Monday, October 13, 2014

Daniel Chapter 4-Nebuchadnezzar Humbled by God

Have you ever tried to help someone learn a life lesson or teach a biblical truth? How about talking to a teenager about consequences of their actions? Did you want to pull your hair out? They just didn’t get it. As with our children and grandchildren we have to teach them over and over until the “aha” moment when they finally get it.
After his first dream we see Nebuchadnezzar acknowledge the God of Daniel-"Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, …2:47 In chapter three after the rescue of the three Hebrew boys from the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.”4:48 In addition the king rules that no one could speak against their God.
Think he’s got it? Notice he still refers to Our Lord as Daniel’s God. This week God gives him a warning in another dream which made the king fearful and alarmed.   God will use radical means to teach Nebuchadnezzar the He is sovereign. God alone rules the earth and God is accountable to no one. Revelation 22 tree of life.

Let me acknowledge from the beginning my teaching for tonight came through God’s directions and gentle urging. Everything I desired to elaborate on was covered remarkably well in your Commentary. Don’t forget to read it when you go home.

Daniel Lesson 6 Chapter 4 God Humbles Nebuchadnezzar

  • ·        Pride before the fall
  • ·        Patience of God
  • ·        Merciful grace to Nebuchadnezzar
Those who walk in pride God is able to humble.
(Probably written 30 years after chapter3)Chapter four of Daniel is very distinctive in the entire bible for it was written by Nebuchadnezzar himself—a pagan king! It was an open letter to be distributed to all people, nations and languages. It is the king’s own witness of how God reached out to him. The first three verses of this chapter are a testimony of his unique discipline and the power of God.
In the thirty-fifth year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had brought under his rule Syria, Phoenicia, Judah, and Egypt. This second map denotes current country names.

1King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! 2It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.3How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.
v4 I, Nebuchadnezzar was content in my home and prospering in my palace.

How would we define contentment? “At ease” in some translations, pleased and satisfied, no worries. This was a time of peace and basking in all that he had accomplished to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon. History confirms that Nebuchadnezzar built this Hanging Garden for his wife. (see commentary)

How about prospering? The dictionary defines it as successful in material terms; to be flourishing financially.
Another extravagance is this Ishtar Gate. It was the eighth gate into the city of Babylon made of cobalt glazed bricks. It was constructed around 575 B.C.E. by Nebuchadnezzar.  George Rawlinson, Historical Illustrations of the Old Testament, 1871 verifies 9/10 of the bricks in Babylon were stamped with his name.
This recovered section of wall was is 45 feet of the original foundation of the gate. The material excavated by Robert Koldewey between1902 to 1914. The Gate is now in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany.

Those who walk in pride God is able to humble.
Speaking about Babylon  Jeremiah 50:31 “Behold, I am against you, O proud one, declares the Lord God of hosts, for your day has come, the time when I will punish you.
·        Psalm 10:4 In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
·        Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
·        Proverbs 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
Beth Moore in her study Daniel does an excellent job of pointing out how pride can creep into our lives as Christians. If we are to be effective witnesses we must be aware of how others see us. “Pride is not a circumstance but a state of mind.”
How might pride be evidenced in a Christian? Beth Moore bought a new bible at the urging of her daughter. Our pride might be as innocent as a well marked Bible and unintentionally giving the impression to others of piety.

While answering your core questions, make sure you do not give the appearance of pride with your knowledge or memorization of scripture.
In God’s economy the way up is down. From heaven's perspective we never stand taller than when we bow down to lift up God.

Those who walk in pride God is able to humble.
Isaiah 2:11The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
As your Teaching Director I enjoy searching for and sharing facts and information not included in your commentary. God already knows that my love of knowledge and my skill in technology could be sources of pride in my life.
One evening at our home church we waited for the guest speaker to queue his DVD. My prideful self thought they needed my help, but the Good Lord put me in my place. As I bent over to check the player, I fell backward and ended up on my rump in front of everyone.
Patience of God is shown to Nebuchadnezzar.
The tree In the Nebuchadnezzar’s dream symbolizes his pride and self-exaltation. The removal of the tree shows God’s sovereignty in raising him up and bringing him down. Ezekiel 17:22-24 and other references to trees are found in Psalms, Jeremiah, and Jesus parables often used a tree as supporting life.
 You know if The LORD had revealed to me in a dream that I was the tree and he would “'Chop down the tree and lop off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit15But leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze,”
I would be looking over my shoulder constantly.
If you have ever gotten a speedy ticket or warning, are you a little paranoid? After attending traffic school last year for going 45 in a 35 mph zone, I sure am. Noticing a patrolman in my rear view mirror Monday, my hands gripped the steering wheel. He travelled behind me for several miles. I could not be at ease until he turned off the road. Evidently King Nebuchadnezzar had forgotten the dream.
Those who walk in pride God is able to humble.
 Job tells Elihu 33:14 For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it.15In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while they slumber on their beds, 16 then he opens the ears of men and terrifies them with warnings, 17that he may turn man aside from his deed and conceal pride from a man;
This was the lesson God has tried to teach Nebuchadnezzar through the both dreams and the rescue of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the fiery furnace. Oh the extreme measures the Lord will use to bring us under submission!
Jonah 4:2 confesses I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. The Lord is patient and long-suffering.
Daniel advises in verse 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."
Daniel’s advice was not taken but the LORD continued waiting for Nebuchadnezzar to give Him the honor and praise and glory.

 29At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon,30and 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?"
How does God finally receive the praise and adoration he deserves from the greatest monarch that Babylon ever produced? By taking Nebuchadnezzar through the humiliation pictured in his dream.
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,
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.
Nebuchadnezzar’s malady is a historical fact, documented from other writing. It is well covered in your commentary. ““Ly-can-thropy” (from the Greek word (lukos, wolf), which causes a human being to think he is a four-footed animal. In his palace, he began to hop around like a four-footed animal, and according to the custom of the day, they drove him out from the palace into the open fields.” It seems likely that Daniel remained precept, and protected Nebuchadnezzar during his seven-year malady.
Those who walk in pride God is able to humble.
No matter how low you have ever felt about yourself I doubt you could ever be as low as poor Nebuchadnezzar in this state.
Merciful grace to Nebuchadnezzar
We can believe God’s promises and trust his word.
Verse 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.  Through these actions you can see God’s loving care for his people through the salvation of Nebuchadnezzar
Verses on HUMILITY
·        Psalm 113:7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
·        Luke 14:11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
·        1 Peter 5:5. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
·        1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
·        James 4:6 "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble."
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;
The best time for a public testimony tends to be after we’re thinking straight again.
Luke’s story of the prodigal son says he came to himself.
Nebuchadnezzar says36 “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.”
A bronze door-step to a temple was recovered, bearing an inscription to that it was presented by Nebuchadnezzar as a votive offering upon his recovery from a terrible illness. 
Nebuchadnezzar’s last recorded words in Scripture summarize chapter four: “And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”
Daniel 4:37 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.

 I can think of no better model of humility than our Lord Jesus himself.  
Philippians 2: but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 

“If you truly understand that there is a God and that you are not Him, then you can begin to relinquish your own rights, hopes, desires, and wants and submit them to His will.  Bend your own will to submission to His work in your life.  Trust Him in all things. He is God and you are not.” Matt Slick
 “And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”

Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is for me to have no trouble; never to be fretted or vexed or irritated or sore or disappointed. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me and when I am blamed or despised.
Andrew Murray
Will you choose to walk humbly before the Lord?