It has been so long since I have written anything on my site and I must admit that even as I type these words out, a part of me is trying to find reasons not to do it. If you come across this post and it encourages or challenges you in some way, could you kindly let me know? I won’t bore you with my rambling so I’ll get right into it.
The Text: Daniel 4:1-37
In Daniel 4:1-37, God’s Word tells us about an incident involving King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. In fact, it is Nebuchadnezzar himself who is recalling what happened. I have linked to the passage so you can have a read for yourself.
The basic summary is that Nebuchadnezzar sees a vision of a majestic tree (verses 10-12) which a messenger from heaven instructs to cut down (verses 13-14), resulting in someone living like an animal until he comes to senses and acknowledges the Most High is sovereign (verses 15-17). Nobody is able to interpret the vision except for Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) who Nebuchadnezzar has high regard for (verse 18). God reveals to Daniel that the tree in the vision Nebuchadnezzar saw is himself, that God has decreed for him to be driven away and live like an animal for seven years until he acknowledges Heaven rules (verses 24-26). Daniel’s advice to Nebuchadnezzar is that he turn away from his sins so that his prosperity might continue (verse 27). We are not told of any change in Nebuchadnezzar because a year after all this the Bible tells us:
28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”
31 While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! 32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.”
33 That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
Nebuchadnezzar does learn his lesson and humbles himself before God Most High and God restores him to his former position (verses 34-36) and has this to say to summarise his experience:
37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.
I have highlighted (bold and underlines) some parts that I believe we need to all carefully consider.
What can we as Christians, especially those who are pastors and positions of leadership in church or a ministry, learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s experience?
- It’s the LORD (through His Holy Spirit) Who teaches us His Word, Who equips us for His work, Who grants us wisdom and guides us to success, not our education or experience or intellect or anything else we can take credit for. This not only applies to Christian work but in the work we do in secular settings as well.
- It’s the LORD we must acknowledge as our King and Him we serve above all and answer to first, before anyone else. His will be done before our own and that of others.
- It’s the LORD Who will come against us AND WIN when we don’t humble ourselves to His leading, instead letting our pride cause us to boast in ourselves rather than in Him.
When we place our trust and faith in Jesus, it is only the beginning of our journey with Him on the straight and narrow. In order to be the Christian that God saved us and called us to be, we must daily deny ourselves and yield to His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) so that we will not succumb to pride, instead living a life of humility in dependence on the LORD, praising Him and glorifying Him, not ourselves. Then, we will experience the peace and joy that is ours in Christ and be prosperous and successful in all we do because we are living in and led by God’s will, not our own.
I know that as a Christian, especially as a pastor, I desperately need Jesus everyday because He said:
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
The same is true for all of us who have confessed Christ as Lord and Saviour with our mouths and in our hearts – there are no exceptions.
If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please leave a comment below.
God bless you.