Nebuchadnezzar was one of the greatest conquerors in the history of our world. He came to dominate the people of many nations. He possessed power, fame, and wealth. At one point, he even considered himself to be a god. But, like so many others, he lacked the one thing he needed the most: peace. His insecurities wouldn’t allow him to be at peace with himself. So how could he be at peace with others? He was a man who was unhappy with himself and hostile toward the people around him. Can you relate?
Nubuchadnezzar never truly discovered the peace that could’ve been found had he surrendered his life to God. He did everything he could to maintain his power over others. Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? When they walked out of the fiery furnace unscathed, Nebuchadnezzar realized that he’d been thwarted by God. He also saw that the three who surrendered their lives to God had far greater power at their disposal than even he had. Despite his recognition of God’s power, however, the king’s pride continued to get the best of him.
Nebuchadnezzar continued to brag about his greatness and claimed that he alone was responsible for the great city of Babylon. He refused to recognize that all power’even his power’was granted by God. Subsequently he never understood the blessing of peace that comes with surrendering to God. Do you know this blessing of peace?
Men, God has a way of showing us that we don’t know as much as we think we do. And He will certainly act when we need to be shown that we don’t know better than He does.
That’s what happened to King Nebuchadnezzar, who had to learn a serious lesson in humility. Talk about a severe act of mercy: For seven years, this once proud king was struck with a mental illness that caused him to roam the pastures outside the palace and chew grass like a cow. After paying the price for his pride, the once self-sufficient and self-centered king said: ‘Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble’ (Daniel 4:37). In this confession, three things are key for me: the words ‘everything,’ and ‘all,’ and the phrase ‘his ways.’
These words speak to the king’s new understanding of God’s control and to the choice he wants each of us to make: God’s way or my way. Too often we neglect to ask God, ‘How do you want me to handle this?’ or ‘What does God’s Word call me to do in this?’ How should I respond to this situation in a manner consistent with God’s word?
The reasons for not asking these questions boil down to one of two issues: ignorance or arrogance. And neither is something I’d recommend. Men, neither will benefit you, and both carry very high price tags.