All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox. 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.” Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird. Daniel 4:28-33 (NIV).
It was no ordinary judgment that God decreed for Nebuchadnezzar. Indeed, though God loves us each uniquely, I suspect He was really trying to reach out to Nebuchadnezzar in ways He didn’t to others. After all, have you ever had God talk with you from heaven? Yeah, me neither.
Then again, I’ll count that as a blessing because, in this case, He decreed some very severe punishment for Nebuchadnezzar and his pride. That’s because, while God must have had a special love for Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had a special, haughty love for himself. He looked around and saw the truly magnificent splendor of Babylon and refused to give the Lord His due. When he saw the tall buildings, instead of praising God for the talents of others, he commended himself. When he observed the beautiful gardens and artwork, he praised himself instead of praising God for the eyes that see beauty. When he realized glory, he kept it for himself instead of giving it to the one who gave him the life in which he could even understand glory.
Is it any wonder, then, that God would want to take down Nebuchadnezzar’s pride?
What’s even more astounding about this teachable moment is that God didn’t smite Nebuchadnezzar. Instead, God taught him a lesson. God had mercy on Nebuchadnezzar in hopes that he (and those around him) would repent and seek God’s face. Imagine how the world of the time could have changed if that had happened.
Imagine how our world today could change if only we’d do the same. Think of that the next time the hammer falls in your life.
For further reading: Numbers 23:19, 2 Samuel 22:28, Job 9:12, Job 24:8, Isaiah 13:19, Habakkuk 1:11, Daniel 4:34
Lord, all praise and glory to You: the source of all blessing.
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