The King's Second Dream

Daniel 4  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Our last story was about Nebuchadnezzar, the great king of Babylon, who gave honor to the God of Daniel and his three friends, but who did not claim that God as his own. He was an intelligent and important king, but a very slow learner when God spoke. The events of this story hit him so hard that he told the story himself. In fact, he learned something that you can learn right now, even though the great men of the world today may not know it yet. He said afterward, “How great are [God’s] signs! and how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.”
The king told about a dream he had that frightened him so badly that he sent for all the wise men of Babylon to explain it to him. But none of them could. Finally, Daniel came, but why was Daniel last? Surely the king had enough proof that the God of Daniel had all the answers, but he tried all the other wise men first. Even when Daniel finally came, the king greeted him with the words, “I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.” How could a man be so intelligent and yet so foolish?
May we ask the same question about you? Do you know the real and true God who gave His only Son to die for sinners? It is the most important knowledge in the whole world. Is He your Savior? or are you, like the king, trying everything else first?
The king told Daniel that he had dreamed about a great tree. It was very tall, and there was so much fruit on it that it fed all the people and all the animals. So far, the dream was good, but what he saw next seemed to come a little too close to his own life, and it frightened him.
A holy one came down from heaven with a command to cut down the tree, scatter its branches, leaves and fruit, and leave only the stump in the earth. Destroying that great tree seemed to have a special message for the king. The stump was to be left alone in the field all through dry days and wet nights for seven years. Since this was the decree of heaven, no one could change it. The lesson was carefully explained so that the living might know that the true God rules in the kingdom of men and that He chooses its rulers, even though they may be very wicked men.
God showed Daniel the unhappy meaning of the dream, and Daniel felt such concern for the troubled king that he didn’t say anything for a whole hour, as if he just couldn’t bear to tell the king the bad news. By that time it was the king’s turn to feel concern for Daniel, and he said, “Let not the dream [or its meaning] trouble thee.” And this was the news that Daniel then told the king.
The huge tree was a picture of the great king himself. But the king was going to be sent away into the wilderness to live alone with the wild animals for seven years. He would eat grass and there would be no shelter from the weather. But the stump of the tree that was left in the ground was a promise that the king would be restored to his kingdom when he had finally learned that the true God is in control of everything.
It was going to take seven years of living like a wild animal for the king to learn that lesson. If you have not learned yet that God controls your life and future, I hope you learn it faster.
Then Daniel added a word of advice, which was dangerous to say to such a powerful king. Daniel advised him to stop his sinful ways and be good and kind to the people, and maybe God would let him rule as a peaceful king. It seems that the king thought seriously about this for a whole year, but thinking about it is not enough.
What about your sins? You are much more responsible to God than the ancient king of Babylon ever was, because you know so much more. You know that God sent the Lord Jesus to show His love and kindness, and then to be nailed to the cross by the people who did not want Him. Do you want Him? Don’t just think about it, but answer Him now. He came to save sinners, not just to make them great people on earth, but to share His home in heaven with them forever.
There came a last day in the palace for the great king. It was a day of pride and boasting as he walked in his palace balcony overlooking the great city. He told himself that he had built the city “by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty.” Those were boastful words for a sinner, after all his warnings! His last day of ruling as king had come, and a voice from heaven repeated the lesson he had not learned. Just as God had warned him in the dream, he was sent into the wilderness to live like a wild animal for seven years.
Have you learned the simple lesson that you are not the master of your own life? It is God who rules. He may seem to be silent now while this world of sin continues in its pride and injustice. However, the last day will come, and then God will punish all sin, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
King Nebuchadnezzar finally learned who was in control. At the end of seven years, God gave him back his kingdom with even more majesty. The king himself wrote the humbling story, and without mentioning Daniel, he gave honor and praise to the God of heaven. You can read King Nebuchadnezzar’s story in the Bible.
The silence of God today does not mean that He does not care. He is waiting for you to learn that power belongs to Him, and that same power is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that [believes]” (Romans 1:1616For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)). Have you learned that lesson and come to Him for the forgiveness of your sins?