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I trust everyone has been blessed by the hope, grace, and love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – regardless of your life circumstances – during this holiday season. King Nebuchadnezzar’s temporary insanity is where we will end 2016.
In what appears to be the last two or three years of his reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia apparently becomes a true believer in the powerful God of his servant Daniel. The process of belief has been a long one, developing over some 40 years. The king was first awed by Daniel’s God when Daniel was given the ability to tell the king his dreams and interpret their meaning. He was further amazed when this God of the Hebrews save Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace. Polytheistic in his beliefs, he has yet to confront the singular, exclusive power of God on a personal basis . . .
1. Remember the school or team braggart? How did you feel about being around such braggarts? How do you feel when people brag about you and yours?
2. What have you dreamed or daydreamed about your future? Were your dreams exciting? Ho hum? Morbid? What dreams have come true?
3. What position regarding “all the world” and the “Most High God” is Nebuchadnezzar assuming (verses 1 – 3)? If people do “prosper greatly”, who would like to take credit? What does that say about this king?
4. How does the king’s handling of this dream (verses 4 – 9) differ from his handling of the earlier one (chapter 2:1 – 3)? How and why does he flatter Daniel this time?
5. How does the tree seem to fit the king (verses 10 – 12): In size? Appearance? Visibility? In ability to prosper others? In comparison to the gold statue in chapter 3? How would you interpret the tree if you were Nebuchadnezzar? If you were Daniel?
6. Where does the messenger fit into the dream of the tree? What hope is conveyed by letting the stump remain (verses 15 and 26)?
7. How does the king being “given the mind of an animal” (verse 16) relate to God’s message in verse 17? Power? Pride? Humility?
8. Are God’s plans set in concrete or are they somewhat contingent upon our actions? What are the implications of verse 27 in this regard?
9. How can you appreciate your accomplishments without bragging or putting yourself down? Whom do you credit for your prosperity?
10. What “tree” of yours has been cut down to size? To what do you attribute that?
11. How has God changed your mind regarding His authority or power?
12. How do you feel about God speaking via dreams in the past? How about now?