The Reflection of a King - pt.2

God's Sovereignty  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:24
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Last week, we opened up chapter 4 of Daniel and we saw that N is making this public decree that is reflecting back on the experience that God used to rid him of his prideful attitude.
He has revealed that he’s had another dream that is scaring him, just like his dream in Chapter 2. N called in all of his not so “wise men” and of course, they are not able to interpret the dream for him because it is a message from God and these so called “wise men” have no relationship with God, so they cannot understand His messages.
Finally Daniel walks in, N breathes a sigh of relief, makes it known to whoever reads this decree that the Spirit of the Holy God is in Daniel and he would be able to interpret the dream.
We are going to look at the details of N’s dream this morning and Lord willing, we will look at its interpretation next week.
With that in mind, lets read Daniel 4:10-18(Read)

The Reflection of a King - pt.2

Details of the Dream:
Last week I challenged you to go back and re-read chapter 2 of Daniel… I recommended that because in Chapter 2 of Daniel is where we find the record of the first dream that N had.
As we look at the details of this 2nd dream, I want you to notice some of the similarities that it has with the first dream, found in chapter 2… I believe it is because of the similarities of these two dreams, that N is troubled by this 2nd dream.
Remember, the main object of the first dream was a huge statue made of all different types of materials… The head was made of gold and Daniel told N “you are the head of gold”… which was all fine and dandy, until it was crushed and ground into dust by a rock.
Here in Chapter 4, the main object of the dream is a huge tree… which eventually gets cut down… It is very likely that N suffered from having flash backs to his original dream after he started having this 2nd dream… I believe this is why it terrified him so much...
With that being said, this morning, I want to look at the details of this 2nd dream and each detail carries with it a hint of prophetic significance that we will see next week as we look at the dream’s interpretation.
The first detail that I already mentioned was… The…

1. Main Object - A Tree

Daniel 4:1010 These were the visions of my head while on my bed: I was looking, and behold, A tree in the midst of the earth, And its height was great.
As you study God’s Word you will see that trees are often used in a symbolic way… several of which are found in the book of Psalms…
Psalm 1:3 NKJV
3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
Psalm 37:35 NKJV
35 I have seen the wicked in great power, And spreading himself like a native green tree.
Psalm 52:8 NKJV
8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
Psalm 92:12 NKJV
12 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
There are other places in Scripture that use trees as symbols as well… and here in Daniel Chapter 4 is one of them…
The first detail we are given about this tree is…

1.1 It’s Location - The Midst of the Earth

It seems to have been by itself, standing proud… The center of attention… some one even say… strategically placed.
Secondly, we are told that…

1.2 It’s Height was Great

Daniel 4:1111 The tree grew and became strong; Its height reached to the heavens, And it could be seen to the ends of all the earth.
It was strong, and it “reached to the heavens”, meaning that nothing on earth was stronger or greater than this tree… “And it could be seen to the ends of all the earth”… This tree affected the whole world.
The first part of v.12 refers to…

1.3 It’s Beauty

Daniel 4:12Its leaves were lovely, Its fruit abundant...
The leaves were lovely… they were beautiful… That is, they were abundant, and green, and there were no signs of decay. Everything indicated a vigorous and healthy growth—a tree in its full beauty and majesty… It also had beautiful and abundant fruit… further indicating that this was a healthy tree.
These first 3 details of the tree could also describe the statue of N’s first dream in Chapter 2…
Daniel 2:31 (NKJV)
31 “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.
Daniel 2:31You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great (Big/Tall) image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you (Alone/the center of attention); and its form was awesome(magnificent/beautiful).
Can you see the similarities???… …
And then the last part of v.12 shows us…

1.4 It’s Influence

Daniel 4:12 And in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, The birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches, And all flesh was fed from it.”
It supplied nourishment for everyone
It sheltered the animals
It sustained the birds.
It was a place of protection, it was a home, it was the source of food for all humans and animals…
When you first see this tree it appears to be so magnificent and also very needed to sustain life on the earth… And that is exactly how N felt about himself and the Kingdom that he built… “The world wouldn’t know what to do if I wasn’t here...”
Remember folks, you cannot quote the verse that says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”… and then turn around and say “look what I’ve done… look at all that I have accomplished… ”
N’s dream continues and the next detail that we see is…

2. A Messenger

Daniel 4:13I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven.”
N describes this messenger as a “watcher” and a “holy one”. J. Vernon McGee says “The “watcher” and “holy one” are of an order of God’s created intelligences. The watchers are the holy ones who administer the affairs of this world. The Book of Daniel makes it very clear that God has created intelligences who administer His universe and this world in which you and I live.
On the flip side of that… Satan also has his minions who have charge over certain areas of certain nations as well…
This messenger came with a not so great message for the tree…
First of all, the messenger said…

2.1 Cut The Tree Down

Daniel 4:14 He cried aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get out from under it, And the birds from its branches.”
This obviously would be a catastrophic event for any tree. But as we will see in the interpretation of this dream… the events described in this verse depict the punishment of N’s prideful attitude.
This magnificent tree, symbolizing N’s pride, is being cut down, the branches are removed and even the leaves are shaken off… the beasts are no longer able to use it for shelter, the birds no longer have their nests in it, the fruit is gone and can no longer provide food for anyone.
This is a thorough destruction of everything that fed the prideful attitude of N. The strength, the size, the dependence of others, the beauty… gone…
But the messenger says something else…

