- Pride in heaven. How foolish was it for Satan to be proud of himself? Or was he so smart, so clever, so creative that it was only logical for him to have a strong sense of pride about himself? Do you think that Satan has carried with him a sense of pride for the power he has over us and the dominion he has exercised down through the ages? Is he proud even today?
- Is this not Babylon the Great? Wait a minute. The king couldn’t remember anything about the first dream he had (about the head of gold and the statue), but this dream is clear except for its meaning. King Nebuchadnezzar summoned his wise men counting on an immediate explanation. Did the fact that this dream ended up with the central figure being reduced from a human being to a wild grass-eating beast help Daniel come up with a good illustration of the dream’s meaning? What was the king’s problem understanding it?
- Warned by the prophets. Daniel goes beyond a simple interpretation of the dream. What does he add? Does the king accept this additional information? Would you agree that pride is the biggest problem the king has? But didn’t he deserve to feel pride for building such a magnificent and beautiful city, Babylon the Great? Where did the money come from to pay for materials needed for this structure? Were the people in poverty who did much of the work properly rewarded for their labors? Is there a lesson here for you and me?
- The Most High rules. Do well-meaning people like us ever forget who is in charge? Of course we don’t build beautiful cities, but are there other ways we are tempted to feel pride for our accomplishments? Nebuchadnezzar had so much earthly power, how could he learn the lesson of humility before God? What did God send him to do instead? There is a medical term for the mental illness that came upon Nebuchadnezzar: species dysphoria, a desire to be an animal. Have you ever had symptoms of that disease? Of course not, you reply, but do feelings of pride ever tempt you? What is the solution?
- Lifting eyes toward heaven. Doesn’t it seem amazing that God would allow this “animal disease” to afflict the king for seven years? What did it take to stir Nebuchadnezzar from his unfortunate state? God may never subject you or me to such a disease, but does He allow hardships to fall on us? Even occasional lapses of clear thinking? Does He offer a cure? Or preventive measures? Explain.
- Writing the Bible. Of course Nebuchadnezzar didn’t write the Bible, but the words he wrote in a letter to all the inhabitants of his kingdom are included in the Old Testament book of Daniel. What courage can you and I gain from his contribution? Should the story of this mighty king, his humiliation, and his recovery from his mental illness bring us hope?