In the 4th chapter of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar is struck down by God for claiming glory that did not belong to him. Nebuchadnezzar’s final confession praised God, debased humanity, and lifted up God as ultimately sovereign over all things (Daniel 4:34-35). Two lessons should be gleaned from this experience.
1) God does not need your permission to do whatsoever he pleases. He humbled Nebuchadnezzar and brought him to contrition. God can bring the most reprehensible hater of Christ to their knees. He did so also with the apostle Paul. As the Psalmist states, “Thy people shall be willing in the day if thy power” (Psalms 110:3). God does not need your permission.
2) All glory belongs to God. Why was Nebuchadnezzar brought into the humiliating circumstances that drove him to make the above confession? He was brought low because he took glory that did not belong to him by saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30). If God takes the glory of temporal prosperity so seriously that he struck down Nebuchadnezzar, how much more should we expect him to take the glory that belongs to him for the salvation of sinners?
Both observations should comfort believers. It’s liberating to not seek our own glory. We are personally offended less when we understand our ego doesn’t matter. Likewise, knowing that our God is above all of our problems. God is not surprised, nor dethroned just because trials come. God’s sovereignty, whether in life or salvation, should never be a rock of offense, but instead, it should be a bed of rest.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Originally published February 2019