Daniel arrived at the castle just in time to answer the kings request, and in this section of scripture Daniel gives the interpretation.
Read Daniel 4:19-27
The king turned to Daniel for this interpretation because he knew Daniel. He knew Daniel was a spirit filled and spirit led man. “The Spirit of the Holy God was in him”. Daniel stood out because of the Spirit of God; God’s spirit was in him. This gave Daniel influence over his surroundings. The way Daniel influenced the government of his time is how we are to influence our government today. Daniel is the one the king looked to for guidance. We should have the same influence in our environments.
As Daniel listened to the description of the dream, the interpretation was being revealed to him. The meaning of the dream caused Daniel to become troubled, he was perplexed, and he agonized over the message for an hour. Daniel was conflicted because he knew the meaning was bad news. Nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news. He needed to be careful and use wisdom with his words.
Finally, the king notices Daniel’s hesitation and he breaks the ice telling Daniel to just give it to him straight, “just tell me what it means!” Daniel with compassion, starts off “I wish it were meant for your enemies”. This statement let the king know that he was on his side, that he didn’t wish him any ill will, that he cared for the king.
Anytime you are conflicted with the weight of sharing a message of judgement or correction, you want to make sure the person you are sharing it with understands that you care about their wellbeing. Daniel has no doubt spent the last 30-35 years praying for his king. He spent one on one time with him and now he’s gotten a message that he is going to suffer greatly.
No one wants to receive a message from God saying the people that you are praying for are going to fall hard and suffer greatly and the decree is final. It will for sure happen. We want, we expect to see positive things happen when we pray for those we love and respect, especially after we’ve invested years of our lives interceding on their behalf. This is Daniel’s situation, he spent years praying for this man only to have God say he’s going to cut him down, he’s going to fall and suffer. Can you understand Daniel’s conflict? How would you handle this?
We are required to share the exact thing God reveals to us to share, even if it’s a hard message.
Now for the interpretation. In verse 20 Daniel begins to repeat the description of the tree, describing how beautiful and abundant the tree was and in verse 22 “Your Majesty, you are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the heaven, and your dominion extends to the ends of the earth.”
And now for the bad news (vs. 25) “You will be driven from men, you will live in the wild, eating nothing but grass like an ox. You will have no shelter to keep you dry from the dew. You will be treated like a wild animal. This will be your life for seven years.”
Can you believe it is going to take the king seven years to acknowledge that Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and Most High gives them to whom he wishes? Seven years seems crazy, you’d think after the first few days the king would turn and repent. Who sins for seven years without repenting?
The future for the king was not going to be an easy one, he is going to be humiliated, removed from his throne, and he is going to completely lose his mind. His behavior is going to be wild and erratic for seven years.
Now verse 26 does offer a glimmer of hope. You see the stump and roots of tree will remain, the stump isn’t being ground down or dug out, it’s still intact, still existing. In other words, the king will not be killed during these seven years. He will live through this experience and he will be restored. Once he acknowledges that the heavens rule he will get his throne back, he will be reinstated on his throne.
As I said earlier Daniel is very compassionate and he offers the king a bit of advice, (vs27) he tells the king to separate away from unrighteousness, to turn from his sins and to begin showing mercy to the poor because if he does he may have a chance of lengthening this time of peace. There is a chance that if he turns from his sin that God will hear him and have mercy on him. If he would just offer his body as a living sacrifice to God and only God and love his neighbor as himself, there might be hope for him to not go through this judgement.
King Neb was a murderous, merciless king. His favorite thing to do was to chop people into pieces and worship his idols-the idols he created. He had a lot of sin to turn from and Daniel is urging him to do so.
Clearly, he did not listen to this “wise” man’s advice because this dream becomes a reality. If only he had repented things could have been different. It’s amazing to me how we force ourselves into a hard spot. We’d rather hit rock bottom before turning to God and offering true repentance. We’d rather have everything that has ever meant anything to us be stripped away than to do what is right.