Daniel 4:1-37

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Text: Daniel 4

NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S VISION OF THE HIGH TREE

INTRODUCTION:

When I was younger, I played in a lot of sporting activities: football, basketball, track, or baseball. Whenever we were behind, our coaches would try to motivate by the statement, Where's your pride?

I would also go to Sunday School and church and I would hear that pride is sin. It was confusing.

Something we should learn is what God thinks of pride.

In the Bible, pride is regarded as sin. It is an exaltation of self. Its action is a statement that we can get along in life without God. Pride characterizes the old sin nature.

Historically, pride was seen in the fall of Satan into sin.

Isaiah 14:12-15 - 12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Isaiah 53:6 - All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

II Chronicles 26:1-16 - 1 Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah. 2 He built Eloth, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers. 3 Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 4 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did. 5 And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper. 6 And he went forth and warred against the Philistines, and brake down the wall of Gath, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines. 7 And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gurbaal, and the Mehunims. 8 And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly. 9 Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, and at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them. 10 Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains: husbandmen also, and vine dressers in the mountains, and in Carmel: for he loved husbandry. 11 Moreover Uzziah had an host of fighting men, that went out to war by bands, according to the number of their account by the hand of Jeiel the scribe and Maaseiah the ruler, under the hand of Hananiah, one of the king's captains. 12 The whole number of the chief of the fathers of the mighty men of valour were two thousand and six hundred. 13 And under their hand was an army, three hundred thousand and seven thousand and five hundred, that made war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy. 14 And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones. 15 And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong. 16 But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.

II Chronicles 32:22-26 - 22 Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side. 23 And many brought gifts unto the LORD to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah: so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth. 24 In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign. 25 But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. 26 Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

Psalms 10:4 - The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

Proverbs 8:13 - The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Proverbs 11:2 - When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

Proverbs 13:10 - Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

Proverbs 14:3 - In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.

Proverbs 16:18 - Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 29:23 - A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

Proverbs 6:16-19 - 16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Proverbs 16:5 - Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

Proverbs 21:4 - An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.

James 4:6 - But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

God loves us and is always trying to help us and make something out of us for His own glory.

Hebrews 12:5-11 - 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

I. THE VISION NARRATED BY NEBUCHADNEZZAR - 4:1-18

Daniel 4:1 - Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.

This chapter is a public decree or state paper of Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 4:2 - I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me.

Daniel 4:3 - How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.

Daniel 4:4 - I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:

Daniel 4:5 - I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.

Daniel 4:6 - Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream.

Notice that these wise men were still in the king's employ, though they had miserably failed him before.

Daniel 4:7 - Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.

Daniel 4:8 - But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying,

Daniel did not appear immediately, perhaps of his own choosing or perhaps because Nebuchadnezzar did not summon him for fear Daniel might tell him something he did not want to hear.

In whom is the spirit at the holy gods. The king may only be acknowledging his own gods' supposed work in Daniel's life, or (since gods may be properly translated by the singular, God) it may indicate his recognition of the true God of Israel.

Daniel 4:9 - O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.

Daniel 4:10 - Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great.

Daniel 4:11 - The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth:

Daniel 4:12 - The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.

Daniel 4:13 - I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven;

a watcher and an holy one. i.e., an angel (see vv. 17 and 23).

Daniel 4:14 - He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:

Daniel 4:15 - Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth:

a band of iron and brass. Either for restraint (as for a madman) or for preservation to prevent the stump's being dug up.

Daniel 4:16 - Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.

Seven times. Seven years because of the length to which his hair grew (v. 33).

Daniel 4:17 - This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

Daniel 4:18 - This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.

II. THE VISION INTERPRETED BY DANIEL - 4:19-27

Daniel 4:19 - Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied (i.e. astonished) for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.

Daniel ... was astonied (i.e. astonished). Not because the dream was unintelligible to him but because of his reluctance to announce God's judgment to the king, whom he apparently had grown to love.

Daniel 4:20 - The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth;

Daniel 4:21 - Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation:

Daniel 4:22 - It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.

Daniel 4:23 - And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him;

Daniel 4:24 - This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:

Daniel 4:25 - That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

Daniel 4:26 - And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.

Daniel 4:27 - Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.

After interpreting the dream, Daniel counseled the king to abandon his despotic ways and acknowledge the rule of God.

III. THE VISION FULFILLED BY GOD - 4:28-37

Daniel 4:28 - All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 4:29 - At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.

the palace. Nebuchadnezzar was admiring the great city he had helped build, possibly from the top terrace of his famous "Hanging Gardens."

Daniel 4:30 - The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?

Daniel 4:31 - While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.

Daniel 4:32 - And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

Daniel 4:33 - The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.

as oxen. The king's illness was boanthropy (imagining himself to be an animal and acting accordingly), a condition that has been observed in modern times. Probably the king was kept in one of the royal parks during his insanity.

Daniel 4:34-37 - The king acknowledged God's absolute sovereignty, and his kingdom was restored to him.

Daniel 4:34 - And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:

Daniel 4:35 - And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Daniel 4:36 - At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.

Daniel 4:37 - Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

CONCLUSION:

Remember that God loves us very much. Remember that He also wants to make something out of us for His glory. He's always using a little sandpaper in our lives to rub off the rough edges or seeking to fine tune us so that we'll be more Christlike. Rather than resisting what He's trying to do, let's be submissive and cooperative.