1. He learns his blessings come from God. Vs. 34. James 1:17; Acts 14:15.
2. He learns that God is the ruler over all and that His kingdom is the greatest, it will last forever. Vs. 34,35.
None can say to Him, 'What doest thou?' Who are we as the created ones to question God and His motives for such things as sickness, death, eternal punishment, life, etc. He learns his right place--that of humble dependence upon God for wisdom to rule in His fear and favour. Vs.37.
VI. The Restoration Vs. 36 & 37.
As soon as he turned to God, he was restored as king and received greater glory than before. What a testimony he has. Happy is the one whom God chastises and who learns the lesson that God is trying to teach through that trial. Hebrews 12:11.
CONCLUSION: It is a foolish person who thinks he is sufficient himself as Nebuchadnezzar did. "Pride goeth before a fall." Pride is usually the greatest hinderer to our coming to the Saviour for Salvation. But, we must all learn as Nebuchadnezzar did, that those that walk in pride, God is able to abase or bring down. We will either trust Christ as Saviour in this life and be saved or we will bow before Him in eternity and go to Hell. Phillippians 2:9-11. Which will it be for you?