Summary: Wild people who God used for wild assignments.
Wild Thang: Nebuchadnezzar
Daniel 4 begins with a simple question: How far will God go to get his message across to us?
The answer is not hard to find. He will do whatever it takes to make sure we get his message.
But what if we don’t want to hear what God has to say? The answer is the same but raised to a higher power.
If we choose not to listen to God, then he simply turns up the volume until he has our undivided attention.
If you doubt my words, consider the story of the king who went crazy.
Though this story tells of strange events that happened 25 centuries ago, the moral is both timeless and as relevant as today’s headlines.
Even though the world has changed greatly since Daniel’s day, the human heart hasn’t changed at all.
The world is still filled with men and women who think they don’t need God, and God still knows how to humble the proud.
Failure can be a gift from God, especially if it breaks our sinful self-confidence and brings us to the place where we acknowledge that God is God and we are not.
That’s the lesson King Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way.
From this story we learn how God humbled a pagan king. There is important truth here for all of us to ponder.
Reading the King’s Diary...
Before we move to the text, note two facts about Daniel 4. First, unlike other chapters in Daniel, this one was written by the king himself.
In fact, the first few verses and the last few are written in the first person singular. Reading this chapter is almost like reading the king’s personal diary.
Second, Daniel 4 describes in great detail the king’s most humiliating experience. It would be as if your personal journal were posted on the Internet so that your innermost thoughts and the hidden secrets of your life were revealed for everyone to read.
Those two facts tell us that this chapter contains an extraordinary story. What happened to Nebuchadnezzar happens to all of us sooner or later.
And for many of us, it may happen more than once.
Therefore, we should pay careful attention to this ancient story because through it God will speak some very contemporary truth to all of us.
A Dream Described
The story begins at a time when King Nebuchadnezzar is on the crest of a wave. He is contented and prosperous, and well he should be.
At the height of his glory, Nebuchadnezzar was king over the greatest empire the world had ever known.
SHOW POWERPOINT SLIDE SLIDE OF BABYLON
If there had been a Fortune 500 list in those days, he would have been first on the list. He spoke and it was done.
He commanded and mighty armies obeyed his word. And Babylon! What a fabulous city it was.
SHOW POWERPOINT SLIDE SLIDE OF HANGING GARDENS
The famous Hanging Gardens were one of the wonders of the ancient world. The city itself was protected by 15 miles of double walls—85 feet tall and some 27 feet thick.
SHOW POWERPOINT SLIDE SLIDE OF CHARIOT RACES
The walls were so wide that chariots could race around the circumference of the city. Visitors entered the city through the massive Ishtar Gate and traveled down the main boulevard toward the king’s palace.
Truly the king had every reason to feel secure, safe, and satisfied. Who in all the earth could dare to challenge him?
But one night he had a strange and troubling dream. This wasn’t the first time God spoke to him in a dream.
In Daniel 2 he dreamed of a huge statue made of four different metals. The interpretation of that dream revealed God’s plan of the ages.
SHOW POWERPOINT SLIDE SLIDE OF DANIEL INTERPRETING DREAM OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR
This dream is quite different, and very personal.
These are the visions I saw while lying in my bed: I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous.
SHOW POWERPOINT SLIDE SLIDE OF LARGE FRUIT TREE
The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth. Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all.
Under it the beasts of the field found shelter, and the birds of the air lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed.
In the visions I saw while lying in my bed, I looked, and there before me was a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven.
He called in a loud voice: "Cut down the tree and trim off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals flee from under it and the birds from its branches.