Kind of one of those “Duh!” moments for me this morning. I’m reading Daniel 4. King Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream . . . Daniel’s second interpretation . . . God’s continued revelation of Himself to a pagan sovereign. And I found myself, as I think I have most times when reading this in the past, in wonder as to the amount of attention God gives to the Babylonian king. The amount of focus heaven directs to this one man. And I conclude, as I have in the past, God is willing to give a lot in order to get a heart. And while that might be true, I’m thinking this morning that in “seeing the trees,” I’ve may have missed some of the forest. That it might be less about the interaction between the Teacher and the student, and more about the lesson being taught. The lesson that’s repeated three times in this chapter. Duh!
The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will and sets over it the lowliest of men . . . till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will . . . until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will. (Daniel 4:17, 25, 32 ESV)
If repetition is Scripture’s megaphone of emphasis, then, while the dealings of the God of heaven with the king of Babylon are fascinating and instructive, the main point of the passage is that those who read it understand that the Most High rules.
It’s about “the Most High” . . . God referred to in this way 6 times. And it’s about His rule over the earth. His might, His authority, His mastery, His position as captain of the helm. Know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men.
In a world that seems a bit out of control . . . where, in general, leaders reject the Scriptures . . . and where governments aggressively seek to annex other lands . . . and where sects rise to wage wars of terror . . . in such a world, I need to be reminded that Heaven rules (4:26).
Our God is the Most High . . . He is the Sovereign of all sovereigns. The King of heaven, though permitting sinful men to be sinful men, will only do so for a time . . . and in that time His hand is not staid from directing world affairs as serves His eternal purposes. And in that time He is not idle, but through His people . . . and by His Spirit . . . and with the message of the gospel, seeks to make Himself known through His Son. Calling men and women to, like Nebuchadnezzar, know the mighty workings of Heaven as He has made provision for redemption. That men and women, through faith, might humble themselves and cast themselves upon the mercy and grace of God and receive the gift of eternal life. That men and women might know the Most High who rules through the Son He sent to serve.
The King of heaven rules the kingdoms of men. “His dominion is an everlasting dominion . . . and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. He does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand” (4:34-35).
And when people, whether they be kings with authority or people with unassuming day jobs, get the lesson and know the Most High, their response is the same . . .
I praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are right and His ways are just . . .
(Daniel 4:37 ESV)
The Most High rules! To Him be all glory!