Summary: Nebuchadnezzar has a powerful encounter with God and responds with praise! One of the reasons our testimony meetings in churches are so blah is because our people are not encountering God as they should be!
GOD IS IN CHARGE AND HOLDS AUTHORITY OVER ALL!
When we speak of the sovereignty of God we should be humbled—remembering that He is in charge and we are not.
Speaking of the sovereignty of God can bring great confusion, for if God is really in charge of all things, as we all will agree He is—then WHY is there evil in the world. The conflict between God’s purposeful decision to allow man to have freewill and what we think is his responsibility to curtail evil is a doctrinal puzzle.
I am sort of jealous because this pagan King, Nebuchadnezzar, was permitted to write a chapter of the Bible and none of the things I have written will ever become part of the Bible.
In Chapter Four, Nebuchadnezzar makes a proclamation to all of the people under His authority—the kingdoms he had conquered—and the proclamation declares the glory and power and Sovereignty of God. What a shock. He says in verse 2 “I thought it good” (King James) and the NIV says “It pleases me.” This is really interesting. This pagan king says it pleases Him to announce the glory of God and declare the signs and wonders that had been revealed. In other words, this was Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony meeting, sort of.
He tells how he was at rest in his house, peaceful, comfortable—but then he had another troubling dream. (He has a dream in Chapter 2)—Nebuchadnezzar called his wise men, etc. but Daniel is the one who comes and interprets the dream. However, Daniel is not excited about sharing the meaning of the dream, for the dream is about judgment that is going to fall on Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel tells how the dream demonstrates his greatness as a king, but also how he will lose his sanity, be driven away from men, and crawl on all fours eating grass.
That’s a terrible judgment. However we should also look at verse 27—Daniel offers his counsel—and it is simply repent and start living righteously. The next verse tells us that is was a whole year before that judgment fell upon Him. God gave him a chance to repent. I believe God always gives us that chance to repent and forsake our sin before the judgment falls.
When Joshua and God’s people were defeated at Ai, Joshua fell on his face before God and cried out “what’s wrong? You told me to be strong and courageous—four times in chapter one!!!!!” God replied that there was sin in the camp. Joshua called the people together and asked them to consecrate themselves before the Lord because judgment was coming. I truly believe that time of consecration was the opportunity for Achan to repent. If he had come and declared how he had taken loot from Jericho (everything there was to be destroyed as an offering to the Lord, there was to be no looting) then I believe a sacrifice could have been offered and he could have been forgiven. He didn’t and when the lot fell on him, he confessed, but it was too late.. judgment had to fall.
There is a point at which we can repent. The Bible says that TODAY is the DAY of SALVATION—indicating that this is a time for sinners to repent, turn to Christ, and find salvation before the DAY OF JUDGMENT comes.
Nebuchadnezzar had a full year to repent. Daniel had advised him to repent. The proud king refused to repent and we find that a year later, as he walked in the palace he bragged aloud about his great accomplishments. He bragged about how much glory He had received. Immediately, he says, while he was still speaking a voice from Heaven declared the very judgment that Daniel had prophesied a year earlier and it came true.
Can you imagine your king wandering around in the pastures, eating grass like a cow? Getting soaked day and night by the dew and the rain? His hair grew long and unmanageable, clumped together with the grime and the sweat, so that it was like feathers. His nails grew like talons. We don’t know whether this all took place in seven weeks, seven months, or seven years. The Hebrew word can mean any of those as it would literally be translated “seasons”—but it was a lengthy amount of time because of how his hair and nails grew.
Finally, Nebuchadnezzar looked up and acknowledged God and immediately his sanity was restored. The chapter ends with a declaration of glory to God and speaks of how God is able to bring down the proud.
So how does this apply to us?
Nebuchadnezzar had something to say because he experienced an encounter with God. Something Christians should be doing everyday. We come to church and when it comes to testimony time we hear how we should pray for some sick person, or how God protected someone in a traffic accident, and often not very much that is really very spiritual. Isn't God speaking to you, leading you, etc.