Sunday Night Bible Study

June 11, 1995

Daniel 4:1-37


I think it's important to keep in mind certain things that have happened to Daniel and his friends in the stay in Babylon.

Daniel 1 - Daniel and his friends take a stand and refuse to eat food that might hinder their relationship with God.

Daniel 2 - Nebuchadnezzar has a dream about a huge idol, of various metals.  Daniel is given the interpretation of the dream, that Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold, followed by various world empires.

Daniel 3 - Nebuchadnezzar doesn't want to be succeeded by another empire, so he builds a huge golden idol, demanding all to bow down to it.  Daniel's three friends refuse to worship anything other than Yahweh, and are thrown into the fiery furnace.  Nebuchadnezzar gets another demonstration of God's great power.

:1-3  Nebuchadnezzar's introduction

:2  I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me

This morning we looked at John 1, and talked a lot about the subject of witnessing.

We're going to hear a testimony from an ancient world leader himself.

He's simply going to share what God has done in his life.

This is how Nebuchadnezzar came to the Lord.

I believe we'll see Nebuchadnezzar in heaven someday, and you'll see why.

:4-18  Nebuchadnezzar's new dream

:4  at rest in mine house

When did this occur?

We don't know.

Nebuchadnezzar reigned for 43 years.

The first two chapters of Daniel occur in the first two years of his reign.

This chapter will cover a period of seven years, and he will still reign for a time after that as well.

According to the pagan historian Abydenus (c.268 b.c.), the events of this chapter occurred after Nebuchanezzar's campaign victories and after he had built his new palace in only fifteen days.

:5  I saw a dream

Oh no!  Not again!

Remember what happened last time he had a dream? (Dan.2)

:7  I told the dream before them

At least he's not expecting them to tell him the dream like he did last time.

:8  at the last Daniel came in

Why didn't they just ask Daniel first?

:8  Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god

Remember, Daniel had received a Babylonian name.

Belteshazzar = "lord of the straitened's treasure"

This was to help remove the influence of his old "god", and to make him more faithful to Babylon rather than Israel.

:8  the spirit of the holy gods

What Nebuchadnezzar sees in Daniel is the Holy Spirit.

But he, being a pagan, doesn't know what to call the Holy Spirit.

:9  master of the magicians

or, "chief" of the magicians

It's not that Daniel had picked up the Babylonian secret magic arts and learned them.

Remember, this was the man who refused to eat the king's food lest he hurt his walk with the Lord (Dan.1).

But Daniel, in following after the Lord, gained such godly wisdom from God that he rose to prominence among this group of "magicians".

:13  a watcher and an holy one

This is how Nebuchadnezzar is describing an angel.

It's just one person, described as both a "watcher" and as an "holy one".

:16  let his heart be changed from man's

We're already getting some sort of a clue about this tree.

It seems to be identified as a person, as a man.

This person would go insane, losing the mind of a man, and becoming like an animal.

:16  seven times pass over him

Or, seven seasons, or, seven years.

:17  This matter is by the decree of the watchers

Whatever is happening in this dream is something real that's going to happen, and it's going to happen for a specific purpose.

:17  to the intent that

The reason these things are going to happen to this tree are three:

1.  the most High ruleth

God is the ultimate ruler.

He is in control.

2.  giveth it to whomsoever he will

God puts in control whoever He wants to.

For example, Nebuchadnezzar might think that he gained control of the Babylonian empire through his own fighting, but in reality, it was only because God had put him there.

»Jeremiah 27:6-AV And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.

3.  setteth up over it the basest of men

The Aramaic word [email protected] means "low, lowliest (of station)"

This means that God can put even low, uncouth, slave-types over a kingdom if He wants to.

In a good way, we've seen it in the life of Joseph.

In a bad way, with Jeroboam, who was Solomon's servant.

It's not necessarily because a person is great or worthy of ruling that God allows them to rule.

God has His own purposes, and He sets up whom He wants.

:19-27  Daniel interprets the dream

:19  astonied for one hour

to be appalled, be stunned

Daniel was really bummed out at this dream.

It wasn't because he couldn't figure out what the dream meant, it was because he knew what the dream meant, but he didn't want to tell Nebuchadnezzar what it meant.

:19  be to them that hate thee

It's such a bad thing in the dream, that Daniel wishes it would happen to Nebuchadnezzar's enemies.

I think that Daniel kind of has a heart for his boss.

:22  It is thou, O king

The whole "tree-dream" was all about Nebuchadnezzar.


Love speaks the tough things too

We have gotten the impression that if we love somebody, we'll only say gooshy, nice things to them.

But if you really love somebody, you'll tell them the hard things too if they need to hear them.

»Proverbs 27:6-AV Faithful [are] the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy [are] deceitful.


