Isaiah 30:20 “And though the Lord gives you The bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers.”
There was an ancient king of Babylon called Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BCE). In his day, Babylon was a modern superpower, ruling over lands that spanned the reaches of that modern world. He instituted the worship of Marduk as well as other associated god’s, then eventually lifted himself up into a position of worship.
Like any man, gripped with a lust for power, the position went straight to his ego and he reveled in the magnitude of his conquests.
Daniel revealed the swelling of pride:
Daniel 4:28-30 “All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later, as he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, the king exclaimed, “Is this not Babylon the Great, which I myself have built by the might of my power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”
Like anyone who places themself on a pedestal, one misstep and the easier the fall. Great is the fall for the one who lifts themself up to heights unattainable. Nebuchadnezzar was not the first one to experience the trials of adversity, many went before him and many have since come behind. His example was quite dramatic, it was the Lord who had placed him in his position, now his ego matched his exploits and an example was to be made for the world to see.
Daniel 4:31-32 “While the words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven: “It is decreed to you, King Nebuchadnezzar, that the kingdom has departed from you. You will be driven away from mankind to live with the beasts of the field, and you will feed on grass like an ox. And seven times will pass you by, until you acknowledge that the Most High rules over the kingdom of mankind and gives it to whom He wishes.”
Woe to those whom God condemns. You have never experienced trials or tribulation until you experience the rebuke of God.
Vs. 33 “At that moment the sentence against Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from mankind. He ate grass like an ox, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.”
For seven years Nebuchadnezzar lived like a crazy man, driven like a beast in the field, he completely lost his mind, his honor, and his position.
If you consider all that God does within our lives, if He were ever to remove the gifts He gives us, imagine what we would be left with. We so often neglect to see the measure of God’s grace in every day matters.
God develops our minds: Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”
God grants honor: Malachi 2:2 “If you will not hear, And if you will not take it to heart, To give glory to My name,” Says the LORD of hosts, “I will send a curse upon you, And I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, Because you do not take it to heart.”
God appoints our position: 1 Chronicles 29:12 “Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all.”
Everything Nebuchadnezzar had, he received from God. Regardless of whether He followed God or not, the Lord had placed him in his position at that time for a purpose.
What position has God placed you in? What has He taught you? Are you walking in His promises, bringing glory to His name, or are you walking in pride as if you are self made?
If so, be careful…
Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.”
At the end of the seven years, the Lord restored Nebuchadnezzar’s mind, his position, and because of his change of heart, he received honor.
Daniel 4:34-35 “And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding 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 is from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;
He does according to His will in the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the earth.
No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, “What have You done?”
These are the words of a man who learned his lesson. He went from a position of pride to a position of humility, and with humility comes wisdom. Nebuchadnezzar finally understood who the One True God really is, it took seven years of misery to draw this conclusion but it saved his life.
When the Lord brings us through trials, there is a reason for His purposes. What we learn through the trials can either make or break us, it depends on how our hearts respond to His chastisement. If our hearts soften as a result of the pain, we will find we have grown from a position of weakness into a position of strength, if our hearts harden then our grief will only turn into despair and hopelessness will finally be realized.
When the Lord takes us through anything, it is imperative we keep our eyes on Him and not our circumstances. The circumstances are the means, but the purposes are found in Him. If you want to know God’s purposes, get to know God. The more you understand the nature of God, the more His Word makes sense, the more you understand it, and the more you grow in the knowledge of God…all are directly connected.
Daniel 4:36-37 “At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.”
Hear the echo of men like Nebuchadnezzar from history, their testimony is relevant for us today. The nature of mankind hasn’t changed since the fall of Adam, the same pressures they experienced are the pressures we experience now. Consequently, the lessons learned by those who went before us can give us wisdom for how we approach our modern day trials. The details today may look different, the cultures and mannerisms vary from generation to generation but the way in which mankind relates to an eternal unchanging God remains the same.
Remember, strength arises from trials and it is perfected in trust. Trials reduce our flesh to the position of lowliness so that God may be exalted and our spirits revived.
Take joy when those lowly times come, it saved Nebuchadnezzar’s life, he is rejoicing in Heaven today with the Father. You too will rejoice, knowing that God’s trials will make evident God’s love for you.