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Daniel 4
Nebuchadnezzar tells us how he became a follower of God


Scripture reading: 2 Chronicles 33:1-23 (A great parallel to Daniel 4-5)

Last week we began a study of the book of Daniel.

The big application of last week was this: Dare to be a Daniel.

As Daniel resolved not to defile and pollute himself and stood up for what he knew was right, so we are too.

While we focused on Daniel last week, this week we are going to focus on King Nebuchadnezzar

We know a lot about King Nebuchadnezzar

-Chapters 1-4 of Daniel are all about him
-He was a Babylonian king
-He ruthlessly conquered the known world
-He was an idol worshipper
-He was an incredibly proud man
-He built a 90 tall gold statute and demanded that all worship it
-His word was law. He could kill whom he wanted, take what he wanted, elevate who he wanted
-The city of Babylon that he built was a wonder to behold (the famed hanging gardens- known as one of the 7 wonders of the world- was there)
-The city was considered unconquerable (huge walls -high and thick)
-By the prophecies of God, he conquered Judah- destroying the city of Jerusalem and leveling the Temple of Lord
-According to the book of Daniel -In earthly terms His was the greatest kingdom that this world has seen.

Nebuchadnezzar became a follower of God. I bet this was the one thing you hadn't thought about

-Daniel 4 is a surprising passage because it contains the words and testimony of Nebuchadnezzar.
-Daniel 4 is a amazing passage of Scripture because it depicts Nebuchadnezzar as a worshipper of God and as our brother in faith.
-In essence, Daniel 4 is Nebuchadnezzar's account of how he became a follower of God.

To learn more: Let's read Nebuchadnezzar's testimony together: READ Daniel 4

LESSONS OF THE TEXT

1. NO ONE IS BEYOND THE GRACE, MERCY, AND LOVE OF GOD

Consider the testimony of the Apostle Paul as found in 1 Timothy 1:12-17

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."

The gratitude, joy, humility, and expressions of praise that Paul exudes are similarly found by Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4.

The reason we read 2 Chronicles 33 this morning, a text concerning King Manasseh was to further illustrate the point that God can save and transform anybody. No one is beyond the grace, mercy, love, and transformative power of God.

Since God saved Manasseh, Nebuchadnezzar, and Paul; that means He can save and forgive anybody

Further implication: The halls of Heaven are populated by sinners saved by grace. Heaven is not a place filled with people who earned their way there. Heaven is a gift. Eternal life is a gift given by God to people who humble themselves before Him and lift up their eyes and hearts to him in repentance and faith.

Hear the call of the Scriptures: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.

2. GOD'S METHODS IN BRINGING PEOPLE INTO RELATIONSHIP WITH HIMSELF ARE SURPRISING AND VARIED. WHAT'S YOUR STORY?

Nebuchadnezzar's journey to faith and worship began with his conquest of Jerusalem, with his taking into service Daniel and his 3 friends.

Nebuchadnezzar's journey to faith involved dreams sent to him from God-- dreams that he did not understand, dreams that God enabled Daniel to know, understand, and explain.

Nebuchadnezzar's journey to faith involved the miraculous-- for after having a temper tantrum over the image that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship, God sent his angel to deliver- Nebuchadnezzar witnessed this with his own eyes.

Nebuchadnezzar's journey to faith included his hearing Daniel call him to repentance for his sins, pride and rebellion.

Nebuchadnezzar's journey to faith and worship of God resulted in his experiencing 7 years of insansity and madness-essentially living as a wild animal, ostracized from society. Historians record that from the years 582 B.C to 575 B.C that there are no records of Nebuchadnezzar doing anything. It was during these years that Nebuchadnezzar was out in the fields. By this, God broke him-- and by the grace of God, Nebuchadnezzar lifted up his eyes to God in faith and repentance.

WHAT'S YOUR STORY OF SALVATION?


Here's a neat thing:

Nebuchadnezzar was not ashamed of God's saving work. Nebuchadnezzar was not ashamed of his story. He wanted the world to know- so he published it to all corners of the kingdom that God had given him. Herein is a lesson for us. Such also reminds me of the words of Paul in Romans 1:16a "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes"


3. GOD HATES PRIDE

Some Bible verses

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor. Proverbs 29:23

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Isaiah 5:21

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12

As part of his testimony, Nebuchadnezzar tells us of how terribly proud he was before God humbled him.

Nebuchadnezzar's pride

-He built a 90 foot tall statute out of gold to honor himself, demanding worship of it. Yet he came to learn that God alone is worthy of worship and praise
-He thought the world that he had conquered was his doing. Yet he came to know that all that he had came from God
-He thought he was in control, he thought he was sovereign. Yet he came to know that God is in control. God is sovereign over all
-He thought he was powerful. Yet he came to know God's power and conversely, his weakness
-He thought what he had built was an awesome testament to his wisdom and might. Yet he came to know that God's kingdom is eternal and that his wisdom and might are supreme
-He thought he was beyond the reach of God (Daniel warned him of God's coming judgment against him, he ignored the divine message). Yet he came to to know that his life and sanity were in the hands of God.

Nebuchadnezzar's not the only person who full of pride

-the world is populated with people who think they are awesome, who think they are better, who revel in their so called accomplishments, who have a "chip" on their shoulders

We need to be on guard against pride in our lives because

1. God hates pride-- don't be high on yourself!
2. He humbles the proud--as Charles Spurgeon once commented "All of God's arrows are aimed at proud hearts"
3. The reality is that all of the abilities that we have all that we possess come from the gracious hands of God.


Whenever pride rears it's ugly head, the immediate call we must heed is to humbly repent and give God the glory and credit.


4. HEARTFELT PRAISE: A MARK OF A BELIEVER

Daniel 4 is a letter of praise to the Lord that Nebuchadnezzar wrote and had published throughout his entire empire.

In this letter of praise Nebuchadnezzar speaks candidly of his sin, pride, rebellion, and his humbling- while all the while, he lifts up God in praise.

The praise and openness of Nebuchadnezzar serves as an indicator to me that Nebuchadnezzar was a true believer.

When one thinks about the various marks of a Christian, heartfelt praise from our lips is a mark.

God is our worthy of our worship and praise

The Bible commands that we sing in praise of him. 1 Chronicles 16:9 says; "Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works!"

Regardless of our present circumstances, we have much to praise and thank God for.

Are you rendering it? When we sing, do you sing? Do you sing around the house? Is thanks part of your prayer life?

CONCLUSION

It seems to me that Daniel 4 is a passage that tells us how Nebuchadnezzar came to be a follower of God. It's his testimony of how God changed his heart and life.

Nebuchadnezzar's conversion/salvation proves this point: no one is beyond the mercy, grace, and love of God.

When one thinks about the path that Nebuchadnezzar took to knowing God, we are reminded that God's methods in bringing people to Himself are varied and surprising. What's your story? Every follower of Christ has one.

One of the big lessons of Daniel 4 is this: God hates pride. Pride comes before a fall. Conversely, those who humble themselves before Him- He lifts them up.

Lastly: God is worthy of our praise. Heartfelt praise and worship is a mark of God's followers.


"Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. Psalm 150