January 19 – Self-existent


Passage Intro

If you want to nerd out for a minute and pick up some background on the book of Daniel, watch the video below. The passage we’ll be looking at this week is covered specifically at the 2:43 mark.

Series Intro:

None Like Him

Here in Daniel 4 we find a boastful King Nebuchadnezzar strolling on his roof top. Earlier in the chapter he had had a dream, which Daniel (the Israelite royal advisor) had interpreted for him as a warning from God about a coming judgment on his sin. Here in verse 28, 12 months later, Nebuchadnezzar hadn’t heeded the warning, and standing atop his palace proclaimed, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” In an instance God visited that judgment on him and drove him out of the palace, causing him to eat grass like a madman and wander the wilds.

At this point we should really wonder, why did God do all this to him? Was God just peeved that Nebuchadnezzar got too big for his britches? Is God that big of a stickler?

On one hand, Nebuchadnezzar was judged this way because God had already warned him. Daniel made it really clear to Nebuchadnezzar back in 4:27 how he could avoid this exile. He knew exactly what to do and he didn’t do it. On the other hand, Nebuchadnezzar didn’t just get a little bigheaded. Note his language, he talks about a house he built by his power and for his glory. That’s all temple language; he’s heavily implying that the great city of Babylon was an ode to his glory, a temple to his majesty and might. Swiftly God is there to say, “You didn’t build it and it’s not for you.” Underlying this whole exchange is the age-old rebellion that mankind has waged against God since Genesis 3, an aspiration by the creation to be the Creator. Thus God humbled Nebuchadnezzar, and we see in this humbling that when man rebels against God by trying to be like God he becomes not the royal representative of Genesis 1 but the cursed exile of Genesis 3.

This week in None Like Him we’re looking at God’s self-existent nature, which is to say that God exists fully on his own terms as an uncreated being. We humans are totally different, we’re contingent beings who owe our existence to God as his creation. What this passage would call us to is to recognize that God created all things and rules over all things, to live according to this truth by submitting to his rule as his creation, and to worship God’s good and perfect rule just like Nebuchadnezzar does in verse 34-37. And listen, this dude just spent maybe 7 years of his life eating grass because the Lord commanded it. If that guy can praise God for his judgments, so can we.

Questions for Discussion

• Can someone read Daniel 4:28-37 for us?

• What stood out to you from this passage?

• Why do you think God did this to Nebuchadnezzar?

• Why do you think Nebuchadnezzar praises God after all this?

• What’s convicting about this passage to you?

• Why do you think God wants humility for his people?

• How could this passage inform the way you live as God’s creation?