In Daniel 4 we see another dream of Nebuchadnezzar, another interpretation from Daniel, and another application for you. The application of Daniel 4 for you then is that,
- You too can be restored to right relationship with God.
- You too can repent and be restored.
- You too can push away pride, and move toward God.
One thing I really want to highlight though and leave you with as a big idea from Daniel 4 is this – there can be no restoration without repentance.
There can be no restoration without repentance.Tweet
God’s justice never focuses on punishment but always on restoration of right relationship, as we see here in Daniel 4. At the core of Biblical justice, is restoring relationship.
Here in Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar put himself above God. He put that relationship well out of order. The justice that was given to him was designed to bring things back to normal, so to speak, to undo the damage. Here we saw that Nebuchadnezzar admitted that God is over all and can bring down those who live in pride (vv.34-37). God’s justice is satisfied by restoring peace to the relationship, not in dishing out pain as punishment.
Nebuchadnezzar went from tyrannical ruling authority to living outside eating grass for seven years, but, when justice had been served he was restored, wasn’t he?
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, for all his deeds are right and his ways are just. He is able to bring down those who live in pride.
There can be no restoration without repentance.
Often nowadays you will hear about a soft form of repentance, if you hear about it at all. Something like, “you need to pray and say sorry…that’s wrong and you know it, naughty boy…“. But, that’s if you will hear about repentance at all. Repentance in the Bible, repentance in the Word of God is more than that. It’s deeper than that.
It is admission to self.
It is confession to others.
It is contrition before God.
Admission, confession, contrition, and then action. What I mean by that is that you’ve got to recognise that your sin is sin. How? Look what God says about it, look how it is portrayed in His Word. You’ve got to recognise where you are missing the mark, the mark He has set for you.
You’ve got to confess where you find you’ve missed the mark. Your faith is personal, yes. But, you are saved as an individual into a community, for accountability. James 5 talks about confessing your sins to one another and praying for one another (5.16).
So confess your sins, be honest and open with someone before the Lord, and then you’ve got to be honest with Him too. Be contrite, show a bit of contrition. Actively pursue the opposite way to which your sin was taking you. Don’t just say you’re sorry for doing this or that, for saying this or that, for not saying this or that, watching, buying, going to…Don’t just say it, do it and prove it. First, in a contrite attitude then in action.
This might sound serious, and, well, it is. Pride, so I once read, was the very first sin ever committed (cf. Ezekiel 28). That prideful sin said “you know, I can do that just as well as God…I’m pretty good…I don’t need Him…”. If this all sounds serious then, it is. It is serious with serious consequences. This should absolutely weigh heavy on you. You should be feeling the weight of this right now because if unconfessed and un-dealt with, if ignored, your sin, your pride, is leading you on that same path that Nebuchadnezzar was on: away from God.
If this sounds heavy, it is.
But just as you begin to feel the crushing weight and burden of all of this, the burden of your pride and your sin, in comes the Good News. In comes Jesus. In comes God taken on flesh. In comes the Just and the Justifier. He is so, so Just that He simply has to take action against pride and against sin. It is all so, so serious that He took care of it Himself. The price was so high that He paid it Himself, nothing else would do. He gave His only begotten Son, sinless and spotless. He stood in the gap between a Holy and Just and Righteous God and you and your sin. He stood and stands in the gap between a Holy and Just and Righteous God and you, a depraved sinner incapable of ever bridging that gap.
So, for you today – why is it even important that I acknowledge when I am proud?
Because your pride is a sin that will bring about the justice of God. He hates it. He loves you, but He hates pride.
What do we do about it?
Well, take Nebuchadnezzar as a pattern – he realised and repented, he accepted and acknowledged, and he was restored. As Nebuchadnezzar’s sin was pride and we saw the punishment that his sin deserved, so does yours. Your sin deserves punishment. Very simply, our deeds carry inescapable consequences.
But, instead of punishing you for your sin, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians that God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God (5.21).
So, simply, your sin and its consequences were put upon Jesus, who did not know sin, so that in him YOU would become the righteousness of God.
God the Father treated Jesus, His only begotten Son, in that moment as a sinner. God poured out on Him in those moments His wrath against sins committed past, present, and future for all who are to believe in Jesus. God is so righteous and just that He has to. Sin has to go punished for restoration to be made possible. Through His suffering on that cross Jesus secured your forgiveness, and He made your restoration possible.
As Nebuchadnezzar was sent to live outside with animals for seven years in order to receive justice and to be brought to a place of repentance and then restoration, you have the opportunity now to repent and to be restored to right relationship with God because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross. The justice your pride and sin deserve was poured out on Him. Turn to Jesus in faith, with repentance, and for restoration.