A King Becomes a Beast and Then Learns the Truth

A King Becomes a Beast and Then Learns the Truth

King Nebuchadnezzar was filled with pride because of the massive image he had made of gold. That image stood nine stories high and was nine feet wide at its base. Imagine how much gold it would have taken to make this image. His arrogance caused him to demand the gathering of all the government officials, even from the most distant reaches of the Babylonian kingdom. They were ordered to be present at the dedication of the image.

At that dedication, the king’s herald read the king’s message that when the signal was given every Babylonian who heard it was to immediately fall down and worship that golden image. Any person who did not bow before the image was to immediately be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Most people know how three Jewish young men refused to bow and, though cast into the furnace, were delivered by God.

The end of the story finds the pagan king affirming that there is only one God, asking who can deliver men from the fiery furnace. However, the king’s pride again surfaced in the very next chapter (Dan. 4). We know about this because of the account when Daniel was called for a second time to interpret the meaning of the king’s dream about a massive tree. It was cut down and became like a beast which grazes in the field. Later, another great tree grew from the original stump. Daniel explained the dream to the king.

The tree figuratively depicted the proud king, Nebuchadnezzar. The fact that he ruled the earth filled his heart with pride, and he thought his great abilities were the reason for his position. Daniel said, “The tree which you saw…it is you…who have grown and become strong; for your greatness …reaches to the heavens” (4:20-22). In the dream the king had seen a being from heaven coming down saying, “Chop down the tree and destroy it…let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field” (4:23).

Daniel then told the king’s destiny. “They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field…till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (4:25).

Read this entire chapter. It literally happened to the king and humbled him. His pride was gone, for he saw how small and insignificant he was. He became a worshiper of God.

What a lesson for men filled with pride. They had nothing to do with whatever makes them think they are better than others. What a comforting lesson for us in a world filled with evil rulers. Our God, the Almighty Holy One, rules this world. There is no place for pride in those who know this!


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