You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes. The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules. Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.” Daniel 4:25-27 (NIV).
The hammer is about to fall. We’ve already discussed it: what God wills cannot be stopped. In these verses, Daniel is telling Nebuchadnezzar how God will punish the king for arrogance, then that the kingdom “will be restored” when Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges that God is God alone. For the terrified king, the hammer is going to fall.
Is God arrogant? Is God cocky for wanting all the glory and the praise for Himself? Only if you think you know more than He does. It ain’t cocky if you can do it, and God is the ultimate can-doer. Indeed, it is the Babylonian who’s arrogant in this account: arrogant for thinking it was He alone who made all the blessings and grandeur of Babylon. Nothing was made there without God allowing it, without God blessing Babylon so that it, too, a hive of paganism, might serve God’s high purposes.
Is God vengeful? Absolutely not. On the contrary, He’s merciful. He could have wiped out Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon, and anyone He wanted to. He always can. Instead, He was as patient with Nebuchadnezzar as He is with any of us. Sinful, bold, arrogant Nebuchadnezzar was, like you and me, one of God’s “very good” creations. He loved the man and wanted him to repent and turn to Himself.
Wait a minute. If God isn’t arrogant or vengeful, then why the God-pile on Nebuchadnezzar? Indeed, why hammer anyone? After all, Nebuchadnezzar did ‘great’ things in his life. Why not celebrate that? Foolish thought, you know, to assume that the clay is greater than the potter. Where do me or you come off thinking we know more than the one who spoke all things into existence (including the clay Nebuchadnezzar and his people used to build their fancy kingdom).
Strip away our pride and all of us have to admit that God blesses us whether we deserve it or not. That’s what Nebuchadnezzar had to learn.
For further reading: 1 Kings 21:29, Job 24:8, Psalm 41:3, Proverbs 28:13, Isaiah 55:6-7, Jeremiah 27:5, Ezekiel 18:22, Daniel 4:28
Lord God, You bless all people simply by Your loving us. All we have is from You. Thank You.
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