Read about Nebuchadnezzar in 2 Kings 24-25; 2 Chronicles 30; Jeremiah: 21-52; and in Daniel 1-4 (NLT)
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, 60189. All rights reserved.
Nebuchadnezzar was one world leader who decided he could get more cooperation from the people he conquered by letting them keep their gods. Their lands he took, their riches he robbed, their lives he controlled, but their idols he allowed them to worship, sometimes even worshiping them himself. Nebuchadnezzar's plan worked well, with one glaring exception. When he conquered the little nation of Judah, he met a God who demanded exclusive worship -- not just his share among many gods. In a sense, Nebuchadnezzar had always been able to rule the gods. This new God was different; this God dared to claim that he had made Nebuchadnezzar all that he was. One of the great conquerors in history was himself conquered by his Creator.
The Bible allows us to note the ways in which God worked on Nebuchadnezzar. God allowed him victories, but he was accomplishing God's purposes. God allowed him to deport the best young Jewish leaders as his palace servants, while placing close to him a young man named Daniel, who would change the king's life. God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to attempt to kill three of his servants to teach the king that he did not really have power over life and death. God warned him of the dangers in his pride and then allowed Nebuchadnezzar to live through seven years of insanity before restoring him to the throne. God showed the king who was really in control.
These lessons are clear to us today because of our place in history. When out attention shifts to our own life, we find ourselves unable to see how God is working. But we do have the advantage of God's Word as our guide for today's challenges. We are commanded to obey God; we are also commanded to trust him. Trusting him covers those times when we are not sure about the outcome. God has entrusted us with this day; have we trusted him with our life?
Nebuchadnezzar's strengths and accomplishments: 1) Greatest of the Babylonians kings 2) Known as a builder of cities 3) Described in the Bible as one of the foreign rulers God used for his purposes
His weaknesses and mistakes: 1) Thought of himself as a god and was persuaded to build an image of gold that all were to worship 2) Became extremely proud, which led to a bout of insanity 3) Tended to forget the demonstrations of God's power he had witnessed
Lessons from his life: 1) History records the actions of God's willing servants, and those who were his unwitting tools 2) A leader's greatness is affected by the quality of his advisers 3) Uncontrolled pride is self-destructive
Vital statistics: Where: Babylon Occupation: King Relatives: Father: Nabopolassar Son: Evil-merodach Grandson: Belshazzar Contemporaries: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin
Key verse: "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble those who are proud" (Daniel 4:37) (NLT).
Lord. help us to be humble, willing servants of the King of heaven. We praise, glorify and honor You, in Jesus' name, amen.