King Nebuchadnezzar sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: "Peace and prosperity to you! "I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me. Daniel 4:1-2
Years ago, I was teaching my very first Bible study. I felt that the study had gone very well, and was quite pleased with myself. Later I realized, much to my disdain, that my sweater was inside out all day, including when I was teaching my Bible study. Any ounce of pride I felt instantly vanished at that realization. God has a way of humbling us when we need it most, doesn't He?
Daniel 4 reminds us that God does not tolerate pride in our lives. We have been studying the book of Daniel all week, learning about Nebuchadnezzar's pride issue and the humility and boldness of a few select Israelites who stood for God and His message even when it was difficult. In Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar had a second dream (the first was in Daniel 2). Again, Daniel was the only person who could interpret the dream. This dream was another warning to Nebuchadnezzar. He was told that if he did not turn from his pride and wicked ways, he was literally going to lose his mind. If he did not honor God as El Elyon, God Most High, he would lose his kingdom, his home, and everything important to him and live like a cow. After interpreting this dream for Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel pleaded with him to repent.
Perhaps you, like Nebuchadnezzar, are also in need of repentance. Has pride gotten the best of you? Have you been living as if the world revolves around you, focused only on yourself? I plead with you in the same way that Daniel pleaded with Nebuchadnezzar: turn away from your pride. God does not tolerate any ounce of it in our lives.
Consider your life. Are you living pridefully? Are you considering yourself without thinking of others? Are you seeking to live in a way that honors yourself instead of honoring God? In your notes, write down any areas in your life where pride has intruded. This is a first step of turning away from pride. Tell a trusted friend what you wrote and ask them to hold you accountable to live differently.
King Nebuchadnezzar sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world:
“Peace and prosperity to you!
“I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me.
How great are his signs,
how powerful his wonders!
His kingdom will last forever,
his rule through all generations.
“I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in my palace in comfort and prosperity. But one night I had a dream that frightened me; I saw visions that terrified me as I lay in my bed. So I issued an order calling in all the wise men of Babylon, so they could tell me what my dream meant. When all the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and fortune-tellers came in, I told them the dream, but they could not tell me what it meant. At last Daniel came in before me, and I told him the dream. (He was named Belteshazzar after my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)
“I said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too great for you to solve. Now tell me what my dream means.
“‘While I was lying in my bed, this is what I dreamed. I saw a large tree in the middle of the earth. The tree grew very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. It had fresh green leaves, and it was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. All the world was fed from this tree.
“‘Then as I lay there dreaming, I saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven. The messenger shouted,
“Cut down the tree and lop off its branches!
Shake off its leaves and scatter its fruit!
Chase the wild animals from its shade
and the birds from its branches.
But leave the stump and the roots in the ground,
bound with a band of iron and bronze
and surrounded by tender grass.
Now let him be drenched with the dew of heaven,
and let him live with the wild animals among the plants of the field.
For seven periods of time,
let him have the mind of a wild animal
instead of the mind of a human.
For this has been decreed by the messengers;
it is commanded by the holy ones,
so that everyone may know
that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world.
He gives them to anyone he chooses—
even to the lowliest of people.”
“‘Belteshazzar, that was the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now tell me what it means, for none of the wise men of my kingdom can do so. But you can tell me because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.’
“Upon hearing this, Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) was overcome for a time, frightened by the meaning of the dream. Then the king said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, don’t be alarmed by the dream and what it means.’
“Belteshazzar replied, ‘I wish the events foreshadowed in this dream would happen to your enemies, my lord, and not to you! The tree you saw was growing very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. It had fresh green leaves and was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. That tree, Your Majesty, is you. For you have grown strong and great; your greatness reaches up to heaven, and your rule to the ends of the earth.
“‘Then you saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, “Cut down the tree and destroy it. But leave the stump and the roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven. Let him live with the animals of the field for seven periods of time.”
“‘This is what the dream means, Your Majesty, and what the Most High has declared will happen to my lord the king. You will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals. You will eat grass like a cow, and you will be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses. But the stump and roots of the tree were left in the ground. This means that you will receive your kingdom back again when you have learned that heaven rules.
“‘King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.’