Thursday, May 2, 2019
There are a lot of lessons one can take away from reading the book of Daniel. Most look at Daniel’s refusal to compromise, despite the consequences, trusting fully in God for deliverance.
But I think in the first four chapters we also need to take a hard look at the life of Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged to Daniel, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries since you have been able to reveal this mystery.” Daniel’s revelation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation saved the lives of a lot of people who were about to be slain, and Daniel gave God all the credit (2:24;30).
Yet, after acknowledging Daniel’s God as Lord of all, Nebuchadnezzar builds a huge golden image and commands everyone to worship it. Scripture doesn’t say it was a statue of himself, but I suspect it was. That’s how eat-up with himself this man became.
And we know the story: Hananiah, Michael, and Azariah, also known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refused to bow down. Nebuchadnezzar was furious, telling them, “What god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” (3:15). And when God did deliver them, he called out to them, “Come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here” (3:26). He also said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship a god except their own God” (3:28). And the king caused them to prosper (3:30). He declared to all the people of the earth, “It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me. 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” (4:2-3).
Yet, Babylon became still greater, and it went to Nebuchadnezzar’s head. Daniel told him, “Oh king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity” (4:27). BUT, the king, twelve months later, told himself, “Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of MY POWER and for the glory of MY MAJESTY” (4:30)? God broke Nebuchadnezzar of that pride until he recognized “that the Most High is the ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows in on whomever He wishes.” Daniel later told Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Belshazzar, concerning his father, that God “whomever He wished elevated, and whomever He wished humbled. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit became so proud that he behaved arrogantly, he was deposed from his royal throne, and his glory was taken away from him” (Daniel 15:19-20).
God will do whatever it takes to humble us. For we must never take credit for what He does in or through us!