The frightening dream (Daniel 4 v 4-18)

Explore God's Word Daily
Explore God's Word Daily

We’ve seen Nebuchadnezzar’s introduction to his letter, and it's shown us the main theme. Now we get into what has actually happened.

A troubled king
Read Daniel 4:4

• How does Nebuchadnezzar’s state of mind change?
• What does Nebuchadnezzar recognise about Daniel?

Nebuchadnezzar is troubled once again by a dream, and once again only Daniel can interpret it (although this time Nebuchadnezzar is happy to relay the content of it).

A troubling dream
Read Daniel 4:10

The first part of the dream comes in two scenes, both involving a tree.

• Compare the “before” and “after” pictures of this tree.

The image is that of drastic change: a tree which is huge and beautiful is decimated. A tree was a common picture of a king and his kingdom (eg: Ezekiel 31:3, Mark 4:30).

• What does the imagery in verse 14 therefore represent?

The language changes in verse 15 and starts to talk about an individual. Read verses 15b-16 again.

• What change takes place for the person described?

This is also talking about the king: not only that he will lose his position but he will lose his mind and become like an animal.

A sobering reality
Read Daniel 4:17

• Why is Nebuchadnezzar told these events happen?

Nebuchadnezzar is told the purpose of these things within his dream! God will bring this drastic change to teach us that he is sovereign over human kingdoms. Powerful as kings may seem, they all lie in God’s hand.

• Is this part of how you see God?
• Does the idea of verse 17 reassure you, or trouble you?
Almighty God, Enable me to remember today that You are God and that I am not. Help me to remember that You are in control and that I am not. Help me to live for You and trust in You in all I do. Amen.

This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.

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Originally published February 13, 2012.

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