Fierce, Cruel, Proud King Nebuchadnezzar – a Believer???
Can you believe it? Who would think that this king – the one who destroyed the Jewish temple and took God’s people into captivity in Babylon – would write a chapter in the Hebrew Bible?
Anyone who has God in a religious box – surprise! He won’t be reduced to our small images of Him.
So how did this all happen? Remember how many times God revealed Himself to King Nebuchadnezzar? First the dream that only Daniel could reveal and interpret, then the rescue of Daniel’s three friends from the fiery furnace – revealing God’s awesome benevolent power. Each time, God revealed Himself to Nebuchadnezzar, who acknowledged Him each time – but only as Daniel’s God, or Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s God – not his.
God didn’t want an arm’s-length relationship with Nebuchadnezzar any more than He wants that with any of us. God wasn’t the God of only the Israelites or the Jews. In His mercy, He was reaching out to save even an enemy of His and His people’s – and was using Daniel as His instrument.
So now we have a third dream of Nebuchadnezzar’s, and again Daniel’s interpretation, but this one was the final blow – strike three, so to speak. God won’t play games with us for very long, and Nebuchadnezzar’s game was over.
In this dream Nebuchadnezzar saw a huge tree that filled the earth and fed all people. But a command came from heaven to cut it down and leave a stump with his roots. Notice – “his” roots. Now the tree represented a man who would become like a beast for seven years.
Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that he was that tree, whose dominion covered the earth, but that he would be driven from his kingdom to eat grass like an ox for seven years until he absolutely knew that God rules in the kingdom and gives it to whomever He will.
And so it happened exactly as Daniel prophesied – one year later, during which Daniel urged him to repent, but he would not. As he stood surveying HIS Babylon, boasting that HE had built it through HIS own power, and for HIS own majesty, the gavel fell, and he was driven out into the fields where he lived like a beast for seven years.
At the end of this time, he came to his senses and, as a humble man, blessed and praised God who he acknowledged had dominion over an everlasting kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom was restored, but now his tune was changed. He proclaimed with praise and honor that God was the Most High – and finally recognized Him as not only other people’s God – but the God of all.
I expect to see Nebuchadnezzar when I get there – what do you think?