Daniel 4

Most people would say that it is most difficult to glorify God when things are going badly. For me it is the other way around. When things are going badly I find it encouraging to praise God and I love to be in a place close to Him where I can cry out. When things are going well I don't seem to have as much time for God; I get so wrapped up in what I've got. When do you find it easiest to praise God?

King Nebuchadnezzar was a bit like me. Take a look at Daniel 4. Nebuchadnezzar had just witnessed the great miracle where God prevented Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego from being burnt in the fire, and had realised how great God is.. "The most High God has done miracles and wonderful things for me that I am happy to tell you about.." (verse 2). But by verse 30, Nebuchadnezzar had already forgotten what God had done for his name and his kingdom. He got so wrapped up in his gift that he forgot about the giver. Listen to what he says now - "I have built this great Babylon as my royal home. I built it by my power to show my glory and my majesty." It's quite different to what he was saying before!

God had no other option than to bring him to a place of humility. Verses 31-33 tell us how he was forced to live in great shame like an animal for seven years, isolated from all human life. Unfortunately for Nebuchadnezzar, he had to come to this place to realise that he was a mere, powerless human in comparison to God, and that God was supreme and was the source of all strength, life and blessing.

At the end of the seven years, Nebuchadnezzar realised the only truth.. "I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up towards heaven, and I could think normally again!" He looked up. Not around him, enthralled by his blessings, but UP towards God, his giver, and began to give Him praise again. At this point in his life, it was the bad experiences that drove him towards praising God, but I'll bet this taught him a lesson for the future, about giving God the glory during the good and prosperous times.

There is a good ending to this tale.. "I became king again and was even greater and more powerful than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, give praise and honour and glory to the King of heaven. Everything He does is right and fair, and He is able to make proud people humble." (verses 36-37). God is the one who has blessed us with His gifts and His strength. Paul said that it is through Christ that we have strength (Phil 4 v 13). Let's remember where our blessing comes from.. and give thanks. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.