When I was still in high school, the song, “I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar)” was a hit that became the anthem of the Women’s Liberation Movement. We women could do anything that we set our minds to. In 1981, a popular book was “The Sky’s the Limit” by Dr. Wayne Dyer. I devoured it. Moreover, I was fresh out of college and was hoping for a successful career in the hospitality industry in Puerto Rico. Problem was that God was nowhere in the picture. I kept climbing on my high horse — the sky was the limit, right — and God kept knocking me down. It was one job failure after another. It took me years to finally admit that I could not do anything without God. That’s exactly what happened to King Nebuchadnezzar in this next chapter of Book of Daniel. Let’s dig in…
Daniel 4 – Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream about a Tree
King Nebuchadnezzar sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world:
“Peace and prosperity to you!
2 “I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me.
3 How great are his signs,
how powerful his wonders!
His kingdom will last forever,
his rule through all generations.
4 “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in my palace in comfort and prosperity. 5 But one night I had a dream that frightened me; I saw visions that terrified me as I lay in my bed. 6 So I issued an order calling in all the wise men of Babylon, so they could tell me what my dream meant. 7 When all the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and fortune-tellers came in, I told them the dream, but they could not tell me what it meant. 8 At last Daniel came in before me, and I told him the dream. (He was named Belteshazzar after my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)
9 “I said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too great for you to solve. Now tell me what my dream means.
10 “‘While I was lying in my bed, this is what I dreamed. I saw a large tree in the middle of the earth. 11 The tree grew very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. 12 It had fresh green leaves, and it was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. All the world was fed from this tree.
13 “‘Then as I lay there dreaming, I saw a messenger (watcher or angel), a holy one, coming down from heaven. 14 The messenger shouted,
“Cut down the tree and lop off its branches!
Shake off its leaves and scatter its fruit!
Chase the wild animals from its shade
and the birds from its branches.
15 But leave the stump and the roots in the ground,
bound with a band of iron and bronze
and surrounded by tender grass.
Now let him be drenched with the dew of heaven,
and let him live with the wild animals among the plants of the field.
16 For seven periods of time,
let him have the mind of a wild animal
instead of the mind of a human.
17 For this has been decreed by the messengers;
it is commanded by the holy ones,
so that everyone may know
that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world.
He gives them to anyone he chooses—
even to the lowliest of people.”
18 “‘Belteshazzar, that was the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now tell me what it means, for none of the wise men of my kingdom can do so. But you can tell me because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.’
Daniel Explains the Dream
19 “Upon hearing this, Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) was overcome for a time, frightened by the meaning of the dream. Then the king said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, don’t be alarmed by the dream and what it means.’
“Belteshazzar replied, ‘I wish the events foreshadowed in this dream would happen to your enemies, my lord, and not to you! 20 The tree you saw was growing very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. 21 It had fresh green leaves and was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. 22 That tree, Your Majesty, is you. For you have grown strong and great; your greatness reaches up to heaven, and your rule to the ends of the earth.
23 “‘Then you saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, “Cut down the tree and destroy it. But leave the stump and the roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven. Let him live with the animals of the field for seven periods of time.”
24 “‘This is what the dream means, Your Majesty, and what the Most High has declared will happen to my lord the king. 25 You will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals. You will eat grass like a cow, and you will be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses. 26 But the stump and roots of the tree were left in the ground. This means that you will receive your kingdom back again when you have learned that heaven rules.
27 “‘King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.’
The Dream’s Fulfillment
28 “But all these things did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later he was taking a walk on the flat roof of the royal palace in Babylon. 30 As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’
31 “While these words were still in his mouth, a voice called down from heaven, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom. 32 You will be driven from human society. You will live in the fields with the wild animals, and you will eat grass like a cow. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.’
33 “That same hour the judgment was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws.
Nebuchadnezzar Praises God
34 “After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever.
His rule is everlasting,
and his kingdom is eternal.
35 All the people of the earth
are nothing compared to him.
He does as he pleases
among the angels of heaven
and among the people of the earth.
No one can stop him or say to him,
‘What do you mean by doing these things?’
36 “When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before.
37 “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.”Daniel 4 NLT
God Hates Pride
Just in case you haven’t gotten this by now, here are a few more Bible verses that speak to pride…
All who fear the Lord will hate evil.Proverbs 8:13 NLT
Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance,
corruption and perverse speech.
