King Nebuchadnezzar sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world:
“Peace and prosperity to you!
“I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me.
How great are his signs,
how powerful his wonders!
His kingdom will last forever,
his rule through all generations.
Daniel 4:1-3 New Living Translation
In Daniel 4 we see the lengths to which God will go to make His greatness known to Nebuchadnezzar and the lengths to which pride pushes Nebuchadnezzar in refusing to acknowledge God. The form of the account is interesting since it appears to be written as if the author of Daniel is quoting a letter written by Nebuchadnezzar telling his experience. This chapter gives an account of a seven-year period in which Nebuchadnezzar experiences a strong mental illness and how this brought him to a place of humbling himself before Yahweh. Nebuchadnezzar begins his account with the strongest confession of faith he had made up to this point. Whatever Nebuchadnezzar experienced during this seven-year period, he was now convinced of the greatness of the God of the Hebrews, Yahweh.
Nebuchadnezzar had a reputation for a great intellect and was known as a great administrator in how he carried out his role as king. The capital of the Babylonian Empire was at it’s highest point during his reign and is still one of the most interesting archaeological sites in its region. So, Nebuchadnezzar had much to be proud of. His refusal to acknowledge God as the source of this greatness brought a curse on Nebuchadnezzar, though. The period of insanity he experienced left him living like an animal and eating grass. It would have been the most humiliating experience for a king of his prominence. Still, God used this experience to bring Nebuchadnezzar to a place that he was able to acknowledge the greatness of God. The king who often concerned himself with the future of his kingdom and those who would come after him finally acknowledges that it is God’s kingdom that will last beyond any other kingdom, through all generations.
God has given each of us many gifts. We have a choice if we will use those gifts for our own self-promotion or for His glory and the advancement of His purposes. As we move in our areas of giftedness, though, we need to be careful to not be prideful and acknowledge God as the source of our talents and blessings. We may not suffer as great of a trauma as Nebuchadnezzar did, but God will not allow us to go on in own strength without challenges.
God, thank you for the ways you have gifted us. Help us to always acknowledge You as the source of our talents and to use them according to Your priorities.