My King of Kings! Study Guide: Day Three

A Vacation Bible School Curriculum by Barry McWilliams
an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America

Daily theme: God will bring the proud and mighty to humble repentance.

The king who ate grass like a cow. a story from Daniel 4 The story of the humbling and repentance of the World's greatest king by God. The builder of the glories of Babylon, filled with pride [the essence of sin, which God must break one way or another] has a bad dream which comes true resulting in 7 years of madness, and is finally humbled into acknowledging the true God.

Obj Lesson: He Sets up kings and deposes them.

Study Guide:

Read Daniel 4 several times, taking the appropriate notes. Note that these events take place near the end of Nebuchadnezer's reign, and 29 years after the fiery furnace events. How old is Daniel now?

If you can, read up on the great city of Babylon, and its wonders, in particular the Hanging Gardens, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world; and Bayblon's great gates and walls.


1. Who is the author of this chapter? Why has He written it? To whom is it intended?

The fact it is penned by Nebuchadnezer is clear testimony to the total personal experience he has had with the Most High God, and evidence that Nebuchadnezer has indeed come to inward repentence and faith and a personal relationship with Him.

2. Ponder vs 3. What change in his concept of God has taken place?

3. Why was the King upset? What was his need at this time? Why did he think Belteshazzar could help?

"Can we not imagine him looking over 'his great Babylon', which he had built, with an ever-growing inner conviction that this very achievement must have been the result of his faith in and indeed a reward for his service to the most high God? Something of the old paganism remained, pulling his life away from the truth. His mind became so prepossessed by false ambition and selfsih concern that no room was left in it for thoughts about God." Ronald S. Wallace, The Message of Daniel (Inter-Varsity Press: Bible Speaks Today Series, 1979), p. 73

That Nebuchadnezer still adhered to paganism can be seen in his consulting the magicians, and in his attributing Daniel's wisdom to "the spirit of the holy gods." (Vss 8, 17, 18)

4. In what ways were Nebuchadnezer's dream and its intepretation in Chapter 4 similar to that of chapter 2. How does it differ?

This time told the dream, the professionals would not interpret the dream. Certainly with their vast libraries of psuedo-psychological case histories and dream histories and formulae for interpretation, they could have. We must assume this dreams' tragic implications were so clear they feared to bring such terrible news to the King.

5. Describe the dream. How is the tree like Nebuchadnezer?

What Nebuchadnezer needed to see was that his power and might were all the handiwork of God. A tree only grows mighty and tall in the providence of God. And what God gives as blessing he can also take away.

6. How did Daniel react to the dream and it's meaning? (vs 19) Why did he hesitate to interpret it? What was he exhortation to the King? (vs. 27)

As a faithful friend and pastor, Daniel had to speak the truth, harsh as it was. Where others feared, Daniel spoke the truth in love that was needed to be heard. It is not love to spare the rod. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend" Prov 27:6

"Daniel's hesitation, in remaining silent for a moment before giving the interpretation, showed the king that Daniel had his interest as heart.Daniel wanted the king to know he would not enjoy relating the interpretation of this dream to him; he said as much when he wished its meaning was in reference to Nebuchadnezer's enemies rather than to Nebuchadnezer himself" Leon Wood, Daniel (Zondervan: Bible Study Commentary Series, 1975), p. 60, 61

7. When did it come true? What was Nebuchadnezer doing? What was the boast that was his downfall?

God came first with the gentle admonition of the dream and Daniel's interpretation. (vs 27) But to turn Nebuchadnezer's heart, he had to resort to the harsher discipline of the years of madness. Fortunately Nebuchadnezer listened finally to the Lord, repented and was spared the terrible judgement that fell upon his successors. God will deal with our hearts one way or the other. (vs 35)

8. What happened to the King and for how long? What happened to the Kingdom during this time?

Lycanthropy is a psychological desease where the victim sees themselves as an animal and want to live like an animal. Nebuchadnezer saw himself as a ox. His severe depression, preceded by first the fearful dreams and then the delusions of grander are all evidence of an inward struggle with guilt. Even our moods, whether up or down, are under the rule of God, and used for his purposes.

"He underwent seven years in dreadful inward solitary confinement, his whole personality seemed tragically deformed, in the severest kind of mental illness man can know." Wallace p. 76.

This dream offered hope to the humbled and repentent heart. Those whom God brings low can be raised up again. God disciplines always out of love, with the purpose of restoration. That the king's courtiers cared for the stricken king, where others would have cast him out and seized his power, can only be the hand of God. Perhaps God had worked through Daniel to accomplish this protection for a very ill man. Daniel had assuranced the king of God's protection on the basis of God's soveriegnty. (Vs 26)

9. What brought about the cure of his insanity? How has his heart attitude changed? Describe the restoration of the King. Was King Nebuchadnezer born again?

We come to our right minds when we put ourselves into a proper relationship with God. This new orientation - finding something bigger to live for than ourselves - something to which we can devote our whole lives is a transformation that God gives to a humbled heart when it is delivered from pride. This is what Jesus calls us to to lay our life down for Him. To take up our cross and follow Him. The miracle that delivered Nebuchadnezer was nothing less than the new birth offered in the Gospel.

10. What great truths about God are stated in vss 34-35? In vs 37? Elsewhere in this chapter? What are their implications and applications for us as individuals?

© 1988 Barry McWilliams and Mission Church Fellowship,
Hypertext Version © 1996 Barry McWilliams
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