An Outline of chapter four –
I. A STATEMENT OF PRAISE FROM A KING (vv. 1-3).
II. A TROUBLING DREAM OF A NOT YET HUMBLED KING (vv. 4-7).
III. DANIEL AND THE DREAM (vv. 8-27).
IV. UNWILLING TO YIELD TO GOD A KING BECOMES A BEAST AND GOD’S PURPOSES ARE ACCOMPLISHED (vv. 28-37).
A STATEMENT OF PRAISE FROM A KING (vv. 1-3).
As we look at these three verses it becomes quite clear who is speaking. It is king Nebuchadnezzar. He has already been through the experience he describes, and is using it to glorify the Lord Almighty, or as he refers to Him in verse 37 “The King of heaven”. This seems to be the clearest testimony of a once proud, self-exalting king, who came to realize there is a higher King of kings who is worthy of praise.
In this chapter the king is sharing a personal testimony of his own experiences with God. If God had not changed him he would not be making this praise to Him. Nebuchadnezzar was a king. A king who had met the Lord, you might say in battle, and lost. Yet, it was a great gain for king Nebuchadnezzar.
I am sure the greatest humiliation the king experienced was not in praising the greater King, but during that time when he behaved like a beast of the field. Praise be to the KING OF HEAVEN for His sovereignty in the lives of kings and paupers.
THE TROUBLING DREAM OF A NOT YET HUMBLED KING (vv. 4-7).
The king begins sharing his testimony how everything all got started with his heart change. He tells that he had a very troubling dream. One which made little to no sense to him. He just knew it had a special meaning, but what.
He still has not learned who can know and interpret dreams, though. He calls for the ‘magicians, astrologer, Chaldeans, and soothsayers’ just as before, and just as before they failed to give understanding of the dream. It does seem that they do not try to deceive the king by asking for time.
At the time Nebuchadnezzar has the dream he is yet arrogant, proud, and has no confidence in the Lord GOD. Remember he has had Daniel tell him (because God had revealed it to him), not only the meaning of a dream, but also God showed Daniel the dream which the king dreamed. Also, God has delivered Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah through the fire, and from the fiery furnace. Both of these times Nebuchadnezzar has recognized the power of God, but not humbled himself before Him. “How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before Me?” (EX. 10:3),God asked of Pharoah, and though these exact words are not used here, the message is clearly the same. God is pursuing Nebuchadnezzar for His own. God is in pursuit of you.
DANIEL AND THE DREAM OF THE KING (vv. 8-27).
Daniel finally appears before the king. Why Daniel was last is beyond comprehension. You would think that Nebuchadnezzar would have called the one with the most notable success with dreams and interpreting as at the first. That does not seem to be what happened though.
The dream was of a tree. A tree of great height, and breadth. It seemed to cover the earth. In Scripture a tree seems to represent a kingdom: for instance – the tree which grew out of a mustard seed (Matthew 13:310-32); Jesus cursed the fig tree because it bore no fruit (Matthew 21:19; Mark 11:13-14,20), and the fig tree seems to represent Israel (Hosea 2:12; 9:10).
NOTICE THE CONFIDENCE NEBUCHADNEZZAR HAS IN DANIEL (v. 18).
We can be assured that Daniel was a praying man, and was well studied in the way of God. The request of the king was not as difficult as the first one, but Daniel still had to deliver God’s message.
After spending an hour ‘astonished’ and most likely praying he is troubled. Daniel evidently didn’t like the interpretation. He certainly did not like the idea of telling the king, “Let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee.” was the kings decree when he saw Daniel’s troubled face.
Prophets in those days could lose their heads for giving kings unpleasant messages.
THE INTERPRETATION –
First of all the king would become like a beast of the field;
“The order to fell the great tree was prophetic of temporary form of insanity known as lycanthropy in which a man imagines himself to be some form of animal. The word derives from the Greek lukos, OR ‘wolf’, and ‘anthropos’, meaning ‘man’. BELIEVER’S STUDY BIBLE.
Secondly, the tree represented Nebuchadnezzar;
Third, ‘Watcher’ and ‘holy one’ – God notices the proud of heart; is holy and will cut this king down to size;
Fourth, ‘they’ of verse 25 probably refers to the ‘watcher’ and ‘holy one’;
Fifthly, Seven times most likely is 7 years;
Finally, ‘Leave a stump’ – assurance of Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom continuing for awhile after this judgment and it being returned to Nebuchadnezzar.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS JUDGMENT –
1. To encourage Nebuchadnezzar to cease from sin;
2. To humble the king to recognize the God of all creation and nations.
Daniel calls the king to turn to the LORD.
UNWILLING TO YIELD TO GOD HE BECOMES A BEAST, AND GOD’S PURPOSES ARE ACCOMPLISHED (vv. 28-37).
How can we think that proud, haughty, arrogant people will turn to being Beasts. Think of Romans 1:18-32. Verse 21 says it clearly, “Because that when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imagination and their foolish hearts were darkened.” You can see the result of what happens when people refuse to yield to God, by reading the verses which follow in that chapter.
It happened to Nebuchadnezzar just as he was warned in the dream – a short twelve months later – a whole year. This speaks volumes of God’s mercy. God gave him a year to repent and change his way.
It happened on a day of his boasting. Watch out in your arrogance and pride.
How long was this judgment to last? “Until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdoms of men and gives it to whoever He wills.” (v. 32). No king or kingdom of men is without the sovereign, ruling hand of God.
Nebuchadnezzar turned his eyes toward Heaven ‘at the end of the days…’ . He praised and honored God as sovereign and having an everlasting kingdom (v. 34). Remember this is the testimony of Nebuchadnezzar.
He was returned to the throne. Ruling as a new king with a new heart. He had seen the True King – the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
Did the king change? Read verse 37, “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.” It looks like a new king with a new heart to me. WOW!!! God can and will have His way in the hearts of kings and paupers and the common man. Yes, that includes women too.