Have you ever found yourself in a place where God chose to humble you? It happens more often than we’d like to admit. In Daniel 4, we see this scenario playing out with King Nebuchadnezzar for his good and for God’s glory. That is the driving theme through chapter 4, that God humbles us for our good and for His glory.
As we read this account of God’s humbling work in Nebuchadnezzar’s life, we would do well to remember that while this account is about Nebuchadnezzar, the principles and truths that we find here serve as a reminder and a challenge for us as well.
- We Declare God’s Supremacy: v.1-3
King Nebuchadnezzar begins at the end. In verses 1-3, the king is praising God. This is the conclusion of where he ends up. He expresses a desire to declare God to all people, but also realizes that God has a personal and particular care for him. There is both a public and personal component to God’s care and rule. He further expresses the greatness and might of God’s everlasting dominion. This should challenge us to consider our willingness to declare God’s supremacy not only locally, but globally. Do we have concern and regard with the gospel’s impact around the world?
- God Warns of His Wrath: v.4-27
Most of the account unfolds around the vision that Nebuchadnezzar has that creates fear and alarm in him. Upon seeing this enormous tree that is cut down, the king brings Daniel in to help him understand what has happened. In short, God is warning Nebuchadnezzar of His coming wrath. It’s God’s kindness to warn us of His wrath. This has been done throughout the Scriptures. God has been warning His people of the wrath that is to come. It’s no different here with Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel then brazenly gives the king further counsel by warning him to change his ways. Daniel functions as a faithful witness willing to share hard truths. Are we willing to share these hard truths with others who find themselves out of sorts with God?
- God Humbles Us in Our Sin: v.28-33
As the story continues, it becomes clear that Nebuchadnezzar does not heed Daniel’s advice, and is full of himself. Standing on the roof of his palace, surveying his kingdom, he is overcome with his pride. In that moment God humbles. It’s important to remember that God will also humble us in our pride and God will do so because it is what’s best for us. It is God’s kindness to us that He chooses to correct us when we live in pride. If you find yourself being brought low, it’s in that state that allows you to see God for who He is, and yourself for who you are. Further, it’s God’s kindness to bring this to us.
- God Restores Us and We Respond in Humbled Praise: v.34-37
If the story would have ended at verse 33, it would have been a pretty depressing account. But it doesn’t. It continues with God’s restoration of Nebuchadnezzar. There’s a sequence in these final verses that are crucial. It begins with Nebuchadnezzar choosing to face God; he turns his eyes to heaven. In being restored to God we must first be willing to face God. Often we shy away from this because we expect God’s response to be some type of divine shaming or verbal lashing. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. God’s response is to return Nebuchadnezzar’s reason to him. What flows out of that is worship, knowing that God rules and seeing that God extends more grace to us. It’s a beautifully redemptive reality that points to the incredible goodness of our God to restore us and our response being one of humbled praise.
Church, let us be people who live in a place of humbled praise. Let us be people that see God’s humbling hand as a kind work of God that brings us back to a healthy understanding of who God is and who we are. Let us be people who declare the supremacy of our God, because we have come to see the greatness and might of our God.