Daniel 4:1-3 Daniel has recorded an official proclamation by King Nebuchadnezzar. One of the greatest Kings in history records his testimony here on how God humbled him and what led him to insanity and his restoration. The events of this chapter begin with a second dream that God gave Nebuchadnezzar. This shows us that God works through and speaks to whomever He pleases.
So don’t let Satan tell you that you aren’t religious enough for God to work in your life or speak to you. Because God doesn’t evaluate people’s spirituality in order to determine whether they’re holy enough for Him to speak to them or work in their lives. Nebuchadnezzar wrote this chapter and God has seen fit to include it in His Word. In this proclamation He wants to tell of the miraculous signs and wonders that God performed for him and why God’s kingdom is the greatest kingdom anywhere.
Daniel 4:4-18 Once again, Nebuchadnezzar is troubled by a dream that he has had. The first dream was of the great statute which we learned represented future kingdoms. This dream was of a huge tree. Which grew until its top touched the sky and visible throughout the earth. It was a beautiful tree with abundant fruit that fed all of the creatures of the earth. But then Nebuchadnezzar saw a messenger from heaven come and call out with a loud voice that the tree was to be cut down and the branches trimmed off and the leaves stripped off and the fruit was to be scattered.
Only the stump and roots were to be left and they were to be bound with iron and bronze and remain in the grass of the field. The messenger said he was to be drenched with the dew of heaven and live with the animals and his mind be changed from that of a man to the mind of an animal for seven times. The messenger said that this decision was made so that every living thing may know that God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men. Nebuchadnezzar had no idea what it meant. Once again his counselors could not interpret the dream, so now he turned to Daniel who gave the interpretation.
Daniel 4:19-27 Daniel was terrified for a while because of what he heard about the dream and what he knew the interpretation to be. Nebuchadnezzar saw that Daniel was terrified and told him not to be alarmed, but to go ahead and tell him what it meant. He knew it wasn’t good news wanted Daniel to tell him the truth. Daniel told him that he was the tree in the dream and that Nebuchadnezzar was the king and his kingdom was stretched out over the earth like the tree. His kingdom was enormous and beautiful providing food for everyone one and everything.
But the messenger who came down from heaven saying that the tree should be cut down and destroyed was saying that Nebuchadnezzar would be dethroned and his kingdom taken away. He would be driven away from people and would live with wild animals and eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. The king was going to loose his sanity. Daniel said seven times or years would pass over until Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged that God was greater than himself. The stump with the band meant that his kingdom would be restored when Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged that God is supreme and most sovereign.
Daniel 4:28-37 In these verses we see that it turned out exactly the way God said it would. It should come as no surprise that God takes His word seriously and Nebuchadnezzar experienced just what the dream spoke of. Nebuchadnezzar said that one year later, it happened just the way it was foretold. Historians tell us that one year later; Nebuchadnezzar expanded the city of Babylon and built himself a new palace. He rebuilt the city by restoring and enlarging all of the buildings, the streets, and by rebuilding and expanding the wall around the city.
After the work was completed, Nebuchadnezzar went up on the roof of his new palace and was admiring his beautiful new city that he had just built. In Daniel 4:30 he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” Nebuchadnezzar had missed or forgotten the whole point of his dream. At that moment a messenger from heaven came and said exactly what was prophesied would happen, what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle.
His body was drenched with the dew of heaven and his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird. The king literally lost his sanity. Then after seven years, he raised his eyes toward heaven and was restored when he acknowledged that God was sovereign and his sanity and kingdom was restored. And as a result, King Nebuchadnezzar wrote this proclamation so that everyone would know what he learned—the hard way. The most difficult thing for Nebuchadnezzar to learn was the very last sentence: “And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”
Why did Nebuchadnezzar have to go through this loss of sanity? Was it to teach him a lesson? Of course, but did he have to go through this to learn humility? Maybe not. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that there was a way to avoid it in Daniel 4:27. If would have renounced his sin by doing what is right, it was possible that his prosperity might continue. This is what the prophets did over and over again to God’s people.
The prophets plead with His people to get themselves right with God so that something bad didn’t happen to them. Sadly many, like Nebuchadnezzar, did not heed the warnings and suffered the consequences of their sin. But we should understand that even if we do wise up and repent of our sin it does not automatically take away the consequences of our sin. David committed adultery with Bathsheba and got caught, he repented and found forgiveness and got right with God.
But even though God forgave the sin, he did not take away the consequences of that sin, the child still died, and many more things occurred that were the consequences of his sin. When we repent God forgives us, but He may or may not take away the consequences of that sin. Forgiveness does not equal rescue from consequences. But we still need to repent. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar how to renounce his sin. Not just with words, but by doing what was right. We can’t just say that we know that pride is wrong; we must start being humble.
We can’t just say that we know lying is wrong; we must start telling the truth. We can’t just say that gossip is wrong; we must start encouraging others. We can’t just say that stealing is wrong; we must start helping the poor. God gave Nebuchadnezzar 12 months, how long will He give you before he allows you to loose your sanity?