Nebuchadnezzar’s New Humility: Daniel 4:34–37

Nebuchadnezzar’s New Humility: Daniel 4:34–37

We are not so far removed from Nebuchadnezzar, and like him, we deserve to be humbled by God. In fact, we deserve far worse than the king received in this account. Although God set us above the animals as bearers of His own image, we desire to be gods instead. For such a transgression against God’s holiness, we ought to be brought far lower than even that of a beast, which is exactly what will happen to all who refuse to repent. Those who reject Christ will forever be cast “into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). They will share the same eternal fate as the demons.

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?”

At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

Daniel 4:34-37 ESV

After the time of madness, Nebuchadnezzar lifted his eyes to heaven, which was an outward sign of his newly humbled frame of mind. Only then was his reason restored to him. Twice the king tells us of his restored mind, and twice he follows with praise to God. He remarks in verse 36 that still more greatness was added to me; however, this appears to be an almost incidental fact now that he knows something of the greatness of God. Three quick notes are worth pointing out. First, while Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image appeared to be his declaration of the never-ending glory of his kingdom, now the king ascribed to God an everlasting dominion and his kingdom endures from generation to generation (v. 34). Second, he now calls God the King of heaven (v. 37), acknowledging God as a greater king than himself. Third, he understands that God targeted his pride, saying, those who walk in pride he is able to humble (v. 37).

Nebuchadnezzar’s great sin was pride, but the rest of humanity holds no bragging rights over him.

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