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.
“Wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me”
Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. (Daniel 2:46–47)
Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. (Daniel 3:28)
In previous times, after marked manifestations of God’s power, the king acknowledged Jehovah, but He was the God of the Hebrews, not a God the king knew personally. Now things have changed, for he blesses and praises God for himself with a newfound knowledge of the Creator and a living relationship with Him.
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.
These first three verses spring forth from the heart of a humbled and converted man. Nebuchadnezzar had finally gained a heart experience to go along with his intellectual assent regarding the greatness of the God of heaven.
We must ask ourselves, is our experience in the things of God merely intellectual? If so, we should take heed, for we too may need to be humbled “under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).
Nebuchadnezzar’s attitude had remarkably changed. In chapter 3, after seeing the miracle of the Hebrews deliverance from the fiery furnace, he made a decree upon pain of death and loss of property that respect be shown to the God of the Hebrews. (See Daniel 3:29.) This new declaration is not by royal decree or force, but by the word of the king’s own testimony as he seeks to make known the true God.
What brought such a marvelous change to King Nebuchadnezzar and led him to praise and serve God? The next few verses tell us about the king’s great fall and his humbling experience. This fall, brought about by God, is what led to the king’s recognition of Jehovah as the God of all gods.
I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace.
“Flourishing in my palace”
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)
And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:15–21)
When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever. (Psalm 92:7)
And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. (Revelation 18:2, 7–8)
Prosperity is often accompanied by forgetfulness of God, and self-sufficiency often precedes the fall of individuals and nations. Sometimes this leads men to turn to God, as Nebuchadnezzar did. But more often men reject God’s final warning and sin away the day of grace.
For Nebuchadnezzar, the God of mercy was ready to forgive when he turned to Him with his whole heart.
I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.
“Made me afraid”
I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent. (Job 9:28)
Trouble and anguish shall make him [the wicked man] afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle. (Job 15:24)
The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (Isaiah 33:14)
Rulers and ruled, the weak and the strong, rich and poor, are all alike. They are but men when the fears of life confront them. The might and power of the king counted little when compared to the unknown calamity his dream seemed to foretell. As the king lay upon his bed thinking over the matter, he trembled inwardly, wondering what evil was to come. For God “accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor, for they all are the work of His hands. There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves” (Job 34:19, 22).
What is the answer to the fears of life?
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. (Psalm 56:3)
In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. (Psalm 56:11)
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:2)
He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. (Psalm 112:7)
What is the effect of having a trusting and loving relationship with God?
When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. (Proverbs 3:24)
The remnant of Israel [the faithful servants of God] shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. (Zephaniah 3:13)
Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream. Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.
Once before, the king had been troubled by a dream and had called the magicians, who were unable to help him. (See Daniel 2:1–10.) The king had forgotten how foolish is the wisdom of men and how merciful the intervention of God. Even after the wonderful deliverance of the Hebrews from the fire, Nebuchadnezzar still refused to acknowledge God as the source of all true wisdom.
Many do the same thing today, refusing or ignoring the wisdom of God’s Word that alone has the answer to their problems, perplexities, and fears. Instead, they turn to “wise men” who are unable to help them.
“They did not make known unto me the interpretation”
The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them? (Jeremiah 8:9)
For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou [Babylon] hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me. (Isaiah 47:10)
They [wicked men] are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof. (Job 24:13)
This dream originated not from the king’s own mind. Neither was Satan the instigator. This dream was from God; therefore, it was not possible that the king’s wise men could be of any help, for “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying. …
How often we are like Nebuchadnezzar, going to great lengths to follow our own way. Only when the magicians of self-dependence and humanism fail us, do we call upon God. But, like the king, we want help from the Lord only if it is according to our own terms.
The king recognized that Daniel (whom he had named Belteshazzar after one of his gods) was different from the other wise men of his kingdom. But he attributed Daniel’s wisdom to “the gods,” of whom there were many in Babylon, and assumed Daniel’s god was simply more powerful. The king was still far from recognizing the true and living God as “God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward” (Deuteronomy 10:17).
“Spirit of the holy gods is in thee”
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22–23)
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:4–5)
For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth. (Ephesians 5:9)
Is the spirit of the holy God in us? Do others know it, or have we allowed the light to be extinguished? To be used as Daniel was, we need an experience like his. Obedience to God and integrity are to be woven into the very fiber of our being. We need to realize that only “in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption,” is there strength and sufficiency (1 Corinthians 1:30). Daniel was able to interpret the dream not by any inherent skills or talents of his own but because he had “received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).
Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth. The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven.
Then as I lay there dreaming, I saw one of God’s angels [literally, “a watcher, a holy one,” margin] coming down from heaven. (Daniel 4:13 TLB)
“Behold, a watcher”
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:13)
If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart. (Psalm 44:20–21)
O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. (Psalm 139:1–4)
In our humanity, we generally live as if this world and its cares and aspirations are all there is to live for. However, God seeks to open our vision, as He opened the king’s, to the realization that we are accountable to Him.
God has a purpose for humanity. Falling short of this purpose, man becomes self-centered, world-centered, and unprepared for life as God intended it to be—a glory to Him and a blessing to man.
Men find themselves, through neglect of God, equally unprepared for death. Jesus gave a warning that is for all time and all people: “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting [self-indulgence], and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day [the coming of the Lord or the day of death] come upon you unawares” (Luke 21:34).
He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches. Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.
Let his nature and understanding be changed from a man’s and let a beast’s nature and understanding be given him, and let seven times [or years] pass over him. (Daniel 4:16 AMP)
“A beast’s heart be given unto him”
So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. (Psalm 73:22)
But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. (Galatians 5:15)
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19–21)
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3:14–18)
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. (Titus 3:3)
The king experienced a temporary insanity that led him to behave like an animal. While this condition was caused by the direct intervention of God for a specific purpose, it was ultimately redemptive in nature. It taught him a lesson that is true among men of every era. All of us, apart from God, are mentally deranged and animalistic in our nature unless God delivers us “from the power of darkness,” translating “us into the kingdom of His dear Son” (Colossians 1:13).
This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest [humblest and lowliest] of men.
“May know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men”
He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. (Psalm 66:7)
The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. (Psalm 103:19)
For the Lord most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. (Psalm 47:2)
Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: that men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth. (Psalm 83:17–18)
The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens. (Psalm 113:4)
Politicians and leaders come and go, and so do their promises. Programs and policies promise peace and prosperity, but alas, at best they last for but a short while. Some promising leaders may seem to have the answers to society’s problems and will get people excited. But these leaders are frail men or women just like everyone else.
Hope and peace cannot be found in the rulers or enactments of men. True hope lies only in individuals and nations recognizing the true and living God as king, first in their own lives and then in the life of the nation and the world at large. But unfortunately, from the beginning of human society and governments, we as individuals and nations have chosen a different ruler. “And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, [destruction] but in the Greek tongue hath his name [destroyer] Apollyon” (Revelation 9:11).
This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.
“Wise men of my kingdom are not able”
Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumour shall be upon rumour; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients. The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people of the land shall be troubled: I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 7:26–27)
We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; in transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. (Isaiah 59:10, 12–13)
As with Israel in apostasy and sin, so with the Babylonian wise men: there was no vision or counsel from the Lord. Left to themselves they were unable to understand or interpret the dream. So too the wise men of today often seem to lack common sense and true wisdom. And why? Because they set aside the wisdom of God’s Word for the wisdom of men. And what of the wisdom of men? “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain” (1 Corinthians 3:19–20).
Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.
Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished and dismayed and stricken dumb for a while [concerned about the kings destiny], and his thoughts troubled, agitated, and alarmed him. (Daniel 4:19 AMP)
The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation. It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.
And whereas the king saw a watcher and an 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 it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him.
This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king: that they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.
O King Nebuchadnezzar, listen to me—stop sinning; do what you know is right; be merciful to the poor. Perhaps even yet God will spare you. (Daniel 4:27 TLB)
“Break off thy sins”
And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the Lord may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers; when thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord thy God. (Deuteronomy 13:17–18)
If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. (Jeremiah 18:8)
If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. (Ezekiel 18:21)
Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. (Joel 2:13)
Daniel understood the mercy of God. He knew from the Lord’s dealings with Israel, as revealed in Scripture, how often He had withheld or lessened judgments when men truly turned from their sins. In light of this, Daniel earnestly pled with the king to repent.
All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
“At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace”
Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: but it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God. (Ecclesiastes 8:11–13)
For a time the impression of the dream and the warning and counsel of the prophet humbled Nebuchadnezzar. But the heart that is not transformed by the grace of God soon casts aside the reproofs and warnings of heaven. Self-indulgence and ambition had not yet been eradicated from the king’s heart, and soon these traits reappeared. Despite the instruction God gave to him and the warnings of past experience, Nebuchadnezzar again followed the easy path of the natural carnal heart. Hardening his heart, he used his God-given talents for self-glorification, exalting himself above the God who had given him life and power.
