Read Daniel 4:1-18
A little bit of a spoiler alert here, by the end of this chapter you will see the life of the king go from being a proud, mighty ruler to being crushed into nothing by the hand of God and then the miracle comes, the king is restored and gives all glory to King of heaven.
You can tell he is in a good mood as he begins his speech with “may you prosper greatly” or “shalom” as was the typical phrase. Then he goes on with a testimony about the glory of God, this is something that everyone single one of should be doing. Giving our testimony of the goodness of God to the world. When was the last time you shared your testimony on Facebook? Certainly, this would be telling the world about the God of Heaven. I also, think it’s sad that this pagan king has more gumption than most Christians when it comes to sharing the gospel, yet here we are.
He continues is verse 4, with a specific example of just how powerful the God of Heaven is. You see the king was at home in his palace, he was content, as I said earlier his empire was prospering, there was peace through the land. It seems like when this king takes time to reflect is when God gives him a dream. This is how it was when he had the dream of the statue and now he is describing another dream or vision and it came to him during a time of reflection.
This dream, like the other dream, caused him to be afraid, it terrified him. As he was lying in bed the dream began to play out as he watched it run through his mind he became terrified. I’m a little irritated by what he did next. You see he knew Daniel was the best man for the job of dream interpretation, yet he turns to his wicked men instead.
He called together his “wise men”, his magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and diviners once they were all gathered he told them his dream, and of course they could not interpret the dream for him. Vs. 8 We have no idea where Daniel was, but he was late to the wise man council meeting. “Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream”, said the king as he continues his testimonial speech.
The king uses the words dreams and visions as plural, more than one. The dream the king had was a two-part dream. The first part of the dream was about a tree.
The tree: was in the middle of the land, the center of the world. Grew large and strong, it was enormous, it touched the sky and could be seen from anywhere on the earth. The leaves were beautiful. This tree produced an abundant amount of fruit. The fruit could supply and feed everyone including animals. It offered a great covering for shelter; the branches were sturdy and gave shelter to birds.
Then in verse 13 the visions go to part two. The dream shifted from a tree to an angel. The angel was described as a holy one, a messenger and it came down from heaven. The description of the angel is accurate, they are holy, they are messengers, and they are on assignment.
The assignment for this angel is to announce the fate of the tree. The angel announced in a loud voice for the tree to be cut down, trim off all its branches, strip it of its leaves and scatter all its fruit. The animals are to flee, and the birds are to fly away.
The tree won’t be destroyed though. The angel announced the stump, and its roots will remain in the ground, surrounded by green grass. The stump will also have bands of brass and iron.
Verse 15 begins to describe the tree as a “him”. The tree once beautiful and glorious will be chopped down in a destructive way with the leaves scattering, animals and fruit scattering. Branch by branch being sawed off hitting the ground with loud thumps. Finally, the main trunk of the tree will be cut away from the roots leaving nothing but a stump.
The only thing to remain will be a stump, some roots and it is bound with brass and iron, now called “him” it represents a man. This man will be drenched with the dew of heaven. He will live with wild animals; his home will be the wilderness. His mind is going to become like a wild animal, he will be wild and erratic, living by animal instincts instead of human. He will live in this wild animal state of mind for seven years.
In verse 17 we learn that this is set in stone, it’s true, it’s going to happen, the decision has been made. After describing all this to Daniel, the king asks Daniel to interpret the meanings.