I am now reading through the book of Daniel. I have been taking my time through the book, partly because life got ridiculously busy, but also because I was given a New King James study Bible, and I have been painstakingly comparing the new Bible with my trusty old New American Standard study Bible. Our pastor recently finished teaching through the book of Daniel as well, and I have new notes scribbled in the margins of my Bible, and new insights written upon my heart.
Most everyone has heard the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego being thrown into the fiery furnace because of their refusal to bow to the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had built. They chose instead to honor the One True God, out of obedience and respect for Him, not out of disobedience and disrespect for the king. Yet in his rage, because he felt disrespected, the king ordered their execution. And God miraculously delivered them.
In fact, King Nebuchadnezzar was known, and feared, for his pride and for his temper. In Daniel 1:10, the man placed in charge of the health and well-being of the captives, including Daniel and his friends, expressed concern when Daniel requested they be fed differently (again, out of obedience and respect for God, not out of disobedience and disrespect for the king) ~ ” ‘I fear my lord the king…Then you would endanger my head before the king.’ ” God once again miraculously delivered.
When none of the “magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans” (Daniel 2:2) could tell the king his dream, “the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.” ~ Daniel 2:12. King Nebuchadnezzar demanded not only the interpretation of his dream, but also that they tell him what the dream itself was about in the first place! We know that God miraculously gave Daniel both the dream and its interpretation, once again intervening and delivering from the king’s wrath.
Nebuchadnezzar was in charge of Babylon, the most powerful nation on earth at that time. So each time I come to Daniel 4, I am always astounded, completely blown away! Here Daniel recorded for us the testimony of King Nebuchadnezzar, as told by the king himself. It is simply amazing what this proud and cocky king confessed before the entire world!
“Nebuchadnezzar the king, ‘To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me. How great are His signs, and how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.’ ” ~ Daniel 4:1-3
Wow! What changed this king? He continues in chapter 4 to tell of another dream he had, and the interpretation of this dream, given to him by a troubled Daniel, who declared ” ‘My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies!’ ” ~ Daniel 4:19b
Read Daniel 4 for yourself ~ it is the tale of the horrifying consequences of the king’s arrogance and pride before God, and of his complete restoration after acknowledging the Most High.
” ‘And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?”…Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.’ ” ~ Daniel 4:34-35, 37