God Humbles the Proud Heart of Nebuchadnezzar
For seven years, God gave Nebuchadnezzar a heart like a beast's instead of a man's
NE NIGHT WHILE
Nebuchadnezzar lay asleep in his palace, God caused him to have another strange dream. This time when he awoke in the morning he remembered what the dream had been, and he wondered about its meaning. So he sent again for the wise Chaldeans, and told them about the dream that was troubling his mind.
The Chaldeans were glad because Nebuchadnezzar had remembered his dream; but when they listened to it they could not tell its meaning. So the King sent them away and called for Daniel. He believed that the spirit of Daniel's God dwelt in Daniel and caused him to understand the deepest mysteries. And he called Daniel the master of all his wise men.
Daniel listened while Nebuchadnezzar told the dream that was troubling him. And God caused Daniel to understand what the dream meant. But at first he was afraid to tell the King. For a whole hour he sat quietly, wondering that he should do.
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Do not be afraid, nor let the dream or its meaning trouble you." So Daniel took courage and spoke to the great ruler.
Now, the dream had been this: Nebuchadnezzar had seen a tree grow up in the earth and become so great that the top of it reached to the sky. Underneath its branches all the beasts of the field found shelter, and in its leafy boughs all the bird of the air made their nests.
And the people of the earth from the near and far came to eat of its fruit. Then Nebuchadnezzar had seen the Lord come down from heaven and cry out: "Cut down the great tree; cut off its branches, shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get away from under the shadow of it, and let the dew come upon it for seven years.
But let the stump of the great tree remain with its roots in the ground until the seven years be passed. Let this be, that all who live may know there is a God in heaven who rules over all the kingdoms of earth."
Daniel knew the dream was sent as a warning from God to the proud King. He knew Nebuchadnezzar was not willing to believe in the great God, who is over all.
But he spoke bravely and said, "This great tree which you have seen means you, for you have become a great king and you are known in every part of the land. And the meaning of that voice which you heard crying out that the great tree should be cut down is that you shall lose your kingdom for seven years and go out from men to live among the beasts of the field.
You shall eat grass like an ox, and the dew of heaven shall be upon you. But when you humble yourself and believe that the Most High God rules in the kingdoms of earth, giving them to whomever he pleases, then you shall return again to live among men and be restored to your kingdom."
Daniel knew that God is very merciful, and he believed that God would save the King from such severe punishment if only the King would quit his sins and do right. So he urged Nebuchadnezzar to turn away from his wicked doings and begin to live differently. Then he went back to his own house.
One year passed by, and nothing unusual happened. Perhaps Nebuchadnezzar almost forgot the strange dream, at least he did not try to do as Daniel had urged him to do.
He saw about him all the splendors of his kingdom and all the beauties of his palace grounds. He saw the famous city of Babylon, which he had helped to beautify, and his heart grew more proud and haughty.
Then one day as he walked about in his kingly palace, admiring the grandeur of his surroundings, he said, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for my own royal house by my own power and for my glory?"
And while he spoke the words a voice called him from heaven, saying, "O King Nebuchadnezzar to you it is spoken: The Kingdom is taken from you.!"
In that very hour the great king lost his mind and became like a wild beast. And the people were afraid of him, and they drove him out of the city. There he lived in the fields and ate grass like the oxen.
And his hair grew like eagle's feathers and his nails grew like claws. For seven years he roamed about in the fields, with a heart like a beast's instead of a man's. Then God allowed his mind to return again, and his heart to become like a man's heart, and Nebuchadnezzar rose up like a man and thanked God for his mercies, and praised him for his greatness.
When the people of Babylon saw that their King had returned again to their city with the mind of a well man, they welcomed him back.
And they honored him as their king just as they had done before. But Nebuchadnezzar did not forget the lesson that God taught him, and he no longer believed that his greatness and his glory had come by his own strength.
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