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Daniel 4:19-37 19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was dismayed for a while, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered and said, “Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies! 20 The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, 21 whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived— 22 it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth. 23 And because the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field, and let him be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven periods of time pass over him,’ 24 this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, 25 that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. 26 And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules. 27 Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.” 28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” 31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, 32 and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” 33 Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws. 34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason 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 endures from generation to generation; 35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” 36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

Message Notes

Daniel chapter 4 is a letter from Nebuchadnezzar recounting a dream, interpretation, and the fulfillment of the dream. The king opens the letter praising God, which is a dramatic shift from the first three chapters of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar has made previous decrees about the one true God but had never personally made a conversion decision.

4 King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! 2 It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me. 3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.

Nebuchadnezzar recounts a dream that troubled him. This time, he remembers the dream in its entirety. A giant tree that spread over the whole earth provided food and shade for all. The tree is purposely cut down, leaving only the roots. The dream changes from a tree image to that of a man and begins to describe a mind changed into that of a cow. The man would eat grass and be exposed to the elements for a determined period of time.

Daniel interprets the dream hesitantly and counsels the king to turn to righteousness, that he may extend his time pf prosperity. At the end of twelve months, Nebuchadnezzar is reduced to believing he is a cow and humiliated before his people for seven years. At the end of the seven years Nebuchadnezzar lifts his eyes toward Heaven and praises God, and his mind is restored. He is then returned to his throne with the realization and confession that the Most High God is in control of all kingdoms and rulers.

1. No one is getting away with anything.

29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” 31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, 32 and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” 33 Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar.

God is the only One who is just in all His decisions. He will exercise perfect judgement without bias. God is perfectly gracious to everyone, not giving us what we deserve, but not overlooking it, either.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

God is proving himself over and over, giving us the opportunity to see His love for us.

2. Pride is the ultimate evidence of humanity’s separation from God.

“Look what I did.” Pride always has consequences.

Never let another’s pride be the root of your self-righteousness. Daniel implored the king to do right. He didn’t compare himself to him. Question: Is my response grace or judgement?

God had consistently, through Daniel, shown Nebuchadnezzar that He was the one who had promoted him and kept him in place.

3. Never celebrate judgment.

A deteriorating culture should move us to prayer, not have us celebrating judgement. Daniel was not happy the king was suffering.

Luke 15 - Lost sheep, lost coin, lost son - whatever it takes to recover one soul.

Mourn judgement, celebrate recovery.

4. Peace with God = peace of mind

34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason 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 endures from generation to generation; 35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” 36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

Making peace with God is the first step to mental health. You cannot be at odds with God and simply work through it. It might not be your only step, but it is the prerequisite for everything else.

Romans 5:1 5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Peace with God is the beginning of freedom.

2. Peace with God is the beginning of hope.

3. Peace with God is the end of fear.

Say it out loud, write it down and remind yourself daily.