Hope in the midst of despair (2)

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
Daniel 4:37 (NIV)

Read: Daniel 4:1-37

Consider: Today’s reading in Daniel 4 provides details of an incident where God humbled a powerful king, Nebuchadnezzar, yet restored him to his throne when he finally came to realise that God is sovereign and he gives thrones and power to whomever he chooses.

The topic of Nebuchadnezzar’s ‘madness’ has been a continuing topic of debate amongst Bible scholars, historians and archaeologists.  Lacking conventional historical evidence, it has resulted in some questioning the reliability of the Bible record.  A more recent archaeological discovery, a fragment of a tablet [now in the British Museum (BM 34113)], seems to corroborate the Bible account contained in Daniel 4.

Daniel chapter 4 splits into three sections:
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream      Daniel 4:1-18
The dream interpreted            4:19-27
The dream fulfilled                   4:28-37

This chapter of the Book of Daniel contains some amazing and profound words spoken by Nebuchadnezzar after he had recovered from his ‘madness’ and been restored to his throne.  The account is written initially in the voice of Nebuchadnezzar:  It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation (Daniel 4:2-3).  These words are amazing in themselves and we might have expected the king to utter them after the events recorded in the previous chapters of Daniel.  In chapter 2 after Daniel’s interpretation of his dream we read:  The king said to Daniel, ‘Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery (2:47).  After Sahdrach, Meshach and Abednego survived the flaming furnace we read:  Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God’ (3:28).

Returning to Daniel 4:28-37 where we read of the king’s ‘madness’ and his recovery, the king could say: At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes towards heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honoured and glorified him who lives for ever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation (4:34).  

The king’s final comment is: Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble (4:37).

What can we learn from this?  In the early chapters of the Book of Daniel we see God’s dealings with Nebuchadnezzar over several years.  Even when the king lost his mind and his dignity, God was still working in his heart, bringing him to the point where he would acknowledge God as being supreme.  This should encourage us in relation to family and friends who might appear to be rejecting God.  God, however, can work through every situation (good and bad) that a person faces, to bring them to acknowledge him as Lord and to accept forgiveness through Jesus.

Pray:  Father, we see that your hand at work in the lives of family and friends is sometimes plain, while at other times it might seem less apparent to us.  We praise you that through good and bad times you are always at work, drawing a person closer to you.  Amen

Every blessing


Author: profsloan

The purpose of this blog is to encourage others to read the Bible daily and to grow in Christ. Each day I will generally publish a devotional or a reading for the day, together with a prayer.

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