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March 29, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“And the king answered and said, ‘Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?’”—Daniel 4:29-30 (ESV)
Nebuchadnezzar is one of the most fascinating characters in the entire Bible. Initially, we look at the life of this ancient Babylonian Monarch and assume we don’t have much in common with him. And yet, as we dig a little deeper into his story and see the spiritual side of his existence, we come to discover that he’s a lot like us.
For instance, like us, Nebuchadnezzar had a sin problem. His sin was different than ours. He was tempted to dwell on the glories of his empire’s accomplishments. As he cast his gaze over the strength and wealth of Babylon, the epicenter of earthly power at that time, he was drawn to pat himself on his back. But he had been warned by Daniel to resist this urge and to humble himself before the God of all glory.
But he didn’t. He gave into his sin, as we do. And as with us, there were consequences for his sin: “While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you . . .’” (Daniel 4:31-32 ESV).
God decreed that Nebuchadnezzar would lose his mental capacity to act human for seven years! He would behave like an animal until he was thoroughly stripped of the sense of reveling in his own glory. God knew exactly what was needed and how long it was needed for, which is also true for us when God allows us to experience our own consequences of sin. And God’s ultimate objective for Nebuchadnezzar is also His purpose for us: “Until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will” (Daniel 4:32 ESV).
Just like Nebuchadnezzar, we need to know who God is. We need to understand He rules, not us; that the most important thing in life is His will, not ours! It often takes the consequences of our sin to teach us this. It’s not always the most welcome tutor, but it’s often the most effective one in leading us to know our God as He needs to be known.
DIG: On what level is Nebuchadnezzar a lot like us?
DISCOVER: What are some spiritual connection points we have with him?
DO: Reflect on why God allows consequences in the lives of His people. Consider what this says about Him and what it is meant to do for your life. Think of a time when you experienced consequences in your life. What did God show you through it?