SERIES: Living As Exiles: The Book of Daniel

TEXT: Daniel 4:27-37

MESSAGE: How the Fallen Can Rise


“This generation has been taught to expect and prepare for having it all…When overwhelmed by all you could do, how do you decide what you should do without having a nervous breakdown?…the numbers show this generation is facing unprecedented challenges when it comes to issues of mental health, anxiety, and staying sane and safe…Previously unimaginable complexity is creating an epidemic of anxiety in our homes and heads that is ratcheted up in the hearts of the next generation.” — David Kinnaman & Mark Matlock

TEXT: Daniel 4:27-37

Q: What led to Nebuchadnezzar’s horrific fall and remarkable rise, and what can we learn from this today? 

There are three lessons: (1. Ignored the Warnings 2. Stripped of Dignity 3. Restored by God)

  1. Ignored the Warnings (v. 27-30)

Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.” 28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”

“A culture that allows the concept of ‘safety’ to creep so far that it equates emotional discomfort with physical danger is a culture that encourages people to systematically protect one another from the very experiences embedded in daily life that they need in order to become strong and healthy…Education should not be intended to make people comfortable; it is meant to make them think.”   Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt

v. 27 — “Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”

“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” — Romans 2:4

“God appears to have given Nebuchadnezzar an extended opportunity to repent of his hardness of heart and to make amends for his arrogant empire building. Not only did He send him dreams to disturb him and a Daniel to instruct him and warn him, but He also gave him an extended period of months during which he could have turned from his sin…As the weeks passed and the promised terrible judgment did not eventuate, perhaps he assumed the the experience had been simply a ‘bad dream…(he) made the most fatal mistake an individual can make. He assumed that he would interpret God’s activity by his own plumb line.”  — Sinclair Ferguson

          2. Stripped of Dignity (v. 31-33)

“Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.” 33 Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.”

“God is showing us that pride defaces your humanity. God was saying to Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Nebuchadnezzar, listen to me. Because you insisted on trying to become more than what I made you, you will become less than what I made you. Because you aspired to be more than a man, you’ve become less than a man.” — Timothy Keller

           3. Restored by God (v. 34-37)

“At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” 36 At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”

“It is worth noticing where Nebuchadnezzar’s eyes are directed at the beginning and the end of his time of judgment. At the beginning of the episode he is on a lofty perch…comparing his glory to that of other men and glorifying himself. He thought of himself as the center of the universe…this is exactly what pride does: it locates the self at the center of the universe, glorifying in its own achievements, and putting everyone else in second place…The eyes of pride are thus always fixed on myself and my performance, in a way that leaves no room for looking upwards to God. It is significant that the end of (his) humbling and the return of his reason came when he took his eyes off himself and lifted them to heaven in an act of supplication and dependance.” — Iain Duguid

TAKEAWAYS: How can the fallen rise?

  • Seek God’s interpretation

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” — John 14:6

“Christians must be critical thinkers and question the assumptions and conclusions presented to us. We shouldn’t simply accept the issues as they’ve been framed by political parties, ideological tribes, or the media – because these sources usually aren’t analyzing the issues from the standard of the gospel.”  Justin Giboney

  • Face the facts

“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” — 1 Peter 4:17

  • Look to Heaven

“Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains, 11 because they rebelled against God’s commands and despised the plans of the Most High. 12 So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help. 13  Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 14 He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. 15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, 16 for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.” — Psalm 107:10-16

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