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A Peaceful Change (Just A Minute #138)

Andy Bonikowsky
Written by Andy Bonikowsky
04/06/2012

Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. (Daniel 4:1)

Taken in the context of the first three chapters, the last phrase is nothing less than remarkable.

Peace? Why the man was a brute!

In fact, up to this point Daniel has clearly portrayed him as a total tyrant, the owner of a vicious and explosive temper. He had proven himself to be as violent and brutal as any king who had ever sat on a throne!
It is bad enough that he kidnapped a bunch of Judean young men for his court, probably after murdering their parents. But then he reveals more of his evil character with his irrational behavior in the forgotten dream episode. Upon deciding that his entire set of government advisors were liars, Nebuchadnezzar tells them to come forward with his dream and its interpretation, or be chopped to pieces while their houses were burned to the ground.

Can he be any uglier?!

Well, in the next scene he sets up a 90ft tall golden image and orders the world to bow before it. What is the penalty for disobedience? Being publicly baked in an oven. When the three Hebrews refuse to worship his idol, he gets so irate that he has the furnace heated to the maximum temperature possible. This crazy measure costs him the lives of his own strongmen as they are toasted when they throw in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.

Clearly, he was insanely angry at life.

So what happened to bring about such a complete change?

An act of pure mercy.

This man needed some special attention, and the Lord knew how to give it. He sent him through a seven year humiliation, in which he actually turned into a kind of beast. Not only did he lose his sanity, but the once proud king lived like a dumb animal with bizarre characteristics of both mammal and fowl.

Finally one day he looked toward heaven and God switched his mind back on. When he came to his senses, Nebuchadnezzar was a different man.

The humbling work of God is always very effective in bringing about surrender, repentance, and ultimately, worship.

As far as I can tell Nebuchadnezzar became an honest believer in the one true God of heaven. And one of the most convincing proofs was the dramatic change in what he said and did. So tremendous was the transformation that the Holy Spirit let him write a chapter of the Bible. His opening words, to everyone in his world empire, were:

Peace be multiplied unto you.

This fruit of the Spirit is still one of those distinguishing marks of godly humility. Peace is the fruit of justification by faith. Peace is the personal gift of the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit to each of His disciples, and peace is the reward for every child who gratefully prays and refuses to be anxious.

It will also be the eternal atmosphere of heaven.

Dear Father, it is never fun to be humbled, though it is often necessary. I pray that whenever I give in to the turbulent pull of pride, I would also be quick to respond to Your humbling work so I can soon come back into Your wonderful peace. Amen.

Andy