Len Devotional: Daniel 4:34-37
by Jonathan Haefs
Today’s devotional is authored by Brad Brown
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.
In a short devotional like this, I think the temptation is to primarily focus on the words at the end of v.37: “those who walk in pride he is able to humble..” Boom. There is the application. Devotional done. Move over “Jesus Calling” there is a new Sheriff in town!
While in this text and the book of Daniel there is certainly room to talk about the pride of humanity and the power of God to humble our misperception of power, I want us to step back and look at whats going on in this chapter as a whole.
The overall concern of the chapter is that God protects his people in spite of overwhelming odds. This is a story that is meant to give comfort and confidence in spit of their helplessness before a powerful king
The people of God are in Exile. It seems like Nebuchadnezzar controls their future. In this chapter the account of his dream and his madness reveal that God is calling the shots. It certainly doesn’t look like it but Nebuchadnezzar is a tool in the hands of God. He is victorious only when God gives the victory. He understands his dreams only when God interprets them through Daniel. Like the book of Exodus and Esther, the book of Daniel reveals that powerful kings are really powerless.
Do you feel like things are out of control right now? Do you sense that the things you find your comfort in are a lot less secure than you thought? Imagine the people of God in exile under a foreign king….Yet even in exile we see that the daily circumstances and the future of Gods people are not controlled by worldly rulers but by Yahweh.
Yesterday on the Shades Midweek podcast we reflected on a Question and Answer from the Heidelberg Catechism. Why not take a moment now to read and reflect on its words? Take a moment to dwell on the reality that the Sovereign Lord who is over kings and kingdoms is also involved in the mundane details of your life. As it says “Indeed…All things must work together for my salvation…”
Q: What is your only comfort in life and death?
A. That I am not my own,
but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death,
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free
from all the power of the devil.
He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together
for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live