BOOK OF DANIEL – Exposition Resumed

Posted by on Aug 1, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Exposition Resumed

Exposition Resumed

As promised, I said I would exposit each chapter and verse of Daniel. We now resume that format from Daniel 4:4 which are the words of Nebuchadnezzar himself, “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and flourishing in my palace.” (NASB) Before I mention the points of this Scripture and its wider message, several things should be noted.

Remember, this is a narrative of “past tense”. We read in Daniel 4:1-3 of Nebuchadnezzar’s praise of the one true God. We mentioned that it is not surprising that the Babylonian record makes no mention of this. In fact, the Bible stands alone as the only witness to these events. It should be noted, however, that the Babylonian records of Nebuchadnezzar themselves hold little evidence of his entire reign, let alone the daily activities of the king and what befell him. The Babylonian Chronicle that mentions him does not include any mention of the latter part of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. In fact, they extend only to the eleventh year of his reign in 594 BC. So, very few events are recorded by the official records of the Babylonians in relation to Nebuchadnezzar. Some of his military exploits are recorded, many of which are supported by Scripture. His everyday life and later, the peaceful portion of his reign, is not recorded in the Chronicle.  So how do we know more about Nebuchadnezzar apart from the Bible? We read many of those details in the non-Biblical narrative of Berossus et al. Whatever were the sources of these ancient historians is lost to us but that is no reason to ignore or reject them.

At the point of Nebuchadnezzar being at ease in his house and flourishing in his palace is NOT the point or moment that he has been subjected to God. That occurs later in the narrative of Daniel chapter four. So, can we glean anything from verse four that is pertinent to our study? Indeed we can. We see God’s mercy. You will recall that God had spoken to Nebuchadnezzar first when He gave the king the dream of the image that represented the Gentile Times. God then spoke to Nebuchadnezzar a second time when He revealed what many theologians believe to have been the Son of God, in the midst of the fire in the furnace where Nebuchadnezzar had ordered Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to be thrown for not bowing to the golden image. Daniel chapter four and the narrative of Nebuchadnezzar’s own words become the third and final time God speaks to Nebuchadnezzar which, we will see, finally crushes him into submission.

Here is the point of Daniel 4:4. Nebuchadnezzar felt he was fine and dandy. He didn’t have a care in the world. He was enjoying the peaceful portion of his reign with wars ceasing. Nothing was troubling him. We learned that he devoted himself to building the city of Babylon even greater and that it was pleasing to the eye and had everything there to enjoy oneself. The Aramaic word for ease is shalah (the corresponding Hebrew word is sheleh). At ease infers to be at rest or feel secure. Likewise, both the Aramaic and Hebrew word for flourishing is ra’anan and it literally means flourishing or prosperous.

 

Can you relate to those scenes? Are you enjoying the “spoils” of your life? Do you look at your life through “rose colored glasses”? Do you feel at rest and secure? Are you enjoying a certain level of prosperity? With these questions, I am not condemning or even talking of the events we see on the news that startle us for a few moments and then we return to our everyday lives. Or the political turmoil many nations, including our own, face. But rather, I am talking about where your life is at.  I’m talking about our own little world that many of us create without a care in the world. We feel at ease and flourish in personal activities we choose. But in pursuing these things do we forget or, worse, ignore that unless Christ is central to our lives we may still be in our sins and a stranger to God. In the Western World, many people strive to have the best of everything. The best house. The best car. The best TV. The latest and greatest cell phone. The most money etc. A blind person may be walking along a road and feel at ease not knowing ahead there is an open manhole that he will fall into. His secure footing is gone in an instant!  This is where Nebuchadnezzar was at. He was at ease, resting in his perceived security. His prosperity meant he didn’t have a care in the world. How wrong he was. He had not subjected himself to the Almighty and likely had no intention to. But God had different ideas. He would show this mighty king of the Gentiles that there is only one ruler of heaven and earth and that He was the one to be praised. God could have left this king in his false ease of life. Not only is it a lesson of God’s majesty and His mercy but it is a stark lesson for all of us to acknowledge God as ruler of our lives for the mercy He extends to us.

Let this verse we have discussed today sink in and let us reflect if our lives show any facet of the attitude that Nebuchadnezzar had. If it does then we need to seek God’s help and ask for His grace and mercy in our lives. Only by our subjecting to God and accepting Christ as our Savior can we truly be at ease and flourish in the kingdom of the Almighty.