Conflict Results in Conversion Index

God patiently works with people. His long-suffering and patience is graphically illustrated in the book of Daniel through His attempts to reach Nebuchadnezzar with the gospel. Nebuchadnezzar appears to make strides in the right direction, but then relapses. Finally in Chapter 4 God is forced to take drastic steps. As a result it seems that Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged the true God.

We must never forget that God is as patient with us as He was with Nebuchadnezzar. Even though we slip and fall, He still loves us. He wants to save us more than we want to be saved. As we study Nebuchadnezzar's story, we pray that we all will be drawn closer to Jesus. Remember that everything in the book of Daniel, including this story of Nebuchadnezzar, is focusing on last day events. The only people who will overcome in the final days are those who have a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ, individuals who have been truly converted to God. Before Daniel gives us the graphic details of last-day events in the prophetic section, he makes certain that we understand the need for conversion.

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream
1. Who is the author of Daniel 4? Daniel 4:1 "Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; 'Peace be multiplied unto you.'" Chapter 4 is the only chapter in the book of Daniel not written by Daniel himself. This is Nebuchadnezzar's testimony, the story of how he found God. The very fact that he tells all the sad details of his resistance to the God of heaven is evidence that he had finally experienced a change of heart.
2. What did Nebuchadnezzar hope to reveal through his testimony? Daniel 4:2, 3 "'I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. How great are His signs! and how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.'"  
3. Who did Nebuchadnezzar call in when he had his dream this time? Daniel 4:4-6 "'I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house and flourishing in my palace: I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream.'"  
4. Could the wise men interpret the dream? Daniel 4:7 "'Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.'" In Chapter 2 the wise men could not tell Nebuchadnezzar what his dream was. Now in chapter 4 they know the dream, but they still cannot tell the interpretation to the king. With each new revelation of the true God the wise men become more stubborn in their rebellion against Him, while in contrast Nebuchadnezzar yields to the God of heaven.
5. Who does Nebuchadnezzar now call in before him? Daniel 4:8, 9 "'But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream saying, "O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof."'"  
6. What are the main points of interest that Nebuchadnezzar reveal to Daniel?

Daniel 4:10-18 "'Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. i saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; He cried aloud, and said thus, "Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beats in the grass of the earth: Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. This matter is by decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men." This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.'"

 
7. What was the purpose of the dream? Daniel 4:17 "'...that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.'" Only when people allow God to rule their lives are they truly converted.
Daniel's Interpretation
8. How did Daniel respond when he heard the dream? Daniel 4:19 "Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, 'Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee.' Belteshazzar answered and said, 'My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.'" Daniel knew this was a difficult message for Nebuchadnezzar. He knew that the king could have him killed for stating what this dream clearly revealed. Daniel did not gloat that a calamity was about to fall upon Nebuchadnezzar, but showed the real concern of a true servant of God. God's people never rejoice when the wicked suffer. They have pity and concern for people who are outside of Christ.
9. Who did Daniel say the tree represented? Daniel 4:20-22 "The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight there of to all the earth; whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: it is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth."  
10. What was to happen to Nebuchadnezzar during these seven years? Daniel 4:23-25 "And whereas the king saw a watcher and an Holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, 'Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him;' this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king: that they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in thy kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will." What a terrible prediction! Nebuchadnezzar was to go insane. He who thought he could rule the world so well was to behave like a dumb animal.
11. What did God hope Nebuchadnezzar would learn through this experience of insanity? Daniel 4:25 "That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whosoever He will." Nebuchadnezzar must learn the basic gospel truth. He must be willing for God to rule his life. It is God who sets up kings, it is God who dethrones kings. Again the message of God comes through: God is in control of world events. God is vitally interested in people and wants them to recognize Him as the rightful ruler of their hearts.
12. Was Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom to be sure during this period of insanity? Daniel 4:26 "And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule."  
13. What counsel did Daniel give Nebuchadnezzar? Daniel 4:27 "Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thing iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor, if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility." The only way that Nebuchadnezzar could avoid the tragedy before him was to turn his heart over completely to God. Only by total commitment of his life to God would he be able to avert the coming calamity. He must acknowledge God as the rightful ruler of his life."
14. What happened to Nebuchadnezzar one year later? Daniel 4:28-33 "All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake, and said, 'Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?' While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, 'O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.' The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws." God is so patient. Even after His fateful warning He waited one full year, hoping that Nebuchadnezzar would respond. Sometimes God has to let people sink to the depths before they recognize their need of Him. This is what happened to Nebuchadnezzar. The prophecy was fulfilled to the letter and the king was insane for seven years.
15. Who did Nebuchadnezzar bless when his sanity returned seven years later? Daniel 4:34 "And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up imine 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:"  
16. What are the last words of Nebuchadnezzar's testimony? Daniel 4:35-37 "'And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, "What doest thou?" At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase."

It took God over thirty years to reach Nebuchadnezzar, but at long last Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged Him as the true God. No longer did Nebuchadnezzar exalt himself; instead he exalted and praised the God of heaven. Once people recognize God as the rightful ruler of their lives, they have true peace.

What God did for the ancient Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, He wants to do for men and women today. God is eager to save people now, just as He was to save Nebuchadnezzar. Sometimes He has to permit us to go down to the very gutter before He can lift us up and redeem us. But He will allow whatever needs to happen in order to reach us with the truth of the gospel. God did not save Nebuchadnezzar because he was good. He was a proud and arrogant ruler. Yet God loved him and looked for the fruits of grace extended to him. Sometimes people feel that God cannot save them because of what they have done. But the story of Nebuchadnezzar ought to encourage every one that God can save people in spite of their past experiences.

How God Saves People Today
17. How does God save people today? Ephesians 2:8, 9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Grace is the unmerited favor of God. People do not deserve it, they do not even earn it. It comes as a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ.
18. What does the apostle Paul call salvation? Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin si death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Salvation is free. People cannot earn it or work for it. They can only reach out and accept it.
19. What must a person do to accept the free gift of eternal life offered by Jesus Christ? Acts 16:30, 31 "And brought them out, and said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' And they said, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house.'" The word "believe" means to have implicit trust, confidence, and faith in Jesus Christ. It is not referring to mere intellectual assent. People must, like Nebuchadnezzar, allow God to fully control their lives.
20. What are four steps that people must take in coming to Jesus?
  • John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
  • Acts 11:18 "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, 'Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.'"
  • 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
  • Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
 
21. When people take these four steps and invite Jesus into their lives, will their prayers be answered? Mark 11:24 "Therefore I say unto you, 'What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.'" When people in simple faith pray and invite the Lord Jesus to come into their hearts, to rule their lives, they can know that He has come in. The Bible says it happens when people believe it. Not because they feel something special, but because Jesus has promised to come in when He is invited to come in.