Most discussions on the book of Daniel will refer to ‘Daniel in the Lions Den’ and “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego”. They are amazing accounts of God’s provision. However, what caught my eye was that chapter 4 of the book of Daniel was written by Nebuchadnezzar. Now if you know anything about Ancient Babylon you know Nebuchadnezzar was the all powerful ruler of a big chunk of the world at this point in history. He was a very powerful man. And he is the King that God had destroy Israel and the city of Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar even took the items from the temple before he destroyed it. He was the man that God used to punish Israel for worshiping other gods.
In the book of Daniel we see that Nebuchadnezzar is able to recognize the God of Israel with respect. In chapter three of Daniel after witnessing Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego survive a burning furnace (he had ordered them to be thrown in for not bowing down to worship his golden statue) he said this:
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!
Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.
— Daniel 3:28-30
Nebuchadnezzar praised the one true God and promoted the three men to high positions in Babylon. However, it should be noted that Nebuchadnezzar still doesn’t seem to grasp that the God he is praising is the only God, because he refers to other gods simply being lesser by this statement. “There is no other god who can rescue like this!” But he just went from being in a mad rage at these men for disobeying him to this, so this is certainly a positive direction that Nebbby (Nebuchadnezzar) is heading in.
Now the next chapter is a message that Nebby sent to every race, nation and language. So what is written in chapter 4 was very important to Nebby, so important he wanted the entire world to know about it.
Here is my summary:
1. Nebby says exactly why he is writing this message. “I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me.”
1. Nebby has a bad dream.
2. Nebby calls all his wise men, magicians, etc. to interpret his dream. None can do it.
3. Daniel then comes and is able to interpret his dream. Basically it is an outline of a future soon to come for Nebby. And it is odd. It basically describes him losing his kingship, behave like a cow, and then he would come back as King.
4. The dream then comes true. Nebby crawls around on the ground behaving like a bovine for a long time.
5. Nebby’s sanity finally returns and he praises God.
My overall understanding of Chapter 4 is that Nebby was truly repentant. This is why he sent this message to every nation, race, and language. He wanted everyone to know the following about the one true God, the God of Israel:
His rule is everlasting,
and his kingdom is eternal.
All the people of the earth
are nothing compared to him.
He does as he pleases
among the angels of heaven
and among the people of the earth.
No one can stop him or say to him,
What do you mean by doing these things?
— Daniel 4:34-35
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.
— Daniel 4:37
We could focus on Nebby destroying Israel, and throwing some men into a burning furnace. But I think God wants to show us His grace and forgiveness to those who are repentant and desire to follow Him. And Nebby was not Jewish, so this account shows us God’s heart for all people once again, not simply an interest in Israel.
Now onto Hosea……