Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was dismayed for a while, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered and said, “Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies! ~ Daniel 4:19
As chapter 4 begins, we think all is going well. Nebuchadnezzar starts off speaking of the Most High God and what He has done for him. In verse 3 he says “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and his dominion endures from generation to generation.” So it would appear that he got it.
The second paragraph begins the change of mind yet again. Nebuchadnezzar has another dream that disturbs him. He calls in the troops to make known this dream. Of course after all the so called psychics fail to know what the dream was, Daniel shows up. Verse 8 says “at last Daniel came in before me—he who was named Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods”
Ok, let me stop there. How many people have prayed for others to just get it? To understand the love the Father has for them. When we finally see that they understand and praise God for who He is, they go back to their life quicker than we ask why. Is it because the roots were never formed? Could it be because they were faking it? Possibly, but I imagine that the plans go deeper than we can understand. I also wonder if some don’t feel that they deserve the love of this God that they believe in so they must go with the old stand by that hasn’t let them down. I know I have felt like this, actually we all have. Any time we go to that vice that so welcomes us away from the daily stress, we have been here.
Nebuchadnezzar, to me, seems clueless and frustrating, that is until I look in a mirror. He is no more evil than me. He is a grown man who acknowledges God, yet falls victim to what he has known. Let’s head back to his chambers to see what’s next.
When Daniel hears the dream, I love his reply in verse 19 “Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was dismayed for a while, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered and said, “Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies!” I love the love that Daniel has for Nebuchadnezzar. He knows the man is about to fall and he knows the reason is denying the only true God, yet he doesn’t want it to happen. So as flies on the wall, let’s see what Daniel says next in verses 20-26.
“The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived— it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth. And because the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field, and let him be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven periods of time pass over him,’ this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.”
There it is, not only the dream’s interpretation, but the warning. Could he have said it any plainer? Neb God is on to you, He has made you great and if you don’t clean up your act, you will be no more than the animals you feed. Call me crazy but it doesn’t appear that would make him change either.
Perhaps there are people in your life who are going no where fast. You warn them and they seem to get it. They know the consequence of the lifestyle that they are living but do not revere Him enough to change. Maybe they don’t think they are living life wrong, maybe they think God loves me enough to cover my wrong lifestyle. They may even throw the verse “past present and future” out to justify where they are in life. All the while God’s word follows that up with live as Christ (1 John 2:6). I can’t begin to get into the heads of others and why they do or believe what they do, however, I do know that without the word of God in their lives and the reverence to it, the only thing they will sow is death.
It didn’t take long before our filterless friend spoke up. It says in verse 29 that just twelve months later he spoke the words “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” I can just see you hit your forehead with your palm in frustration. So you can probably guess what happened. Yep, it says while the king was still saying the sentence, God spoke. He said “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Immediately, the word was fulfilled.
But this chapter does have a happy ending. It says that at the end of the time, his reason returned to him. He blessed and praised the Most High. He also told how his kingdom was restored to him. His lords and counselors sought him out and he was established in his kingdom. He went on praising God throughout the remainder of his reign. It is amazing how many chances God gives us. I mean seriously, Neb was like a ride at Cedar Point. He changed his mind and words more than the weather in Cleveland Ohio. But God, in all of His wisdom and might. In all of His splendor and Sovereignty. In all of His Holiness and Righteousness, gave Nebuchadnezzar another chance. Let’s pray:
“Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for second and third chances. Thank You for never giving up on us. Thank You Father for loving us when we don’t even comprehend what that means. Lord, You prove over and over in this world that You are the only way. We see headlines and shake our heads in disgust, yet You sit on the throne, waiting to embrace those who return to You in this time. We thank You God for never sleeping (psalm 121). We thank You for giving us light in this dark world. We pray for those who lost family members in Boston, be the God of peace to them. We pray for those who lost limbs, help them to discover the plans that You have for them. We pray for those that died, Lord, that You knew them and they may rest and dwell with You. I pray these things in the mighty, redemptive, loving name of Jesus Christ. Amen”