A PROUD KING MADE HUMBLE

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[Daniel:4:1-37].

Lesson No.: 
140
Class: 
Elementary
Memory Verse: 

“God resisteth the proud”  (I Peter 5:5).

Notes: 

A Strange Dream
One night as King Nebuchadnezzar lay asleep in his palace at Babylon, he had a strange dream. He saw a great tree, so tall and wide that it could be seen in all the earth. Its pretty leaves turned and fluttered in the breeze, and fruit was everywhere on its branches. Cows and horses and all kinds of animals stood in the shade of this big tree, and birds made their nests in it – perhaps red-breasted robins and little brown sparrows and many other kinds of birds were there. There was so much fruit on this tree that everybody could have some.

Then an Holy One -– perhaps the Lord Himself -– came down from Heaven and cried aloud that this beautiful tree should be cut down. The stump of the tree was to be left in the tender grass of the field where it would be wet with dew, and a band of iron and brass was to be put around it. The Holy One from Heaven spoke of a man who would live with the beasts of the field for seven years, until everybody knew that God was greater than any king in all the earth. King Nebuchadnezzar thought he was big and important, and did not want to believe that God was greater than he.

The King Troubled
The king was troubled about this dream. Perhaps he thought maybe he was the one who would have to live with the animals. Anyway, he wanted very much to know what the dream meant. He asked all the wise men of Babylon about it, but none of them could tell him. God had given this dream to King Nebuchadnezzar, and the wise men of Babylon did not love God and pray to Him, so of course they could not tell what the dream meant. Finally the king told the dream to Daniel.

Daniel was probably the wisest man in all Babylon. He prayed three times a day and read the Bible and always did what he knew was right. Daniel did not want other people to have a hard time and be unhappy, so he did not want to tell the king that the dream meant that something bad was going to happen to him; but that was the way it was, and Daniel never, never told anything but the truth.

The Meaning
The king was much like this great tree. He ruled over many of the people of the world at that time. He helped the people and the animals in his kingdom, very much as this tree in the dream gave shade and fruit to all. But his heart was black and hard, and he thought he was big and important, and just as the tree was cut down and only the stump left, so the king was going to leave his palace and live with the animals in the field. But when he knew he could not do anything without God’s help and learned to be thankful to God for the beautiful city of Babylon and his good and wide kingdom, then he would go back to his lovely palace and the people of his kingdom would be glad.

God’s Love and Power
God loved Nebuchadnezzar, just as He loves everyone in all the world. He knew Nebuchadnezzar was a good king in many ways; and if he would only pray and be saved, he could do even more to make the people of his kingdom happy, and he could go to live with God in Heaven forever and ever when it came time for him to leave this earth.

King Nebuchadnezzar knew God was mighty and strong. No doubt he had heard that, many years before, God had made the water of the Red Sea stand like a wall while the Children of Israel walked across the bottom of the sea on dry ground, and that God had chased the giants out of the Land of Canaan so the Israelites might live safely in the land that flowed with milk and honey. And he knew that God helped Daniel to be wise, because when he was troubled about another dream, and had even forgotten what it was, God had showed Daniel what the dream was and what it meant, and Daniel had said to the king, “This secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living,” but “there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets.” So Nebuchadnezzar knew that God was still doing miracles. But he was proud. He thought so much of himself that there was not room in his heart to love and honour God.

Daniel felt sorry for the king, so he urged him to repent of his sins -– to stop doing wrong things and begin to do right things. Daniel believed that if the king loved and obeyed God he would not have to leave his home and friends to live with the animals.

Proud and Fallen Down
A year went by and still Nebuchadnezzar did not give his heart to God. He made his heart hard against God and became more proud and haughty. One day as he walked in his lovely palace, perhaps he looked out at the big temples, the bridges across the river that ran through Babylon, and the wall that guarded the city round about. The beautiful hanging gardens were nearby -– a brick building with great steps running along each of the four sides, and flowers, shrubs, and trees covering each of the steps. And no doubt thinking of the many people who looked up to him as an important man, he said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built . . . by the might of my power and for the honour of my majesty?”

Then the dream came true – Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind and was driven out to live with the animals until his hair grew like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.

Humbled and Lifted Up
After seven years God gave him a good mind again. He had learned to be humble and thankful to God. He did not believe that he was big and important any more, but he knew that God ruled in all the earth. His beautiful words of thanksgiving and praise to God are written in the Bible so that we may read them today. “I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, . . . and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, . . . I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven.”

His friends and servants and the people of his kingdom were glad to have him as their king again, and he may have lived happily in Babylon until he died an old, old man.

Questions: 

1. Who was the king who dreamed about a big tree? [Daniel:4:4-5].
2. Who told him what the dream meant? [Daniel:4:19].
3. Why was Daniel probably the wisest man in Babylon? [Daniel:6:10].
4. What did Daniel tell the king to do? [Daniel:4:27].
5. What did the king’s sickness and trouble cause him to do? [Daniel:4:34], [Daniel:4:37].