The power was down at Church on Sunday due to Eskom’s “load shedding”. In chatting to a friend I told a true story about a Baptist clergyman from England. His name was Fred Skeet … tiny in statue. I am uncertain whether the PA system failed or the power was down. This was in the early 1980’s. He said we need not worry because he had a loud voice. True to his word, the packed 500 seater heard every word he preached. When you read verse 14, the NIV does not do justice in … He called in a loud voice. The old KJV reads … “He cried with strength”. This is staggering! One gets the picture that everyone, humans, birds and animals that feed from this huge tree … everyone under king Nebuchadnezzar’s reign … all the known, inhabited world hears the messenger’s voice! It is terrifying
Da 4:14 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. 15 But let the stump and its roots, bound with iron and bronze, remain in the ground, in the grass of the field. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the animals among the plants of the earth. 16 Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of an animal, till seven times pass by for him.’
1) Whom is the messenger addressing? In English it seems as though a subordinate angel is being addressed … yet the original seems to lean towards “the trees shall be cut down” … not telling us who would do it. The tree is Nebuchadnezzar.
2) The directive is that the tree’s branches be removed, all leaves removed and all fruit scattered. Everything creating and providing protection, nourishment, care, security and provisions from the Kingdom came from the hand of the king. He is the tree! Suddenly their sovereign is about to fall. It is true that when there is no leader the sheep scatter. Where care, provision, protection and safety are no more, people feel the loss of security.
3) The king’s fall will not be final and complete. The stump remains in the ground … still drawing life support from its roots. The stump is not the royal dynasty … not the kingdom … but the king. The king will be cut down and be a normal man … and again grow into a king.
4) Many commentators speculate about the rest of verse 15. Bound with iron and bronze, remain in the ground, in the grass of the field. We have the interpretation and the rest of the Book of Daniel so we are aware that the king will be struck with a season of “madness”. Some feel the “bound with iron and bronze” refers to him being shackled like mad people were. Others feel this was a “clamp” to hold the stomp together, preventing splitting. However it seems as though it refers to the king been totally removed from office during his period of derangement.
Da 4:15 “‘Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the animals among the plants of the earth. 16 Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of an animal, till seven times pass by for him.'”
These two verses show that the mighty king of all the earth will be taken out of service, decreed so by God, living like and behaving like a brute animal without reason. What a unique strategy from God. Remove Nebuchadnezzar from people and when he is alone, God will have the opportunity to change his heart without the king having constant interference from kingdom business. (As an aside, we can be quick to complain about a president or leaders of any sort without realizing they have full days of work that most of us will never understand or have to endure. I have found over the years that a good rest in the shape of a holiday, away from pressure is a great environment for God to deal with me because there is little outside interference.) The verse is teaching that this king will be deprived of his reign for a period of time, unknown at that moment.
5) The purpose of the dream, yet to be interpreted is to show the world … all the kingdoms of the earth, that Daniel’s God is the true Sovereign.
Da 4:17 “‘The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men.’
(1) The term “the living may know” does not refer to the spiritually alive, people born again as opposed to those who are spiritually dead. The living here means those humans living under the reign of the king.
(2) God (the Most High) is the true sovereign. If only political leaders and people in authority will stop and think about the fact that there is a God and they will account to Him.
(3) The true leader of the nations is God. He appoints earthly leaders as vice-regents, but He is sovereignly King. We ought not to forget the teaching of this verse. God appoints the authorities over nations. This verse says God gives nations to leaders. It is his privilege to do so. They will stand and account for their leadership and at times He gives the people the leaders they want … bad, crooked leaders … but God is the true King and all leaders will give an account of their reign to Him.
6) The dream has ended with the interpretation now required from Daniel (Belteshazzar).
Da 4:18 “This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now, Belteshazzar, tell me what it means, for none of the wise men in my kingdom can interpret it for me. But you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”
Before we get there, allow me to address three issues.
(a) Gospel derangement. There are so many preachers today who seek to build their “Church Kingdoms”. They are so bent on being a leader that they become like Nebuchadnezzar will become … like an animal. Watch them … they get caught out … like Shepherd Bushiri has … and so will they.
(b) Gospel cloning. Cloning is not the real thing. It is like … but it is not. Often the gospel is presented so professionally and persuasively that people don’t listen to hear whether what they hear is the real gospel or a cloned gospel. Like Nebuchadnezzar, they will fall … but no stump will be left … only collateral damage because those affected were led blindly into the mayhem.
(c) Gospel Sovereignty over all mankind. God is the King and the Gospel is His. Many receive it and many reject it. There are the saved and unsaved … but the Gospel is Sovereign for it sends to heaven and to hell. Your sovereignty Lord God Almighty is all I need to live under in Jesus.
Help me to be a person who prays for Your Kingdom, Your appointed leaders and the Government. Amen.