Daniel 4: Changing Nebuchadnezzar


Series: Daniel

Title: 4. Daniel 4: Changing Nebuchadnezzar #conversion


  • 2016-09-10: White Rock Lake

  1. Introduction:
    1. Nebuchadnezzar’s encounters with God
      1. In the days of Hezekiah: 2 Chronicles 32:31: Babylonian envoys sent by the then-insignificant Babylonians to inquire about the sign of Hezekiah’s healing (2 Kings 20:12 and Isaiah 39:1 give the reason of the visit as a goodwill, get-well gesture from Merodach-baladan, son of Baladan, king of Babylon)
      2. Defeats Jerusalem, and thus, likely in his thinking, Jerusalem’s God.
      3. Daniel 1: Daniel and his friends prove to be far wiser than any other graduates of Nebuchadnezzar’s education program. He doesn’t know too much about God, though, and likely doesn’t know the source of Daniel’s wisdom.
      4. Daniel 2: Daniel proves he has divine wisdom by telling the king his dream, which the pretenders couldn’t do. He also interprets the dream for the king.
        1. Daniel 2:46-49: Nebuchadnezzar recognizes the God of heaven for the first time.
      5. Daniel 3: God’s rescue of Daniel’s friends from the fiery furnace impresses the king with God’s power and forces him to face his inferiority compared to God.
        1. Daniel 3:28-30: Nebuchadnezzar demands respect for God because of His power to save.
  2. Daniel 4
    1. vv. 1-3: Written by Nebuchadnezzar himself. Has the form of a letter; this was likely a letter the king sent to his subjects and which Daniel then included in his book. This is the introduction.
    2. vv. 4-9: Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream.
      1. This time, he doesn’t try to test his wise men.
      2. Though Daniel was the chief of the wise men, he doesn’t show up until all the rest had failed. Perhaps God wanted the king to see for himself that only the true God had given this dream and could interpret it.
    3. vv 10-18: The dream
      1. Ominously, the language shifts from “it” (the tree) to “him.”
      2. Watcher: This is a judgment scene. A consistent pattern in the Bible is that before judgment there is investigation Here, we see that there is a watcher, demonstrating that this is no hasty decree from God, but one that is based on factual evidence.
        1. Genesis 6:5, 7: God investigated before the flood (and Jesus compared the end times to the days of Noah)
        2. Genesis 11:5-7: The tower of Babylon
        3. Exodus 32:7-10, esp. v. 9: The golden calf
        4. We won’t make a lot out of this judgment idea now, but file it away in your minds for when we cover the judgment theme in Daniel on October 22.
        5. For now, just note that there is an upcoming judgment which we will all face, and which we must take seriously.
    4. v. 19: Daniel’s reaction must have really frightened the king
    5. vv. 20-26: The interpretation
      1. The king was to be humbled, because he pridefully thought that everything happened by his own power.
      2. Nebuchadnezzar was a great builder; thus, he was to be driven out of buildings.
      3. Instead of his great intellect, he was to become as an animal—no one seeks advice from an ox.
    6. v. 27: The appeal
      1. Parallelism: Righteousness == showing mercy to the oppressed/poor (NKJV) ← Specific appeal, as well as humility, mentioned earlier
        1. This is Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony, so it focuses on his specific sins
        2. Micah 6:8: God’s standard for righteousness
      2. Modern appeal
        1. Is there some sin today that you need to forsake? Some change that you need to make to become right in God’s eyes?
    7. vv. 28-33: The fulfillment
      1. Nebuchadnezzar had apparently rejected Daniel’s advice, so God’s judgment against him was carried out.
      2. He lost that which was the most important to him
      3. Judgment can be restorative
      4. There may be times when God takes things away from us in order to get our attention.
    8. vv 34-37, 1-3: The aftermath
      1. Nebuchadnezzar repented and apparently was converted
      2. Now that he was humble, God was able to restore him to greatness without it going to Nebuchadnezzar’s head.
      3. He praises God for His work in his life, and in verse 2 acknowledges that they were done for him
      4. Mark 5:18-20: After conversion, we are to share with others the great things God has done for us.
  3. Appeal: Salvation: How does conversion work?
    1. Conversion begins with recognizing that you are separated from God, i.e., a sinner
    2. The only solution to sin is to turn to Jesus.
      1. Acts 2:37-39:
        1. Repentance means to turn around 180° and have a new way of thinking; it’s a gift of God that we can choose to accept or reject.
        2. Acts 16:30, 31: It’s critical to commit (πιστέυω) to Jesus
        3. Back in Acts 2: Be baptized: Is there anyone here who needs to be baptized?
        4. Receive the Holy Spirit
          1. John 16:8-15: The Holy Spirit convicts us of:
            1. sin in our lives so we can repent
            2. righteousness, the lives God wants us to live
            3. judgment, not only as a warning to us, but also as a promise of the end of sin
          2. The Spirit also guides us into all truth—sanctification