Devotional

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” – Hebrew 4:12-13

Most people will learn a life lesson the hard way, eventually. It could be in the pursuit of happiness, it could be in a business venture, it could be in seeking validation of others, or it could be in an expected hardship. If I was to guess, I would say that one of the lessons we most often learn the hard way is how little we have control over our lives. Nebuchadnezzar leaned that lesson the hard way.

Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylonia and is considered the greatest king of the Babylonian Empire. Nebuchadnezzar is mentioned by name around 90 times in the Bible. History records Nebuchadnezzar as a brutal, powerful, and ambitious king. The Bible does not say this in so many words, but as a powerful and ambitious king he probably thought he was all that. He probably looked out over Babylon and took personal credit for all its power and splendor.  He believed himself to be large and in charge. He basically said so in Daniel4:1-2: “King Nebuchadnezzar sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: “Peace and prosperity to you! “I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me.” He forgot who was really in control.   

In Daniel chapter 4, Nebuchadnezzar is given a dream by God. Daniel interpreted the dream for Nebuchadnezzar and informed him that the dream was a warning to the king to humble himself and recognize that his power, wealth, and influence were from God, not of his own making. Nebuchadnezzar did not heed the warning of the dream, so God judged him as the dream had declared. (Daniel 4: 31-33)

This story reminds us of something we should all take for granted. God rules the roost. The king had been impressed by God, but not transformed. He thought he was in control because he ruled. When we try to control our lives we think we rule as well. We think we are in charge. God is in charge and we are not. Nebuchadnezzar learned that the hard way and set the record straight in verse 37: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Daniel 4: 31-33: Do you think this is learning your lesson the hard way? What lessons do we learn the hard way?
  2. What can we do to ensure we remember who is in charge?