An Unlikely Convert
Daniel 4:34-37
And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me…

I. HIS CONVERSION OUT OF A STATE OF HEATHENISM. There was a mass of idolatrous opinion and vicious custom, in the midst of which Nebuchadnezzar was brought up, and by which he was configured. He was ill-placed so far as an opportunity of conversion, or a radical change of heart and life, are concerned.

II. HIS CONVERSION, OUT OF A STATE OF WORLDLY PRIDE. He was uniformly prosperous. He had no change, no checks, no defeats; therefore, he was filled with the thought of himself, so as to shut out the thought of a higher.

III. THE UNUSUAL MEANS EMPLOYED IN SECURING HIS CONVERSION. He had to be humbled. His reason was taken from him, and he became like a beast in his habits. It was the greatest humiliation that could have been sent on earth's monarch.


1. There is no reason why grace should not have worked in Nebuchadnezzar's heart. Full and accurate knowledge is not an essential for salvation. Nebuchadnezzar was not entirely shut in by heathenism; for in the course of his life he was brought into contact with the servants of God, and he would learn from them the part assigned to him in prophecy.

2. We are not to expect too much in the way of evidence. It was not to be expected of one who was in Nebuchadnezzar's position that he would be the saint John or Paul was. His antecedents and surroundings would operate against him, so that there would be only an imperfect development of grace, and he would do many. things a Christian knows to be wrong.

3. We have a very imperfect record of what he was after conversion; but what we have is encouraging. Nebuchadnezzar disappears from our view here under a favourable light. We remark then(1) In the way of evidence of his conversion, his clear recognition of the Divine sovereignty. That is implied in the description of God as the King of Heaven, One whose sovereignty was not connected with a single planet and baulked here and there by others, but who had the whole dome of Heaven, and, therefore, the whole range of earth, under His potent sway. Indeed, there is no more frequently quoted or more satisfactory expression of the Divine sovereignty than that which we have from the mouth of Nebuchadnezzar (v. 34, 35). He felt that he had been in the grasp of that sovereignty; he had been sovereignly humbled, and he had been sovereignly delivered. Now it is true that a recognition of the Divine sovereignty is not enough to save us, but there must be something like this in every saved person. As it is true of the sinner that he says, "I am my own; who is Lord over me?" so it is a mark of a converted man that he recognises that God has a propriety in him, and a right to dispose of him for His own glory. We remark(2) That he had a clear recognition of the righteousness of God's dealings with him. All whose works are truth, and His ways judgment. He was not the erring, fickle tyrant such as he had been taught to regard the objects of his worship; but He was One who, truthfully observing all that takes place, and above all possibility of deception, applies a just and equal test to every man's conduct, and appoints for him what is right. We do not suppose that he saw the righteousness of God in many of its bearings, that he could spell out a tenth part of what we can do; but he did not rest in the general idea of righteousness, but felt it in its application to himself, that God had not gone beyond right in degrading him as He had done to the condition of a beast. To have learned such a lesson as that from his life, was that not the mark of a saved person? We remark(3) That there was the clear recognition of what had been the blot and sin of his precious life, what he calls walking in pride, and a humbling of himself for it. "As the rhetorician, being asked what was the first thing in the roles of eloquence, answered, pronunciation; what was the second, pronunciation; what was the third, still he answered, pronunciation — so if you should ask me concerning the precepts of the Christian religion, I would answer firstly, and secondly, and thirdly, and for ever, humility." There is nothing more insisted on in Scripture, and there is nothing in which hypocrites so grossly fail in; and, therefore, when we see it present we may entertain a good hope regarding a man. Nebuchadnezzar could not have such an emptying of his own goodness, such a realization of personal violence as we may have, to whom have been disclosed the holiness and the love of God in the cross of Christ. But if he abased himself according to his light, accepting of the mercy of God, he would be accepted of God according to the words, "God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation," etc. There is a beautiful exhibition of humility in what the whole of this fourth chapter is — a royal proclamation. It begins, "Nebuchadnezzar the king unto all people, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth." Its design was to magnify God in his humiliation and in his restoration to his reason and to his kingdom; and it is an unvarnished record, concealing nothing, extenuating nothing. If Nebuchadnezzar gained admittance, why may not we? There is no restraining of the Spirit, no loss of virtue in the blood of Christ, no withdrawing of the Divine promise. Let us strive then to enter in while the door of mercy is standing open.

(R. Finlayson, B.A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:

WEB: At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him who lives forever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation.

The Fall or Nebuchadnezzar
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