A Proud King and Demotion Day

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), September 3

imagesKing Nebuchadnezzar’s ego is bigger than Steve Jobs’s (Apple), his worldwide fame greater than any US president or world leader, and his confidence more pronounced than Mohammad Ali’s. He becomes so puffed up by his exploits that the doors of the royal residence have to be widened to accommodate his big head, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Dan. 4:30).

Proud men are no particular challenge for the Sovereign LORD. One night, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that disturbs him, great man though he is. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream catapult Daniel into the public light. Only Daniel is able to interpret his dream, but the interpretation isn’t pretty, “They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (4:25). Nebuchadnezzar’s pride will take him on a wild trip—into a mental jungle—where he will remain for seven years.

A year later after his dream, as he walks on the roof of his royal palace and admires his kingdom, a voice speaks from heaven, “Seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (4:32). Immediately, Nebuchadnezzar’s mental capacities collapse, and he is “driven from men and ate grass like oxen” (4:33).

At the conclusion of seven years Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity returns. Humbled, he “blessed the Most High . . . for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation” (4:34b). He submits himself to God’s sovereignty, exclaiming, “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?” (4:35).

This scene offers a number of truths about proud people and God:

  1. God has access even to people who are normally inaccessible because of their important and powerful position. No man is so isolated by power that God can’t demote him!
  2. God interrupts important people with problems too big for them to solve, in order to humble them.
  3. God places influential people in the wings of powerful people to represent Him and elevates them at just the right time.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (1 Chron. 8:29-40; Dan. 4; Ez. 40:1-37):
The people of Canaan served the baals. What do the names of Saul’s descendants reveal about his descendants?
Nebuchadnezzar was one of the most powerful men in the world. What does his dream reveal about God and powerful men?
What does the elevation of Daniel into a position of influence reveal about God and the way He often works?