Those who have lived for 50, 60, 70 or more years will testify that they have woken up to a new day every morning and they have gone to bed at night almost every night. They will tell you that life is like a round wheel. It turns from morning to night, from good days to bad days, from one pay day to the next, from one birthday to the next … eating, sleeping, bathing, dressing … cleaning the house and kitchen, washing clothes, ironing, going to work, coming home, getting tired and being refreshed, enjoying life, not enjoying life, laughing, being angry, sad and loving. Problems come and problems go. Enjoyment comes and enjoyment goes. It’s like those false teachers Peter wrote to in 2 Peter who were saying life goes on as it has done for time immemorial without any significant change … and the punishment and disaster God speaks of at the end of the world is scare tactics. As I come to the next passage in Daniel, I wonder whether king Nebuchadnezzar thought that way.
2Pe 3:3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
My reason for this thought is found in
Dan 4:29 twelve months after the dream was interpreted.
Did he think that what Daniel said about the dream was just scare tactics? I don’t know but it certainly is for many. They think that the consequences of Gospel refusal is just a joke. Life goes on as before. Well, the king saw the truth unpacked as he remained rebellious towards Daniel’s God.
1) There is a problem with pride and arrogance. This combination creates an invincible spirit within a person. This does not mean they are invincible, but that is the person’s belief.
Da 4:28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”
It is not only this king that felt this way. Many have followed with some living today. When David walked the roof he got himself into sexual immorality (adultery), which led to murder. Part of his punishment was that the child died. Here Nebuchadnezzar walks the roof surveying his “city”. With great pride he look at the “great Babylon” he built as his royal residence. It seems from historians that he was a builder and a renovator of buildings. Both the temples, Marduk in Babylon and Nebo in Borsippa were renovated under his leadership. Some say he did the same for another 15 temples. He completed two great walls around the city with a rampart … protective wall or heap of rubble to prevent a military attack. Not only did he rebuild the palace of Nabopolassar, he built another palace in 15 days, which was connected to the “hanging-gardens”. There are two words the king uses in verse 30. “I” once and “my” twice. “I built, my mighty power and the glory of my majesty.” He was full of self! Look at it like this … “I built this royal residence, by my mighty power for the glory of my majesty?” We need to be careful of falling into such a trap, even in the smallest way. Everything we are and have is by grace from God. He gives strength and ideas and means to craft, construct and create. Hitler thought he was invincible, so did the apartheid leaders with the exception of the last one, not forgetting the North Korean leader. This could be true of a pastor who under God’s hand is able to steer a people into a Mega Church or a business man or woman who puts together a “Fortune 500 Company”. Without God as the enabler, no one can achieve greatness, yet many think they are like this king thought he was. History informs us that they all fall, especially those who use their “power and greatness” for the wrong reasons. Nebuchadnezzar would not get down off his high horse even though the dream and its interpretation was a sever warning.
2) What God promises comes to pass … and when least expected.
Da 4:31 The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.”
Nebuchadnezzar’s pride and arrogance resulted in immediate action from God. It’s hard to say how the words heard were captured and by whom. Maybe Daniel was present for he worked at the palace … we don’t know. But as older commentators say, this was a revelation from God.
(1) The king is addressed personally.
(2) The text does not only imply immediacy … it implies finality. In other words, judgment is served with immediate effect. No more dreams and no more visions about God’s displeasure upon the king’s pride and arrogance. Your royal authority has been taken from you.
(3) The revelation decrees the dreams content. The king is removed from his powerful position to live in the field as an animal and to survive as an animal.
(4) The duration of the punishment would last until the king acknowledges the supreme Kingship and Lordship of Almighty God in the first instant and in the second, God had made him king and successful by His will and for His glory.
3) The dream fulfilled.
Da 4:33 Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.
The period of punishment was rather long … for we read … his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird. Nebuchadnezzar was a maniac …now he was mad! We know his was insane because he says
Da 4:34 my sanity was restored.
He could admit he was “mad … insane … out of his mind”. Some commentators drawing from external sources say the king became ill, developed a disease in the mind that caused him to think he was an ox and so ate grass the way oxen eat grass. Whatever … the point remains … he was insane (mad) for a season. Outside of the Lord Jesus Christ, all people are diseased with sin. Sin makes them think they are what they are not. Sin puffs up and causes spiritual madness. Only through Jesus’ blood is there a cure.
Thank You Precious Lord for healing blood of Jesus. Amen.