After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the One who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and His kingdom is eternal. All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as He pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop Him or say to Him, 'What do You mean by doing these things?' Daniel 4:34-35
What is the first thing a parent says to a child after they have been punished for doing something wrong? "What do you say?" Many parents ask this to their child when they have been caught red-handed and disciplined for their disobedience. They are hoping that their child will apologize and repent. This is true of everyone, whether they believe in God or not. We were all created with an innate sense of justice. There is something in us that believes when an offense has occurred, an apology and remorse are expected.
In Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar is being punished for his wickedness and pride. He is experiencing the ultimate humility. He literally lost his mind, living as an animal in disgrace. I cannot think of anything more humiliating than what Nebuchadnezzar is experiencing.
What we learn from the story of Nebuchadnezzar is that the Most Hight God always wins. He tried to say that the God of Israel was nothing, but in the end, the one true God made His name known. You can act like Nebuchadnezzar, but let me tell you from experience, God always wins.
Despite his disgrace and humiliation, there is still hope for Nebuchadnezzar. While Nebuchadnezzar is living like a wild animal, he looks up to heaven, and his sanity returns. He turns to God and praises Him. This praise is a picture of Nebuchadnezzar's repentance. He is turning from his prideful ways, acknowledging God, El Elyon, God Most High. In the same way, when we have pride in our lives, we, too, are called to turn to God Most High. It is never too late to repent, turn to Him, and live in humility.
Our challenge today after studying these verses in Daniel 4 is very clear: repent and turn from any pride in your life. Spend time acknowledging areas of pride in your life in you have not already. Are you living for your next financial gain, are you consumed by your looks, counting every calorie meticulously and spending hours in the gym each day, or are you putting every ounce of pride into your children? Whatever area of pride that has been revealed, spend time in prayer, repenting to God and turning to Him.
Read Daniel 4:28-37 (NLT)
“But all these things did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later he was taking a walk on the flat roof of the royal palace in Babylon. As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’
“While these words were still in his mouth, a voice called down from heaven, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom. You will be driven from human society. You will live in the fields with the wild animals, and you will eat grass like a cow. 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.’
“That same hour the judgment was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws.
“After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever.
His rule is everlasting,
and his kingdom is eternal.
All the people of the earth
are nothing compared to him.
He does as he pleases
among the angels of heaven
and among the people of the earth.
No one can stop him or say to him,
‘What do you mean by doing these things?’
“When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before.
“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.”