Summary: There is a great lesson to learn and live in this 4th chapter of Daniel. It is repeated at least 3 times. Heaven Rules! God is able to humble the proud. God gives warnings to offer grace but we must humble ourselves under His Rule.
Intro: Welcome back to Daniel. We are looking forward to the end. I pray that you are excited to someday see Jesus return in the clouds for His church. Some things to remember as we continue our study of Daniel. Daniel answers many questions for us about the past and the future. However, those questions are not designed to satisfy our curiosity. The questions Daniel answers are designed to fortify our faith. Remember also that there are two major themes that run through Daniels writing. First God is in control! The theological term for this is God is sovereign. Second because God is in control we can trust Him and live pure lives for His glory. We also learned that God offers grace for us to face any situation.
Now we come to the testimony of a Pagan King. I thought of a Peanuts cartoon Lucy says to Charlie Brown, "I would have made a great evangelist." Charlie Brown answers, "Is that so?" She says, "Yes, I convinced that boy in front of me in school that my religion is better than his religion." Charlie Brown asked, "Well, how did you do that?" And Lucy answers, "I hit him over the head with my lunch box."
As we prepare to hear Nebuchadnezzar’s story we realize that was not Daniel’s method. He didn’t hit Nebuchadnezzar over the head he simply shared the hard truth about sin and repentance. Daniels concern for Nebuchadnezzar is clearly seen in this passage. He must have prayed many nights for God to awaken Nebuchadnezzar to who God is.
I. The importance of the testimony
A) It’s for everybody to hear
Daniel 4:17, 26, 32, 34-35 “This is so the living will know that the Most High is rule over the kingdom of men.” It is important for everyone to hear heaven rules!” It is clear that this is the lesson of this text. God is in charge. Heaven rules!! This is for everyone to hear.
B) Its about what God has done
God had done the greatest miracle that ever happens to any man he saved Nebuchadnezzar. This is one of the ways we know that Neb has become a believer in the living God. He is no longer talking about what Nebuchadnezzar has done. He is now talking about what God has done. This must have shocked the people he was talking to. They were used to Neb talking about all that he had done, now all the sudden he is talking about what God has done.
Has that happened in your life? Have you had a crossroads encounter with God that showed you He is totally in charge?
II. The reminiscence of the testimony
Neb starts off praising God publically for what God has done and then shares with all the people what had led to this point in his life.
A) The dream
Does it strike you in a strange way that Nebuchadnezzar was having frightening dreams in the comfort of his place? If you notice verse 4 tells us that Neb was at ease in his palace and flourishing. He was successful he had everything he needed. He lived in prosperity in Babylon proud of his accomplishments. The city he lived in was 14 miles square, the walls were 56 miles long, 300 feet high, 25 feet thick, wide enough for 4 chariots to race across the top. The Euphrates River ran through the middle of the city. He lived in apparent security and prosperity so why the dream? It was a warning from God!
1) The warning
In the dream that God gave Neb we see God’s grace. Neb is getting a preview of the coming attraction of his life. What does he do with this dream? Of course he reverts to what most of us do, he turns to worldly wisdom. Again his fortune tellers, palm readers and soothsayers couldn’t tell him what it meant. So he calls Daniel. He called Daniel to interpret the dream because he saw something different something divine in him. Read 4:8, 18.
a) Daniels interpretation (4:24)
This is the sentence that the most high has passed against you king.
b) Daniels advice (4:27)
Separate yourself from your sin and injustice. Repent by showing mercy to the needy.
The previous visions that God had shown God were designed to warn him to abandon his pride.
Proverbs 16:5 “The Lord detests all the proud of heart.”
Proverbs 8:13 “I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech.”
Proverbs 16:18 “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.”
God hates pride so much because it causes so much damage to us and others.
Ray Steadman “Pride is a form of spiritual insanity. It is claiming credit for ourselves that belongs to God alone.”