Last week we studied Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream and Daniel’s interpretation. Unlike the first dream of the King’s greatness, the second dream prophesizes that the King will be struck with boanthrophy, he will experience himself as an ox – eat grass, grow long hair, exiled from human company. Nebuchadnezzar who has built one of the great empires of time will suddenly be like a dumb ox, not in control but controlled by others. We pondered what might be the fear that could overtake us and humble us but we also noted the situation came from God, not random chance, and had a purpose, to teach the king about God. Daniel advises the King to make major life changes, atoning for wrongs of his kingship.
Today’s text takes place a year later. Nebuchadnezzar does indeed develop boanthropy as he claims credit for having created all the wonderfulness of the Babylonian empire and not recognizing God’s role in the process.
- Has there been a time in your life when “fortunes reversed,” when there was a sudden change that felt humbling, humiliating? Perhaps you were caught in an event to your parent or to a spouse or perhaps you can tell the story of a historical person who overcame adversity. Describe that time? What characterized this event?
28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 and the king said, “Is this not magnificent Babylon, which I have built as a royal capital by my mighty power and for my glorious majesty?” 31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven: “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: The kingdom has departed from you! 32 You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals and gives it to whom he will.” 33 Immediately the sentence was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven away from human society, ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails became like birds’ claws.
- What were the losses in your story?_________________________
- Was the situation for a period or did it lead to a major transition in your life? ___________________________________________________
- What lesson was learned from this difficult time? _____________
34 When that period was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me.
I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored the one who lives forever. For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does what he wills with the host of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can stay his hand or say to him, “What are you doing?”
36 At that time my reason returned to me; and my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom. My counselors and my lords sought me out, I was re-established over my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are truth, and his ways are justice; and he is able to bring low those who walk in pride.
- What are the lessons Nebuchadnezzar learned? ________________
- v. 35 is a strong statement. Agree or Disagree? Why____________
- Can you give an example of people’s prayers changing the course of history? ________________________________ (e.g. Moses and God).
- How do we explain miracles in light of God’s sovereignty? ________
- Nebuchadnezzar is restored to his former position and power. He attributes God’s ways with justice. That is a big word these days. How would you describe justice? Antonym______________ Synonym_______ Example __________________ How do we understand the King’s pride, boanthrophy, and justice?_____________
- As you look back on the experience you described, what lessons were learned? Did your concept of God change? Was the situation just in retrospect?