This Week’s Focus Passage: Daniel 4:34 ‘Mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most
This Week’s Focus Passage: Daniel 4:34
‘Mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High.’
The beginning of the account of Nebuchadnezzar’s marvelous, and most amazing, ‘transition,’ is a dream that the king had, which troubled him greatly. “I saw a dream which made me afraid; and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream.” After his usual sources of magicians, soothsayers, and enchanters, failed to give him an interpretation of his dream, until at last Daniel was brought before the king. This Daniel was one in whom the king had confidence toward, even saying to him, “O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.” Nebuchadnezzar then told to Daniel the dream that he had seen, and Daniel gave to him the interpretation. Daniel, whose name had been changed to Belteshazzar, was shocked when the interpretation was given him by God, and he told the king, in the following words; “My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine adversaries.” In other words, it was not favorable to the king, but Nebuchadnezzar told Daniel to carry on, and give to him the interpretation that the Most High had been pleased to give him.
So Daniel obediently continued to explain the things that the king had seen in his dream, or vision. It was indeed a most puzzling account, and full of metaphors, yet Daniel was enabled to give the king the explanation. Of the tree that the king had seen, Daniel told him that ‘It is thou, O king,’ that are grown strong, even as this tree that thou didst see, was grown strong so that it was huge, and provided a shelter for many birds. Also, this tree was exceeding tall, and bore much fruit. Yet, the dream contained, in this account, that a ‘watcher’ and a ‘holy one’ came down from and commanded that this tree be cut down, and that the stump be left. Also that it was told that this stump, apparently the king himself, would be left among the beasts of the field until a certain time. An explanation was additionally given, that all this came upon the king in order that he would come to know that the Most High rules in the heavens and gives rule to men according to His own will. Daniel added his counsel to the king, after he had brought to a conclusion the interpretation given:
Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor: if there may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.—Daniel 4:27.
Sadly, however, the ‘story’ continues, as we read in the very next verse, that; All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. It seems very deliberate, that the next verse informs the reader, that the king had not become significantly changed; rather, he conspicuously appears to have continued his views of his own superiority. Indeed, we hear his boasting and braggadocio echo as he walked in the royal palace: The king spake and said, Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for the royal dwelling-place, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty? It is very conspicuous in the response from heaven that he had not surrendered his pride;
While the word was in the kiing’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken: the kingdom is departed from thee: and thou shalt be driven from men; and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field.
What we are here witnessing is, of course, the fulfilling of the threat made by way of the dream given by God, to this king Nebuchadnezzar calling him to repentance. Daniel reinforced this call with the explanation, this call for repentance from heaven.
The tale which follows is the very carrying out of that warning. That which we may, or may not, learn from such a call to repentance given from above, in whatever form may be employed in its deliverance to the intended individual. Our merciful, loving God often, in His providential power, sends such a message to persons, but He does not always do so, and many are swept away in their ignorance and in their sin.
When Jehovah so chooses to send a warning, as in this case, the persons so warned ought to, hopefully in time, consider what a blessing it is, and a call to repent. In this case of Nebuchadnezzar, we witness his being subjected to this supernatural
bringing of him down. This being brought down often results in being brought to the Savior of the world through repentance and faith. In the case of this Babylonian king, we happily witness what we perceive to be the “radical change,” that gifting of a new heart. For we next witness this man having been made to “eat grass as oxen, and seven times passing over him [whatever that represents, time is in the hands of God]; and, most importantly, being brought to himself. We joyfully read the 34th verse:
And at the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation…….none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
Many, if not most, writers believe that this is a case of true conversion. Verse 37, seems to contribute evidence of the regenerating grace of the Lord God of heaven:
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven; for all his works are truth, and his ways justice; and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. E. J. Young has written in his comments:
“The climax of the edict is reached in this public confession. It has been debated among Christian interpreters whether Nebuchadnezzar was truly converted. Calvin denied the conversion, and in this he has been followed by Hengstenberg, Pusey, and Keil. The matter is difficult to determine, and perhaps cannot be determined.” My thoughts have gone, almost immediately to the account in Mark 5:1ff. of the one referred to by many writers as the Gerasene Demoniac. The account is very familiar. This man ‘who had an unclean spirit’ came running when Jesus and His disciples came into the country of the Gerasenes and this man, whose behavior is spoken of so clearly as that of a maniac of some sort. Yet, when he saw Jesus from afar, he came running, crying with a loud voice. Jesus said, “Come forth, thou unclean spirit,” causing this poor man, or the unclean spirit in him, to cry out, “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I adjure thee by God, torment me not.” These are the unclean spirits which Christ “gave leave” to enter a nearby herd of swine;” swine that immediately plunged themselves into the sea. This caused some men to come from the nearby city to inquire as to what had taken place. The key here, and the connection I believe with Nebuchadnezzar’s case, is that these men came and found this “demoniac” clothed, sitting and in his right mind. Our God does not tie Himself to methods, but He is the only One that can, and does, and will, bring both men with unclean spirits, and yes, kings of Babylon, to their right minds.
David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church
More in This Week's Focus Passage
December 3, 2022This Week’s Focus Passage: John 17:23 ‘That the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst
November 26, 2022This Week’s Focus Passage: Revelation 2 & 3 ‘.These things saith’
November 19, 2022This Week’s Focus Passage: Daniel 4:34 ‘Mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most