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Lesson # Dan. 4:19-22
Study Material - Dan. 4:19-22
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19 'Then Daniel, whose name is Belteshazzar, was appalled for a while as his thoughts alarmed him. The king responded and said, 'Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation alarm you.' Belteshazzar answered and said, 'My lord, if only the dream applied to those who hate you, and its interpretation to your adversaries! 20 'The tree that you saw, which became large and grew strong, whose height reached to the sky and was visible to all the earth, 21 and whose foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt and in whose branches the birds of the sky lodged-- 22 it is you, O king; for you have become great and grown strong, and your majesty has become great and reached to the sky and your dominion to the end of the earth.
Daniel was speechless, knowing and understanding the dream. Notice that Nebuchadnezzar was more on the quiet side as well. Before, what happened when Shadrach, Meshech, and Abed-nego graciously declined to worship the golden image? Well, Nebuchadnezzar went into the rage. He was not getting his way and so he got mad and ordered their execution. His attitude was, at that time, that he could do anything to anyone and there was nothing that anyone could do to stop it.
But now he has had time to reflect on this dream. An unusual dream that has come when the turbulence from enemy nations has settled down, a time when there is prosperity throughout the nation, but the King has imposed ruthless rule on the citizens of the empire (see verse 27). Nebuchadnezzar has been ruthless and merciless towards those who are unable to defend themselves.
Now the dream unfolds in his mind and he cannot prevent it. He has been able to do most anything that he has wanted to do, but this dream, he cannot stop. And a simple thing it is too. Just thoughts or visions in ones head. God can use the simplest things (a dream) to demonstrate His greater power.
Nebuchadnezzar most likely remembers the previous dream, the head of gold which was him, and the empire of Babylon, but he also probably remembers that that head must give way to later empires. He probably did not want to give up his rule, but then there is nothing he can do about the destiny of the human race. Even as great as he is, there are many things that are beyond his capability.
Now the quiet mood. Nebuchadnezzar is asking for the explanation and the interpretation of the dream. But does he really need them? Isn't he strongly suspicious of the answer already? Isn't he just looking for a confirmation of the answer that he already suspects? Will he go into a rage and throw Daniel into the furnace once he hears the answer? Well, no.
He can see the answer in the eyes of Daniel. Daniel is taken back at so great a judgment against Nebuchadnezzar. And Daniel confirms to the King that he, Nebuchadnezzar is that tree. The one whom God placed at the reigns of the empire to build it up and guide it to its greatness. To provide stability in a world that was otherwise unstable. But more than that, to provide an environment for the spreading and teaching of the Word of God. Which is exactly what Nebuchadnezzar should have recognized. In building up so great an empire, Nebuchadnezzar should have recognized it was his responsibility to insure and provide the mechanism for freedom, for liberty, for privacy, for opportunity for those who wish to pursue whatever endeavor they might choose in life. Not to guarantee these things. This is not a social government. But to insure the environment that will allow these things to blossom.
Nebuchadnezzar was on the right track up to a point, then it all went to his head, and most likely to the heads of those who followed and obeyed his commands of tyranny. His life had degenerated to that of sin and the production of sin - iniquity. He abused the law, he abused the rights of people. He commanded things in which people should have had the right of choice with no repercussions if they chose other than the Kings wishes.
Despite the corruption of government, the empire grew and achieved the greatness that God willed for it. A single empire that touched the ends of the earth for the purpose of letting people come to the knowledge of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Where in the Bible does it state that God desires for mankind to engage I business and social enterprise as his ultimate goal? Nowhere. But God does desire that all come to the knowledge of His Word, that all have the opportunity to be saved, that all have the opportunity to grow up in grace. And peace and prosperity is the best environment to accomplish that. It is much easier to attend Bible class when things are relaxed going well in your life, than when things are totally falling apart and chaotic in your life.
God provided the basis for the empire, not Nebuchadnezzar.
Nebuchadnezzar bids Daniel to go on with his interpretation without fear of retaliation against him. I think that Daniel had great stability in his life and was not fearful of being harmed by the King, but Daniel was cognizant of the judgment that was about to come upon the King, and probably wanted to explain it in as kind a way as possible. 'If only these things applied to his enemies...' But they did not.
Nebuchadnezzar had been given great blessings by God. He had been given a great empire and a name that would go on long after he was gone from the earth. His name and these events were even recorded in this book of Daniel, a book that will never be erased from history. So there is a high honor right in Nebuchadnezzar's lap, but he does not recognize it, or rather he refuses to accept it as coming only from God, and none of it as a result of his own abilities.
So we can look around ourselves and see the prosperity, if any, that we might have. And if none, then check your pulse and see if you are still breathing. If so, than God has a plan for your life regardless of your situation. Don't blow it by thinking more highly of yourself, and ignoring your daily Bible study. Just because nothing happens to you instantly when you get a little uppity in life, don't think that you are getting away with it for free. There is a price to pay and you will pay it, but at Gods timing not yours. Then again, why should any of us let things go that far? When we have a golden opportunity to advance into a great life right now?
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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