2.2 Leave The Stump

Daniel 4:15Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, Bound with a band of iron and bronze, In the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven, And let him graze with the beasts On the grass of the earth.”
Even though the tree is cut down, the branches and leaves are removed and the fruit has been scattered… the tree is not completely destroyed…
My neighbor, straight to the east of our house, had huge cottonwood tree in his yard when we first moved in. Last year he had it cut down,… all but about 4 foot of the stump was left sticking up out of the ground… It didn’t take very long and there was new growth on and around that stump…
Even when a tree is cut down, the stump provides the possibility of restoration and new life.
It is the same for us… as we choose to follow and honor Christ with our lives, He will reveal to us different areas that need to be pruned. As we prune those areas and remove the sinful practices in our lives, then we are able to produce new growth, and replace those sinful practices with God honoring ones.
The pruning is never fun… it is hardly ever pleasant… but the rewards of growing in our walk and relationship with Christ are certainly worth it.
The stump was to be “Bound with a band of iron and bronze” this is a symbol of a loss of freedom and judgement… Again, The pruning is never fun… it is hardly ever pleasant… but the rewards of growing in our walk and relationship with Christ are certainly worth it.
The similarities that I mentioned about the details of the tree and of the statue from N’s first dream, would’ve caused some discomfort and uneasiness in his mind… but to add to that, this messenger changes up the phrasing of his message.
Up until this point the messenger addressed the tree as it
Cut off its branches
strip off its leaves
scatter its fruit
let it be wet with the dew of heaven
Listen to the change…
Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, Bound with a band of iron and bronze, In the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven, And let him graze with the beasts On the grass of the earth.”
The messenger starts to use a personal pronoun… He, his, him… indicating that the message of this dream is directed towards a person, and N being fairly educated was able to deduce that the message, whatever it was, was probably for him.
The messenger goes on to say…

2.3 Change His Heart

Daniel 4:16Let his heart be changed from that of a man, Let him be given the heart of a beast, And let seven times pass over him.”
Yes, we can skip down a few verses and look at the interpretation of what the messenger is saying is going to happen to N… But I want you to put yourself in his shoes for a brief moment… and just listen to the message…
Let his heart be changed from that of a man, Let him be given the heart of a beast, ” … let his nature or his predisposition cease to be that of a man, and become like that of a beast;… basically, let him cease to act as a man, and act as the beasts do, or in the same manner as an animal…
I can see where this would cause some confusion and a little bit of unrest in an individual…
Then the phrase… “And let seven times pass over him.”
The word rendered times is an important word in the interpretation of Daniel. The word may refer to any such period, however long or short—a day, a month, a year… Days or weeks would be obviously too short… some have said that it was seven months, but if you skip ahead to v.33…
Daniel 4:33 “33 That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
Now, in the matter of 7 months, I am certain that my hair would be a decent length and so would the nails on my fingers and toes… but it would take several years (probably 7 years) to get my hair and nails as long as N’s were…
In the other places where the word “times” is used in Daniel it undoubtedly refers to years, and I believe it is proper to understand it in the same manner here.
The third detail that I want you to see is…

3. The Purpose of the Dream

V.17 not only sums up the reason for the events here in Chapter 4 of Daniel, but in reality, it is given to us as an important lesson as well… this dream was given to…

3.1 Reveal God’s Sovereignty

Daniel 4:1717 ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’
God had a plan and a purpose for the nation of Babylon, for N… and He has a plan and a purpose for us today. “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men” - Nations rise and fall to teach men that God rules and overrules the kingdoms of this world.
I will once again quote J. Vernon McGee… and as I read his words, keep in mind that he passed away in 1988, so he penned these words over 35 years ago… He says “The downward course which this nation is traveling is going to take us right to the judgment of God” In the past 35 years, our nation has drastically fallen even further away from God and His Word and it is closer than it has ever been before to the judgement of God.
the Most High rules in the kingdom of men (and) Gives it to whomever He will- It is not the democrats or the republicans that put people in power… they may think they do, but God is the One who makes that decision in accordance to His will, in order to fulfill His ultimate purpose.
the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’” - It is not one's talents, excellency, noble birth,… it is not their ability to debate with their opponents, it is not the amount of money that is sitting in their bank account,… but it is God's will, which elevates one to a position of power or rulership...
After seeing and hearing all of this in a dream, N says…
Daniel 4:18“This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.””
Notice the confidence that he has in Daniel being able to interpret the dream. He urged Daniel to explain the meaning because his, not so wise, advisors were unable to do so…
It's pretty clear from this passage that God is stressing that He is sovereign. He rules over the entire world and He controls every event that takes place. That means that God has control over our lives and everything that happens to us, which includes all of the hardships as well as the catastrophic events.
It is during these times that we must remember that God is still in control.
The prophet Isaiah has the right mind set…
Isaiah 12:2 NASB95
2 “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.”
Lesson we can learn from N’s dream
Pride comes before the fall
When we allow you to remove the sin our lives, we can grow in our relationship with you
You are sovereign and in control of everything that happens to us...
Help us to trust you and not be afraid
Jesus Name...
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