Outline of the Passage
A. Introduction to the Testimony (4.1-9)
The narrative begins when King Nebuchadnezzar shared his testimony to all men about the miraculous signs and wonders that God performed for him. He exalted God’s eternal kingdom and dominion. Once again he had a dream that made him afraid so he asked all the wise men of Babylon to interpret his dream but no one was able to do it. Eventually he called Daniel in whom he believed has the spirit of the holy gods in him.
B. The Visions in the Dream (4.10-17)
In his dream, the King saw two visions: a tree and a messenger from heaven. The tree was standing in the middle of the land, height was enormous, grew large and strong and its top touched the sky. It was visible to the ends of the earth. Leaves were beautiful; fruit was abundant and was food for all. Under it, the beast and birds found shelter under it.
The second vision was of a messenger who was sent and commanded to cut down the tree but leave the stump on the ground bounded with the iron and bronze. The stump will be watered with the dew of heaven, live with the animals among the plants of the earth; his mind would be changed from that of man to that of an animal for seven years.
The purpose of the verdict against the tree was that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men. (v. 17)
C. The Interpretation of the Dream (4.18-27)
Verses 18-19 showed that Daniel was perplexed about the dream and probably did not how to tell the king his interpretation of the dream. Finally, he told the king that the tree is him. The king because great and strong and his greatness reaches the sky and extends to distant parts of the earth.
The messengers were sent by God the Most High to deliver the decree that the King would be driven away from people and live with wild animals, eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. The decree would be implemented for 7 years until he acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of men and gives them to anyone he wishes. However, there was a promise that the king would be restored when he acknowledges that heaven rules.
Read Daniel 4:28-37.
D. The Fulfillment of the Dream (4.28-33)
E. The Conclusion of the Testimony (4.34-37)
Our passage is about a testimony of a king humbled by God. Listening to his testimony, we learn that all men should always be humble before God.
Why should we always be humble before God?
A. ONE’S SUCCESS COULD CAUSE US TO FORGET GOD (4.29-30)
God is not against prosperity. The King knew that since his prayer for his subjects was for their prosperity. (See 4.1) However the challenge of prosperity is how to maintain the right attitude and character before God and fellowman. (See 1 Timothy 6:9)
One of the temptations, traps, and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction is pride. Listen to what King Nebuchadnezzar said. (See 4.29-30) Listen to what he said about his success – “I, my, power, majesty.”
Success may lead to pride when our vocabulary was changed from “You --- I,” “Yours --- Mine,” and “Him --- Me.” (See 1 John 2:15-16) The problem comes when we take the primary credit of our success instead of God. Listen why he was given this verdict. (See 4.25)
Eventually our pride against God will also be reflected in our relationship with others or fellow human being. (See 4.27). The king acted unrighteously and wickedly against his subject by oppressing them.
Probably God has caused you to succeed as a parent by raising a number of successful children, give God the primary credit.
You succeeded by earning honors and awards as a student, give God the primary credit.
Or you succeeded in your investment, business ventures, or profession; don’t forget to give God the credit.
You got that job placements among the many applicants, give God the credit.
You accomplished many things in the ministry; give God the credit for it really belongs to Him.
See Deuteronomy 8:10-18
BE HUMBLE BEFORE GOD.
B. ONE’S PRIDE COULD RESULT TO SEVERE HUMILIATION. (4.31-33)
When the Lord judged King Nebuchadnezzar, he was still talking – “words were still on his lips” – when he was humbled so he could not deny what he said. God was listening to what we are saying. What was the judgment?
Royal authority has been taken from him
Driven away from his people
Live with the animals and eat grass like cattle
His body was drenched with the dew of heaven
His hair grew like the feathers of an eagle
His nails grew like the claws of a bird
For seven years – it took him seven years before he finally gave up his pride, raised his eyes toward heaven, and was restored.
The longer we nurture that pride, the more difficult to correct it. It is an addiction that’s difficult to give up and be rehabilitated.
See Isaiah 2:11-12. Note that Isaiah said that God has a day in store for all the proud and lofty.
Could it be that the cause of our personal pain and suffering was our pride and arrogance?
Could we say that our country suffered this crisis because of our pride and independence from God?
For Christians, when our success hinders our obedience to God and good manners to others, God would humble us.
The most difficult humiliation is when God initiated it. We cannot make excuses and justifications for God know our heart and intention.
See 1 Peter 5:5. Sometimes young men and women suffered humiliation because of their arrogance against their parents and authority.
Marital relationships were affected and suffered because of the pride of spouse to admit their fault and seek forgiveness.
See Jeremiah 9:23-24. If we want to boast, boast in the Lord.
For King Nebuchadnezzar he learned to acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and that the Most High gives the kingdom to anyone he wishes. He was simply a recipient of God’s kindness.
BE HUMBLE BEFORE GOD.
C. ONE’S HUMILITY RESULTS TO BEING RATIONAL ABOUT GOD. (4.34-37)
We live in a society where we think that having a sense of personal pride and superiority produces security and joy. This is untrue. Real joy and security are experience when our pride and superiority are expressed as dependent on the power and wisdom of God.
Why? Pride results to humiliation while humility results to understanding and seeing the true nature of God. (See 4.34-37). What happens when we humble ourselves before God?
His sanity was restored – he became rational in his estimate of self and God. He remembered that God’s dominion and power are eternal while the people of the earth are regarded as nothing.
He realized that God has the entire prerogative to do what he wants with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand and say to him: what have you done?
His honor and splendor were restored. He praised, exalted, and glorified the King of heaven.
He acknowledged that what God did to him is right and just. For that he honored and praised God.
Pride and arrogance are deceptive. They give us wrong understanding of self and God. Be careful then.
Humility allows us to see the realities of life and God. We see his power, goodness, and justice.
Humility is always recognized and rewarded by God. See 1 Peter 5:6. God will lift you up in due time. When God exalted us no can take it away from us.
BE HUMBLE BEFORE GOD.
1. Am I humble before God?
2. Do I give God the credit for my successes?