The Reflection Of A King - pt.4

God's Sovereignty  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:58
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We have been making our way through chapter 4 of Daniel these past few weeks. We have been looking at King N’s reflection of the events that happened towards the end of his life. And so far we have seen…
The King’s decree… This is actual what chapter 4 of Daniel is… A decree that N wanted the whole world to read…
The Dream… Which is very similar to the dream N had back in chapter 2 and it also had the same affect on N as he was very troubled by it.
And last week, we looked at The Interpretation of the Dream… Which was not good news for N… However, Daniel told him that he could avoid facing the wrath of God if he would repent of his sins and start living in a way that would honor God and not himself.
And this morning we are going to finish chapter 4 as we look at…

The Reflection Of A King - pt.4

The Fulfillment of the Dream Reveals:
Read Daniel 4:28-37
There are many examples throughout history that record leaders who began their day as normal, representing or guiding millions of people that are under their leadership or Royal authority, that by the end of the day were either forcefully relieved of their position or dead…
Even from our own country… William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy…
All were serving as President of the U.S. when they passed away… some of natural causes… others of not so natural causes.
We have examples from Scripture… In the book of Acts, chapter 12… We have the example of Herod Agrippa. He was at the height of his power and popularity with the people…
Acts 12:21-2321 So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. 22 And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.
God’s judgment does not always include immediate death… What happened to N is evidence of that…
The fulfillment of N’s dream reveals several different things and I want to hone in on some of them this morning… … First of all, the fulfillment of N’s dream reveals…

1. God’s Patience

v.28 and the first few words of v.29…
Daniel 4:28-2928 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of the twelve months…
This is 12 months after Daniel gave the interpretation of N’s dream… 12 months after Daniel pleaded with N to repent of his sins… Remember from v. 27
Daniel 4:2727 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”
Psalm 103:8 NKJV
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
2 Peter 3:9 NKJV
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
There is an interesting verse in Ecclesiastes that says…
Ecclesiastes 8:11 NKJV
11 Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
Which means… that God does not bring His sentence one someone quickly. He generally gives an opportunity to repent. However, as people choose to continue in their sinful ways and become more evil, God eventually says “No more, you’re done, I’ve had enough...”
In the case of N…

1.1 He Waited One Year

After Daniel gave the interpretation of N’s 2nd dream and urged him to repent, God gave N 12 months (1 Year) to repent, but N chose not to.
It would seem that not only did he not repent, but he became even more prideful… which we will look at in just a minute…
But what I want you to see here is that God gives time for repentance before He sends His judgement… He is patient, He is Long-suffering, and He is not willing that any should perish.
When God told Noah that He was going to flood the earth, He didn’t just open the flood gates right away… it wasn’t a week later, it wasn’t a year later, not even 10 years later… God waited patiently for 120 years for the world to repent.
2 Peter 2:5 tells us that God “... did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;”
Peter tells us that Noah was a “Preacher of Righteousness”… While he was building the ark, Noah ministered as a “herald” of God’s righteousness… He was hoping that the world would repent so that God would not have to destroy the earth.
Just like back then, God is patiently waiting for our world today, to repent of their sins… And He’s been waiting for over 2000 years.
He sent Jesus to take our place, to take our punishment, so that we would not have to face God’s judgement… All we have to do is repent of our sins, ask for His forgiveness and live in a way that honors Him…
Sadly, the majority of the world today continues to refuse God’s free gift of Salvation and will eventually have to face His judgement.
The second thing that the fulfillment of this dream reveals is…

