1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Daniel, The King is Saved, Daniel 4:33-37 - Lesson 20

 

Chapter Four of the book of Daniel is a unique chapter in that it is a personal testimony of the workings of God in the life of a great king.

The important lesson of this chapter is not about the king but about God, for it is Godís personal intervention in the life of King Nebuchadnezzar.

This intervention, this drawing of the king, begins on a road of self exaltation, followed by travel on a road of humiliation and then finally onto a road of worship and praise.

I believe these to be the typical roads that sinners travel who are drawn to salvation by the God of Heaven.

This chapter is a public testimony of Godís working and is recorded by the king even though there are parts that do not increase his stature.

Try to find this in modern biographies where others are put down in order to lift the writer up!

But this letterís purpose is to bring glory and honor and praise to the God of Heaven, the God who has become Nebuchadnezzarís God.

In our previous lesson the king had become a beast of the field.

He was destined to be that beast for seven times, that is seven years.

This seven year period was the period in which he would be occupied in humiliation for it followed a self exaltation that the king used to lift himself up, not only above all in his kingdom, but even thinking himself above the Most High God.

He thought of himself better than any man and therefore God separated him from all men and declared him to be a beast unsuited to live among men.

It is ironic isnít it to see how God dealt with a man who thought himself apart from all men, by God placing him apart from all men giving him a place with the beasts.

He was to play the part of beast until he knew that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of man and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

He was declared insane to think otherwise and only sane when he came to a conclusion that he as king of the greatest kingdom was fitted to be a servant of the Most High God.

The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eaglesí feathers, and his nails like birdsí claws.

There is an old saying, The bigger they are the harder they fall.

The most puffed up we are the bigger the pop!

This king was the biggest among men and now the lowliest among the beasts.

But remember the stump of the tree that was hewed down, for there is hope, for God is drawing Nebuchadnezzar to himself by placing him among the beasts.

For this man it took the drastic action of a hard fall.

Daniel 4:34-37,   And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:  And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?  At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.  Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

Nebuchadnezzar looked in the right direction, the direction of heaven from where help comes, and his understanding returned unto him.

The psalmist of Psalm 121:1,2, reminds us of this, I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

By lifting up his eyes to heaven he bows his knees to the one who is truly sovereign.

He is prostrate, he is stretched out, before the one who governs over the affairs of men and of nations.

He is no longer like the beasts of the field for he now has a consciousness of God.

His mind and heart are turned from himself to the God of Daniel.

He is no longer insane for he now worships the Most High God with all his heart and his mind.

He recognizes the supremacy of God and his eternality in that Godís kingdom endures from generation to generation.

The statue of his first dream of the kingdoms of nations which he refused to accept he now finds to be right and true, and the destroying stone made without hands is welcome for it ushers in the kingdom that will stand forever.

In lifting up his eyes to heaven the king sees the glory of God and he also sees how wrong he was to glory in his own kingdom and his own self.

For he sees that all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing.

He sees that the Most High God does according to his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand or even ask him, What doest thou?

His gaze into heaven shows him how miserable and wretched he is in comparison with the glorious kingdom of the eternal, all-wise and all-powerful God.

He is no longer blind but can now see.

This was indeed Nebuchadnezzarís repentance and this repentance brought about his salvation and his restoration.

For he left the field of beasts, the place of insanity and returned with sanity to the kingdom of men.

With the return of his sanity came the return of his kingdom and the welcome of his counselors and nobles.

And after his return he seemed to have greater power than he had before his downfall and it is clear that God exalted him after his seven year humility.

And he completes his letter of testimony with a clear recognition of Godís sovereignty and worthiness of worship and praise and magnification.

Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

This testimony of Nebuchadnezzar can be repeated with similar experiences, perhaps not so drastic, by all who come to God.

Pride is the natural state of men and women without God.

This was exhibited in the extreme in the king due to his position and power.

But pride is what sustains the sinner and must be broken in order for a person to be saved.

This is why God brought the king low for he was filled with pride.

When you boil down pride you will find that the proud are not in touch with reality, for the proud live in a world of their own making.

It is a world where sin is not recognized and faults are painted up to be assets with the brush of hypocrisy.

Those who are insane are considered so, for they too do not see the real world but a world of their own making.

In a sense pride is an exhibition of insanity for pride refuses to see oneself as God describes him or her.

Only Godís word describes the reality of man and without Godís word man does not know what he is, so pride steps in and provides a description that is pleasing and comforting.

Why not let me paint a nice picture of yourself, self says to self?

So many people object to having their picture taken.

Many people really do not want a picture of themselves, but only want a picture of someone who is pretty or handsome or attractive and so they repaint themselves to meet some imagination.

In a way this is insanity for one refuses to accept things the way they really are and invents another reality in their life.

So God verifies this truth in the life of the king.

He says to the king, "Your pride indicates insanity, lets go all the way where the path of pride leads so you now will exhibit the life of a beast and live with the beasts."

It is another example of sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind.

God takes the king to where pride fully leads, and in that place there is room and a heart for repentance from that pride for at that place there is nothing to be proud of for all that, was taken away.

That is what humiliation does.

It removes the paint of hypocrisy and provides a window into reality and that window reveals a sinner, undone, and without any value with which to claim privilege before God.

That window also provided to the king, as he lifted up his eyes unto heaven, an understanding of that reality and that included being accountable as simply a creature of the Most High God.

Because of that understanding he was able to bless and praise and honor and recognize the sovereignty and eternality of the God of Heaven.

He was able to worship for he now had spiritual eyes to see the object of his worship.

This is what sanity brings.

Worship is what separates men from the animals.

We see in this passage a connection of sanity with worship.

He came out of his insanity and was led into worship.

Worship results when men see God for who he is and they see themselves as God reveals themselves according to His word.

In other words the walls of hypocrisy and pride are fallen and reality is revealed.

When you see the realities of God, worship of God is normal and that is what is designed to sustain man.

God is the reality from which all realities originate.

A denial of God is to deny all realities and therefore man without God lives in a dream world of his own making.

Why do we see today such insanity in our country and the world.

The decapitation and cannibalization of the man on the bus.

The preacherís wife in the freezer in nearby Mobile.

The university system that refuses those who use a particular Christian curriculum.

The downfall of traditional, Biblical marriage.

We scratch our heads with each daily news broadcast.

What insanity will occupy our minds today?

We wonder if it can get any more insane than what is going on in the world today.

But I believe that according to the scriptures we have not seen anything yet compared to what will come on the scene as we await the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And this all has to do with lack of worship for man is insane without God and cannot worship unless God does a work in him as he did in Nebuchadnezzar.

And a work indeed was done in him for he was restored to his sanity and his position after being humbled for seven years.

The king was not that same man that exalted himself seven years earlier for now his lips were filled with praise and thankfulness to the God of Heaven.

He now recognized a sovereign Lord to whom he was accountable.

In his prior state, his sinful state, he was totally sufficient in himself and could not recognize one greater than himself.

Grace is only extended to the poor and needy and the king found himself in that state for God had placed him in that state.

But his new improved vision allowed him to see himself as the sinner he was, but it also allowed him to see God as the only absolute sovereign.