Read Daniel 4:28-37
Even though we are hardheaded, and hard hearted toward God, He is still gracious and merciful toward us. He gives us every opportunity to do the right thing. He gave the king one full year to turn from his sins. (vs. 28) The king received the warning and was given a year to contemplate and accept and instead he ignored the warnings. We are given warnings every day, yet it’s amazing how easily we ignore them.
I imagine during these 12 months Daniel did everything he could to get the king to turn to the God of heaven. He spoke to him, encouraging him, praying for him, reminding him of his coming hardship yet his ears were closed to anything he said. Have you ever tried to warn a loved one of imminent danger only to have them ignore you? It’s really frustrating to watch a loved one make a bad choice in life, it’s like watching a train derail, there is nothing you can do about it. You can give warnings, but you can’t stop it.
Now here he is one year later, the king was strolling along the rooftop of his magnificent palace. He is just so impressed with himself; he is proud of everything the “he” built. He built this walled in city known as Babylon, think of it like the capital of his empire. Babylon or this royal residence is impressive, it would be difficult for anyone to not be proud of.
From his rooftop he sees a fortified city, a city filled with gold and silver. The walls around the city were wide enough that four chariots could lineup side by side. In other words, four midsize SUV’s could drive along the top side by side, like the beltway with four lanes of traffic. This is a literal fortress that he has built, not to mention there was a moat around the outside perimeter filled with water.
The population around this time was 1,200,000 people. The city was 15 miles, forming a square city. The Euphrates river ran through the middle, he had levies built throughout the city. Roads all intersecting and leading to 12 different gates.
What this city is most known for are the Hanging Gardens. This is one of the seven wonders of the world; however, it no longer exists. The Hanging Garden was built for the king’s wife, she was homesick for her mountain home, so the king constructed a “mountain” in the dessert. He built a massive structure to include many different levels made with brick and stone to form balconies where he planted massive trees and hanging vegetation all over the sides of the balconies. The way the irrigation system worked allowed the palace to be air conditioned. The water flowing down over the plants would cool the air. This really was a paradise for the king and his family.
This is what the king looked at and was well pleased with as he walked along the rooftop. He was so proud of himself that he even said out loud, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” He did not give credit to God for anything, not the ingenuity, not the creativity, not even for the skilled craftsmen that he captured from Jerusalem.
Because of that, even as he was speaking those words a voice from heaven spoke. This was an audible voice and it said. Read verse 31-32. The voice reminded Neb of the words spoken in his dream and in vs. 33 we read that it happened immediately. Immediately what was said was fulfilled.
Immediately the king was removed from his power, he was removed from his family, he was humiliated among his subjects, everything was taken from him including his mental capabilities. He began to roam around in the fields. There would have been fields inside this fortified city and remaining in the city would have allowed everyone to witness this for seven years. His advisors, governors, all the big wigs in his empire would witness this mighty man roaming around the fields eating grass.
They would watch as his hair became more like feathers, where it would be coarse and stiff and as he would pull up a tuft of grass and bring it to his lips they would notice his nails becoming thick and hard like claws, growing out and curling under.
Don’t brush off these description as though they are some fairytale creature. This type of curse is very real. There are scientific records stating that this could and has happened to people other than the king. Scriptures read that he will become like a wild animal, just to touch on some of the more modern examples, you’ve most likely heard of werewolves. Halloween was yesterday and that is something that might be on the minds of people this time of year.
This type of disorder or as I want to refer to as a curse is known as lycanthropy (lukus/wolf and antrhopes-man) is a wolfman or werewolf. This is where the concept for movies and stories is derived. Think of Twilight movies or the oldie-Teen Wolf.
Another example of this that has been recorded by psychologist is boanthropy, this where the person thinks they are a bull/cow. The most recent case of this was in 1946, where a patient would roam around the grounds of an asylum eating grass. The records also show that his hair began to change, it became coarse and his nails became thicker and longer.
In Neb’s case this disorder was brought on by God. God gave the king every chance to acknowledge Most High and his authority in his life. He even gave the king an extra year to get his act together. The king knew this would be the outcome and he chose to keep the credit for himself.
One of the things I find interesting is that no one tried to take the throne, no one swooped in to take control of the empire during these seven years. This proves that God is the one in control, he gives the leaders the ability to rule and he takes it away. You can go for years without leadership or you can be ruled by an evil murderous king or God can give you a Godly man to lead you, it His choice.
The same goes for our church, God will put into place the leadership He chooses, not man. We can get on board with his decisions or we can grumble about them that is your choice. Either way God will do what God wants to do.
Just like that, the end of the seven years rolls around (vs. 34) the king lifted his eyes to heaven, and just like that his sanity was restored. He finally relented, he finally gave God the glory, he praised Most High. He honored and glorified him who lives forever.
Re read vs. 34-35
As I said at the beginning of Chapter 4, this is Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony. This is written from his view; these are his thoughts. This man has a testimony because he turned to God and then God blessed him. God had already given him the world, but the world isn’t what he needed. What he needed was a relationship with the God of Heaven. He needed to be in right standing before God of Heaven. And God loved him enough to keep after him, giving him so many opportunities to turn to him.
Verse 37 of his testimonial is interesting; this verse contains words of hope. If you know someone who is too prideful to turn to God, then this verse is for you. I’m looking specifically at the last sentence in that verse. “And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” Even those who seem to have the hardest heart he can bring around. The person who seems the furthest from Christ he can humble.
A murderous evil king turned from his unrighteousness and turned his face to God. Have you ever thought that you just might meet Nebuchadnezzar someday in heaven? You could meet Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. What stories could they tell?