2. Nebuchadnezzar’s Extreme Pride

Daniel 4:28-3028 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?””
Despite knowing the interpretation of the dream and the warning that Daniel gave him… Despite the appeal that Daniel made for him to repent of his sinful pride… N just couldn’t admit that it was God who gave him the success of Babylon.
v. 29 says that “he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon”… That word about, is better translated as “Upon”… he was walking upon the royal palace… suggesting that he was on the roof of the palace, overlooking the city of Babylon.
Most of what we know today about Babylon comes from the Greek Historian Herodotus who saw the city in all its splendour.
The city was built in the form of a square, about fifty six miles in circumference. The Euphrates river, which flowed through the city, provided the city with more than an abundance of water. It was spanned by a spectacular bridge.
On the one side of the bridge stood an enormous temple dedicated to Belus and it was filled with numerous golden idols, and on the other side of the bridge stood Nebuchadnezzar’s grand palace.
The perimeter walls of the city were 335 feet high and about 87 feet thick. Chariots could race side by side on these massive walls. The walls had a hundred gates of solid brass, 25 on each side of the city. A straight road ran from each gate dividing the city into a grid of 676 squares. In the centre of the city there were 150 pillars 88 feet high supporting the chapel of Baal and inside was a colossal golden image of this false god.
The one thing that Babylon is known for, is having one of the seven wonders of the ancient world – the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. These gardens were built to cheer up Nebuchadnezzar’s homesick wife.
She was a daughter of the king of the Medes, and was married to Nebuchadnezzar to create an alliance between the nations. The land she came from, though, was green, rugged and mountainous, and she found the flat, sun-baked terrain of Mesopotamia depressing.
Successive terraces rose one above another until they reached as high as the walls. They were filled with soil and planted with every kind of tree and flower. The king had recreated his wife’s homeland by building an artificial mountain with rooftop gardens.
Undoubtedly the city of Babylon was magnificent, it was beautiful, and well fortified. As N looked out over the city, his extreme pride started to swell and he says “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?””
N’s extreme pride was…

2.1 The Reason he was Punished

It has been said that pride is “the sin God will not tolerate”. I think Lucifer could attest to that…
Someone said, “Pride affects people in a strange way, for “pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except the one who has it.”
Folks, we must learn to recognize this sin in our own lives in all of its ugliness. If we don’t, humble ourselves before God, then God will humble us in His own way.
The problem is... pride diminishes God and exalts self. Anytime you have an attitude of pride (look at me, look at what I've done)… you are taking credit that really belongs to God… you are, in essence, trying to take God’s place and God’s glory. Pride either overlooks or refuses to acknowledge that God is the source of life and of all ability.
N was taking full credit for all he had and for all he had built… and God was now going to punish him for it.
The third thing that the fulfillment of this dream reveals is that…

3. God Stays True to His Word

Daniel 4:31-33 “31 While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! 32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” 33 That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar…
God stays true to His Word…

3.1 His Prophecies are Literally Fulfilled

This is not symbolic. God literally did exactly what He said He was going to do…
vv. 31-32 give the exact same message that the messenger from heaven spoke in N’s dream… “… the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.
V.33 records the immediate and literal fulfillment of this decree… Daniel 4:33That 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.”
The great kingdom that N thought he was supreme ruler over was taken away from him in an instant.
This is a very important lesson for everyone to learn… Whatever we have or wherever we are has been given to us by God and it can be taken away from us, by God, if He so chooses.
Don’t take the roof over your head for granted, don’t take the kids living in your house for granted, don’t take the spouse that you have been blessed with for granted… cherish these things, cherish these people, treat them as the gifts from God that they are… because tomorrow they could all be taken away… …
N was driven away from men and ate grass like oxen - If you think this is strange, there is a documented psychological phenomenon called Lycanthropy. It comes from the Greek word for “wolf,” lycos and the word for “man,” anthropos. Lycanthropy is a form of insanity where a person is convinced he is an animal.
“Lycanthropy” literally means “wolf man.” It originally referred to a person’s belief he was a wolf-like creature. In fact, the primitive werewolf superstition was inspired by this condition. But today, lycanthropy has come to be a general name used regardless of the type of animal the person thinks he is.
Many believe that this is the mental state of mind that N was in during this 7 year period… while he was in this state of mind… “his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.”
At night Nebuchadnezzar wouldn’t come inside. He stayed in the open field, exposed to the elements of nature. So, in the mornings he would be “drenched with the dew from heaven.” His hair became matted and coarse, and looked like eagle feathers. His fingernails and toenails, never cut, became like claws.
We will skip ahead just for a moment to touch on this… But I also want you to notice that God stays true to His Word in the fact that…

