Summary: Always be humble before God.
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.
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