Jay Leno's first encounter with the man he would eventually replace was less than auspicious.  "You seem like a very funny young man," Johnny Carson told him after catching his act at The Comedy Store. "But you don't have enough jokes."  Leno was devastated.  He recalls:

When I watched the Carson show I saw him do 15 or 20 jokes.  I realized I'd been doing only three and relying on clowning and gestures for the rest of the laughs.  I resented what Johnny had said, but I took it to heart and began honing my material.

A few years later, Carson asked me on his show.  I'll always be grateful to him for giving me real advice -- hard as it seemed at the time.

-- Peter Swet, Parade Magazine, as reprinted in the Reader's Digest, September 1992, p. 31

Norman Vincent Peale: "The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism."

But just because we have to say the hard things, doesn't mean that we have to say them cruelly either.

»Proverbs 12:18-AV There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise [is] health.

Watch how Daniel deals with his old friend, the tempermental Nebuchadnezzar.

:25  they shall drive thee

Who's the "they"?

It's the "watchers"

:26  thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known ...

»Daniel 4:26-NIV 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.

Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom was going to be safe, and would be returned to him, as soon as he would come to the realization that God is in control, not Nebuchadnezzar.

It's kind of like the story of Jonah:

Jonah was told to go preach in Nineveh, that hated capital of the horrible Assyrian empire.

He went the other way, and ended up in the belly of a great fish.

He stayed there for three days until he finally cried out to God for help, repenting of his rebellion.

»Jonah 1:17-AV Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

»Jonah 2:1-AV Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,

»Jonah 2:10-AV And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry [land].


God knows just how to get our attention.

Be careful not to think that every time a bad thing happens, that God is trying to get you to repent of something.

But sometimes when our hearts are a little stubborn or rebellious, He knows just the right thing, and we're swallowed by a fish!

:27  let my counsel be acceptable unto thee

Nebuchadnezzar hasn't actually asked for advice, only the interpretation.

Daniel is stepping out on shakey ground here, with old fiery-furnace Neb.

But he cares enough to confront.

:27  break off thy sins by righteousness ...


»Daniel 4:27-NIV ... Renounce your sins by doing what is right,

This has got to take a lot of guts for Daniel to be saying this to Nebuchadnezzar.

He's calling Nebuchadnezzar a sinner.

People don't like to hear that.

But you have to tell them anyway.

:27  a lengthening of they tranquillity

Maybe if Nebuchadnezzar turns over a new leave, this judgment won't occur.

It worked for the king of Nineveh.

He and the whole city repented, and God held back the destruction that was promised.

:28-37  The fulfillment

:28  All this came upon the king

It's kind of neat to see that Nebuchadnezzar apparently didn't pull any punches in his description of what happens.

He doesn't try to make it sound better than it was.

:30  great Babylon

Keep in mind that Babylon was indeed a great place.

It's description is mind boggling, with it's intricate walls, hanging gardens, etc.

:30  that I have built

This is where he gets into trouble.

:31  there fell a voice from heaven

The watchers have stepped in to take action.


You're being watched

Just the wording of this lesson is enough to make a person paranoid!

What you do in secret, or in your heart is important.

It's so important that God wants you to know that He's going to keep an eye on you.

It's not that God is just waiting for you to blow it so He can crack you over the head.

But He's watching to make sure you don't get yourself into danger.

Two of Satan's worse lies in tempting you are:

1.  "It's not that big of a deal"

Yes it is.

»Romans 6:16-AV Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?


Mary Tyler Moore has written an autobiography telling about her struggles with alcohol.

It started by going out for a few drinks after work.

All during the time her show was running, she never drank while acting, only after work.

But the drinking got harder and harder, more and more.

When her series was over, she was an alcoholic.

2.  "No one is watching anyways".

Oh yes they are.

You may think you're alone, but there are always angels around us, and most of all, God always sees.

We saw this morning that Jesus "saw Nathanael" before He met him.

Let those watching be an inspiration to holiness:

»Hebrews 12:1-2 AV Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

:33  did eat grass ... hairs were grown like eagles' feathers ...

This has got to be pretty humiliating to this king of kings.

He becomes an irrational being, and to make things worse, his hair and nails start growing in very embarrassing ways!

:34  lifted up mine eyes unto heaven

This is what God was waiting for.

It apparently took Nebuchadnezzar seven years to break this pride.

:35  none can stay his hand ...

God is all powerful.

When God decides to act, it happens.

:37  those that walk in pride he is able to abase

Here's Nebuchadnezzar's great lesson.


Humble your self before God has to

»1Peter 5:5-6 AV Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:


I've read about the pride that Robert Citron had in his financial dealings.  He was famous around the country for being able to give the highest financial return to investors.  Yet God allowed it all to come tumbling down.

We think we're in control and can hold it all together.

But in reality, we need God to guide us and to keep our lives together.