3.2 He Restored Nebuchadnezzar

Just as messenger in the dream said to “Chop down the tree, but leave the stump” and as the voice from heaven said to N that he would be in this beastly state of mind until “… you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.
V.36 tells us… “At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.”
As soon as N learned the lesson that God wanted him to learn, he was restored to position, and with an even greater level greatness.
The only reason that God allowed N to live and to be restored is because that is exactly what He said He was going to do and God always stays true to His word.
The last thing I want you to see that this fulfilled dream reveals is…

4. A Changed Man

The Prophet Jeremiah records this… Jeremiah 9:23-24
Jeremiah 9:23–24 NASB95
23 Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.
N comes to the realization that if he is going to boast about anything, it needs to be about Almighty God!
Daniel 4:34-3534 And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?””
Daniel 4:3737 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.
N is a changed man…

4.1 He Praises God

In the past, N has acknowledged God… but this time he actually gives God the praise and glory that He rightfully deserves.
N realizes that…
God lives forever
God is the only one that has an everlasting Kingdom
3. Compared to God, everything else amounts to absolutely nothing...
4. And N finally realizes that whether it has to do with events in heaven or events on the earth… God is the One who is Sovereign, God is the One who is in control… and God is the One who has the power to do whatever He pleases.
There is a debate as to whether or not N truly repented… And I suppose we will not know for sure until we get to heaven… But he uses 2 words in v. 37 that, I believe, drive home that he was truly a changed and repentant man.

4.2 He Exalts and Honors God

To exalt and honor something or someone, means that you hold that thing or that person in a higher position than yourself.
Prior to this experience N was only concerned with exalting and honoring himself… In his mind, he was the supreme being, he was the one who was in control and he was the one that people should praise and honor…
Finally, after 7 years of insanity, being convicted of his sinful pride and wicked ways, he lifted up his eyes toward heaven, exalted and honored the Lord.
Again, we don't have any way of knowing for sure, but the King’s behavior is a strong suggestion of true faith and repentance - - a genuine conversion experience.
Remember that Daniel had been the chief royal advisor to Nebuchadnezzar for over 30 years. Considering how faithful Daniel was to the lord, he was bound to be a strong witness in sharing the word of God with the king.
That fact plus the other major encounters Nebuchadnezzar had with God, I believe, points strongly toward this being a genuine conversion.
This chapter began with N praising God and it ends with N praising, exalting and honoring God… We have learned several things from this chapter.
But as you look over this account in the future, and I encourage you to do so, because you can’t take my words are not infallible, only God’s Words are infallible…
But as you look over this account again, during your own studies, I hope that you see how patient and long-suffering God really is.
He gives people ample opportunity to repent of their sins, He gives ample opportunity to begin and grow in a relationship with Him… and eventually that opportune time is going to come to an end.
And when that moment comes, there will be nothing that can stop it… there will be no second chances for the ones who reject Christ and His free gift of salvation… Only judgement and separation from God for all eternity… which can only be described as Hell…
Just as God stayed true to His word spoken to N and just as he literally carried out exactly what He said would happen… He will do the same for our world in the future…
God says in…
Isaiah 13:11 NKJV
11 “I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
The question is… Are you listening to God’s warning today?
If you are here without Jesus; how many warnings to repent do you think you have left? I don’t know, and you don’t know either.
The amazing city of Babylon, this kingdom that N took so much pride in building… is now buried under the sands of Iraq. The only thing left is the memories, the historical writings…
But there is one thing that N produced that still remains today… and we just got done studying it… His personal testimony and how God changed his life.
The only thing that will stand the test of time in your life is your testimony of how Jesus has changed you… But first, you have to let Him change you
Help us to heed your warnings
Help us to humble ourselves so that You don’t have to do it for us.
Help us to repent of our sins
And may you find us faithful in giving you the praise, exaltation and honor that You (and You Alone) deserve.
Jesus Name…
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