Nebuchadnezzar is one of the most infamous kings of the Old Testament. He conquered Jerusalem, destroyed the First Temple, and sent the Jews into exile or captivity. In Daniel chapter 4, however, the king is humbled by God. After Nebuchadnezzar boasts of his achievements, God gives him an odd mental disease (know in modern times as lycanthropy or porphyria) where he is forced to live as an animal for seven years.
After this experience, God gives him back his mind and his kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar then praises and honors God in one of the most majesty passages in the Bible. Here is what the king said:
And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (Daniel 4:35-36)
From this passage, I see four important truths about Who God is, each stemming from a phrase in verse 35. First, Nebuchadnezzar said, “All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing”. This shows us that when one sees God for Who He is, everything else pales in comparison. Too often, we have a small view of God. We need to see Him in His greatness and praise and worship Him accordingly.
Second, the king stated, “he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth”. This demonstrates that God rules both the physical and spiritual realms. We know that God rules in Heaven, but sometimes we forget that He is at work in our world as well. Even with the curse of sin upon our world, we can look around and see God in action.
Third, he said of God, “none can stay his hand”. In this Nebuchadnezzar recognized that nobody is more powerful than God. There is no situation we can face where God has no power. He is here and he is able to help.
Finally, the king states that nobody can say to God, “What doest thou?” In other words, we cannot say to God, “What are you doing?” This illustrates that nobody can question God’s actions. We do not have all of the facts to be able to question God. His ways are far above ours, and being omniscient, He knows what he is doing. What He asks is that we trust Him.
Nebuchadnezzar, a pagan king who caught a vision of the true God, gives us much to ponder from His experiences. Let us use his words to draw closer to “him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation”.