1) Share your story to God’s glory
King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.
Most of us who have been Christians for any length of time have a story of God intervening with our life. These stories typically end with God being glorified, and us being humbled. Likewise, Nebuchadnezzar learned the ultimate lesson in humility. As the greatest king of his day, and perhaps one of the most famous in history, he fell a long way. From ruling all of Babylon and creating one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World,—the Hanging Gardens of Babylon—to succumbing to temporary insanity, and living like an animal, eating the grass of his kingdom.
But Nebuchadnezzar, with the wisdom God graciously gave him, deemed it right to tell his embarrassing story. And he told it for the purpose of glorifying God.
2) Peace comes from being right with God, not from worldly prosperity
I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace. I saw a dream that made me afraid. As I lay in bed the fancies and the visions of my head alarmed me.
(Daniel 4:4, 5)
Nebuchadnezzar literally had it all; he was the ruler of the known world, with no one to oppose him. He had overthrown and captured God’s chosen people, and even destroyed the temple that Solomon built, Yahweh’s dwelling place. Who could stand against this great king?
And yet, he was troubled. God gave him visions and stirred his dreams, and ultimately showed that peace does not come with prosperity, but rests solely in one’s standing before a righteous God.
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Paul teaches us his epistle to the Philippian church that when we humbly submit our requests before God, then he grants us peace. We must submit our circumstances to the Lord in such a way as to say “I cannot control this, everything is in your hands; thy will be done.” Then comes peace—the heart-protecting peace of God that passes all understanding. Nebuchadnezzar experienced the flip side of this coin. In his hubris he said “Look at all that I have done!” and the Lord gave him no rest until he gave God the glory.
3) The sovereignty of God; the nothingness of man
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;
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?”
(Daniel 4:34, 35)
God took the man with the most reason to be proud, and he humbled him completely and absolutely. Everything that Nebuchadnezzar had came from God—all the glory, all the riches, all the majesty. God demonstrated this by taking it for a time, then handing it back.
Praise be to God for Nebuchadnezzar’s response! Instead of turning bitter and hating God, he breaks into doxology!
. . .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. 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.
Lord, humble us in our pride, and help us by your grace to lift our eyes to heaven, and to praise you as our provider, and our everything.