The Lord detests the proud;Proverbs 16:5 NLT
they will surely be punished.
Pride goes before destruction,Proverbs 16:18 NLT
and haughtiness before a fall.
And finally… Jesus said…
11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”Luke 14:11 NLT
Get the idea?
The King is Knocked Off His High Horse
- This was written by King Nebuchadnezzar himself.
- King Nebuchadnezzar was basking in his prosperity. He was “flourishing” as the NKJV puts it.
- Remember, back in chapter 2, he was the “head of gold” and then in yesterday’s chapter, he built a statue of himself, which he forced the people to worship. If that isn’t pride, I don’t know what is!
- Notice that in v. 14, the angel/messenger refers to the tree as an “it”. Then, in the next verse (v. 15), the angel refers to it as “he” when cut down.
- Nebuchadnezzar first calls his Babylonian astrologers when he should have called Daniel, who as their chief.
- God put Daniel in the right place at the right time.
- In v. 27, Daniel gives Nebuchadnezzar some good advice — STOP SINNING! That is repentance. Repentance is not just the reducing or slowing down of sinning. No, it’s doing a complete 180 degree turn in your life.
- God gave the king 1 year to repent. The experience was much worse because he didn’t humble himself and repent.
- 7 years! That’s the “7 times”. Not 7 weeks, not 7 months — 7 YEARS! I was 2 years unemployed and that was bad enough!
Pastor Sandy Adams comments…
Nebuchadnezzar went from glory to grovel. He went mad. Greek historian, Abydenus, wrote of him years after the fact – in 268 BC. He said the king had been “possessed by some god,” (perhaps a demon) and that he had “immediately disappeared.” That fits our text…
Jewish tradition tells us that it was Daniel who cared for the king while he was “out to pasture.” Daniel must have used his political clout to insure the king’s return. Daniel knew from the dream, God would restore him…
When did the king return to his right mind? When he lifted his eyes to heaven and honored the Most High. It took seven years for the most powerful man the world has ever seen, to learn he was God’s appointee. Everything he had possessed was a gift from God. It’s sad, but since Nebuchadnezzar, there have been many people who’ve had much less, yet failed to learn this lesson.
Without God, we’re all nothing but wild beasts, unable to govern ourselves, let alone others. We all need to learn that heaven rules, not earth.
On the morning of the battle of Waterloo, Napoleon was discussing strategy with his commanding officer. “We’ll put the infantry here, the cavalry there, and the artillery in that spot. At the end of the day, England will be at the feet of France, and Wellington will be the prisoner of Napoleon.”
That’s when his commander interjected a warning, ”We must not forget that man proposes and God disposes.”
Napoleon arrogantly snapped back, “No, I want you to understand, that Napoleon proposes and Napoleon disposes.”
Historians tell us what happened that day. God sent torrential rains and hail so that Napoleon was unable to maneuver his troops as he had planned. Disaster struck the French. By nightfall, “France was at the feet of England and Napoleon was a prisoner of Wellington.”
We could sum up Nebuchadnezzar’s encounter with the God, by saying, “Babylon was at the feet of Heaven and Nebuchadnezzar was a prisoner of God.”
…Imagine, reading this letter, signed by the (king). It’s his explanation for his absence. And after reading it myself, I think Nebuchadnezzar will be in heaven. To me, this is a prayer of repentance. The ruler of the whole earth became a servant of God.
And you’ve got to love the chapter’s last line. The most powerful ruler this planet has ever seen, writes, “And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.”Sandy Adams
We never hear from Nebuchadnezzar again in the book of Daniel. Thus, the same man God used to bring His judgment on many nations — including Judah — is humbled right off his throne.
Here are some New Testament Bible Verses on Humility…
Jesus told us…
11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”Luke 14:11 NLT
26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. 31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”1 Corinthians 1:26-31 NLT
Living as Children of Light – Paul wrote…
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.Ephesians 4:17-23 NLT
Living the New Life… When you are born again, Paul writes…
3 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.Colossians 3:1-3 NLT
Jesus is Coming Soon! Are YOU Ready?!
9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.
14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.
15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.2 Peter 3:9-15 NLT
It’s YOUR Choice!
Humble yourself before God or He’s going to do it for you!
What are you waiting for?!
Touch The Sky
God So Loved
Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!
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