“It is legal because I want it,” King Louis XVI said. This quote embodies the attitude of monarchs throughout history. And while the Bible recognizes the authority of human kings and rulers, God is the King of kings! Any human king is under God’s authority.
Daniel 4 is an unusual chapter. It is the only place in Scripture where a Gentile king is allowed to speak for himself. In the form of a letter or proclamation, Nebuchadnezzar testifies about God’s work in his life. He recounts a dream he had about a mighty tree that was cut down. Naturally, he turned to Daniel for its interpretation. Daniel declares that God has pronounced judgment on Nebuchadnezzar for his pride. He would be “driven away from people” and “live with the wild animals” until he acknowledges the truth that “the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth” (v. 25).
And that is exactly what happened. One day, while Nebuchadnezzar was relaxing on the palace roof, he surveyed the city and boasted, “Is this not the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (v. 30). While the words were still on his lips, God pronounced judgment on him. The once mighty king was reduced to living with animals and eating grass like an ox until he acknowledged God’s sovereignty (v. 33).
Imagine if you lived at that time. King Nebuchadnezzar looked all- powerful. What a striking object lesson to see a person who seemed so majestic now humbled in such a dramatic and public way. When the king finally acknowledged God, his sanity was restored. He declared, “[God’s] dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation” (v. 34).
>> It is easy for us to get discouraged by the failures of human leaders. But be encouraged today! No matter how things may look at times, God is on the throne. Even those who walk in pride, “he is able to humble” (v. 37).
Today’s passage reminds us that You are always in control! Even the most powerful leader cannot act outside of Your dominion. We ask You, Lord, to guide world leaders in wisdom, steering them away from evil.