For months, the mercy of God lingered. Instead of being led to repentance by God’s forbearance, the king indulged his pride until he lost confidence in the interpretation of the dream. A year after he had received the warning, Nebuchadnezzar, walking in his palace and thinking with pride of his power as a ruler and of his success as a builder, began to boast.
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 for the honour of my majesty?
Twelve months after this dream, he was strolling on the roof of the royal palace in Babylon, and saying, “I by my own mighty power, have built this beautiful city as my royal residence, and as the capital of my empire. (Daniel 4:29–30 TLB)
In the time between his wars of conquest, the king put much effort and thought into strengthening and beautifying the capitol city. As a result Babylon became one of the great wonders of the ancient world. All of this increased the king’s pride and he forgot “that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men” (Daniel 4:32) and that he, though a king, was but a man subject to God.
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.
While the proud boast was yet on the king’s lips, a voice from heaven announced that the appointed hour of God’s judgment had come. “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed” (1 Samuel 2:3). It was time for the Holy One to deal with the haughtiness of the king. This stands on record as a warning to all.
“There fell a voice from heaven, saying, … The kingdom is departed from thee”
Therefore shall his [the wicked’s] calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. (Proverbs 6:15)
He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. (Proverbs 29:1)
And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. (Acts 12:21–23)
Therefore shall evil come upon thee [the kingdom of Babylon]; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know. Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. (Isaiah 47:11–12)
To the king, his counselors, and his subjects, this calamity may have appeared to come suddenly from nowhere and without warning. In this life death, destruction, and judgment appear to come unexpectedly, yet even in the natural world there are often warnings and indications of impending danger. In God’s Word and in the voice of conscience, warnings of approaching danger are even more prevalent. For there is a God in heaven that takes account of men and nations and has given us His Word to guide, direct, and warn us.
Even though we may “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:25), sin is a deceiver. “At the last it [sin] biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder” (Proverbs 23:32).
The king had been warned; he had seen God’s sovereign power on several occasions. Prophets had foretold how God would use him in the destruction of Jerusalem, and God had shown Himself as the true King of kings. Yet after all of this, he listened not to the word of the Lord. Therefore, God spoke to the king in a different manner, for “an evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him” (Proverbs 17:11).
If we go on in sin and disregard God, death, judgment, or calamity may seem to come upon us suddenly. But in many cases, we are surprised only because we have neglected or rejected the Word of the Lord to us. Our only safety is in repenting and surrendering fully to God.
And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.
“The same hour was the thing fulfilled”
See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. (Deuteronomy 32:39)
Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it. (Isaiah 43:13)
Nebuchadnezzar’s pride and selfishness were dealt with in a marked manner, for once God decrees judgment man is powerless to stay His hand. How does God view pride?
Everyone proud and arrogant in heart is disgusting, hateful, and exceedingly offensive to the Lord; be assured [I pledge it] they will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5 AMP)
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. (Malachi 4:1)
A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. (Proverbs 29:23)
And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. (Isaiah 13:11)
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 for ever, 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?
“And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing”
How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm? (Job 25:4–6)
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. (Psalm 103:14)
It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in. (Isaiah 40:22)
The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. (Isaiah 40:6–7)
As we look upon the frailty of man and all things human in comparison with God, we get an idea of how true the statement of the psalmist is: “The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory above the heavens. Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high.”
Indeed our God is great, and the psalmist describes part of that greatness this way: “Who humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!” (Psalm 113:4–6).
For God to even look upon the world is to lower Himself. Thus we question: “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:3–4). Man is nothing, except as he is dear to the heart of God.
It is a mystery that God should love us, worms, dust, and grass that we are; yet it is true. God proved this beyond measure, for “herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation [the atoning sacrifice] for our sins” (1 John 4:10). It was the love of God that both humbled King Nebuchadnezzar and lifted him up.
At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.
After seven years of being humbled by the Lord, the once proud monarch became a child of God. He who had defied and blasphemed the God of heaven now acknowledged the power of the Most High and earnestly sought to promote the knowledge of Jehovah.
Under the rebuke of Him who is King of kings and Lord of lords, Nebuchadnezzar learned at last the lesson that all rulers need to learn: that true greatness consists in true goodness. He acknowledged Jehovah as the living God, saying:
Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
At the beginning of this chapter, Nebuchadnezzar spoke of Jehovah as the God of Daniel and his friends. However, after experiencing seven bitter years of affliction, the king knew for himself that “gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful” (Psalm 116:5). King Nebuchadnezzar learned to know the Lord; what about you?