Roughly 2,600 years ago, the most dominant and deadly superpower on the earth was Babylon, which is modern day Iraq. Their tyrant king Nebuchadnezzar set up a gigantic golden image of himself. The Jews which he had appointed to rule with Daniel over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not bow down and worship Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image.
“Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” Daniel 3:13-15
God delivered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace and this was Nebuchadnezzar’s response
“King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me. How great are His signs, how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion endures from generation to generation.” Daniel 4:1-3
Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged God but in a second dream which Daniel also interpreted God had not finished humbling him, Nebuchadnezzar was warned by God that if he did not humble himself and repent of his sin within one year, he would lose his mind.
“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.” Daniel 4:24
That very thing happened and, returning to the throne after wandering around the yard eating grass and sleeping outside for seven years, he sent forth an official state letter explaining this complex and confusing season of his life and acknowledging God’s sovereignty over the earth.
“At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and He does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand or say to Him, “What have you done?” Daniel 4:34-35
From Nebuchadnezzar’s experience three big questions arise that everyone needs to answer,
- Are you really and truly investing your life to build God’s Kingdom, or some other empire like your business, family, or even ministry that are not truly for God?
2. Do you worship the “Most High God” alone, or do other rulers like people, pleasure, power, prestige, or peace get the best of your time, energy, and money?
3. Who gets the glory in your life story? If you get the glory in your life story, then it’s a biography. If God gets the glory in your life story, then it’s a testimony. The reason Nebuchadnezzar went crazy for seven years is because he took the credit/glory for all the success in his life. It took a catastrophic experience in Nebuchadnezzar’s life in order for him to talk about God in a grateful and humble way. Sadly, for most of us, it will take a catastrophe in our life before we repent and acknowledge God’s sovereignty.