Daniel Chapter 4 / The Hard Lesson (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on September 30, 2012


This is the eighth in a series of  expositions of the book of Daniel. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of September 30, 2012. This message deals with pride, and the and the impact of it in every Christian’s life. This contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

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Daniel 4

Study Outline:

Dan 4 Outline


Daniel 4 / The Hard Lesson


In this chapter we see the devastating effect of pride. We see it reduce one of the most powerful men in the world to a mere animal.

The king was so severely broken, that all he could do was acknowledge God’s sovereignty and authority.

After the ordeal was over, he felt it necessary to write a letter to the entire world, and openly admit his pride and God’s authority.


This is a unique chapter in the Bible, because its an official autobiographical document, prepared by the king of Babylon, and distributed throughout his kingdom.

Twenty to thirty years may have elapsed since the fiery furnace, and the events described in this chapter.

He was enjoying a time of peace and security.

He had defeated all his enemies, and completed several impressive building projects.

Nebuchadnezzar viewed himself as the builder of the Babylonian empire.

God had a message for him, and once again He communicated with Nebuchadnezzar through a dream.

This becomes a familiar scene as the king calls all of his wise men in to interpret the dream, and they all fail.

Daniel was the last to come in, once again the king had overlooked the man of God. Once again, Daniel demonstrates the power and wisdom of God.


vv. 10-17 (The Dream):

V.19: Daniel’s pause and concern for the king:

Daniel informs the king that the tree to be chopped down was the king. Giving bad news to a king in those days was not good business. It could mean imprisonment or even death.

Kings like to have their egos stroked

Read vs. 24-27 (the interpretation):

Daniel did not sugar coat his message just because he was talking to the king.

Preachers who tailor their messages to please people will never enjoy the blessings of God.

Daniel unashamedly called for repentance, and this pertains to all Christians.

The truth is not always well received, but we have a responsibility to speak it.

How often do preachers preach a “feel good” message, never to mention sin and call for repentance?

We love to hear about the grace of God, but without acknowledgment of our sin there can be no repentance. Without repentance, there can be no grace!

The whole Gospel must be preached, not just half of it. Half of Jesus can’t save you, you must take Him completely!

Consider the illustration of the passover lamb, which was a type of Jesus, the Perfect Lamb of God.

Exodus 12:10

Just as Jesus must be accepted completely, we cannot add to, take way, or mix anything with Him or His word.

Proverbs 30:5-6

The king passed up a gracious opportunity. He could have had a new beginning by simply submitting to the will of God.

vv.29-33 The fulfillment of prophecy:

The king refused to yield, pride had gripped his heart, but God waited patiently, as He often does, to allow time for repentance. God’s judgment had been withheld for a full year.

Babylon was considered to be the most beautiful city in the world. It was located on the Euphrates River, covered at least six square miles, contained great walls and palaces, and was home to the Hanging Gardens – one of the seven wonders of the world.

1. The king took pride in these accomplishments.
2. “self-made man”
3. “pulled himself up by his own bootstraps”
4. REMEMBER: Pride is the only disease that everybody around you suffers from except yourself!

It was his pride that eventually brought about his humility.

The mighty king was made to live, eat, act, and look like a lowly animal

This must have been the ultimate disgrace for the ruler of the largest and richest kingdom in the world, and it continued for 7 years.

This would be a lesson that the king would not soon forget.

What keeps us from repenting, even when we are clear about our wrongdoing?

If you have a chronic sin in your life, what will it take to get your attention?

vv.34-35 The confession:

His will was finally broken and his heart was finally softened.

He confessed, praised and honored God.

He acknowledged God’s sovereignty.

The king was finally humbled, he saw man as nothing compared to God.

He acknowledged that no one can resist God, or question His authority.

vv.36-37 The Restoration:

The kings reason was immediately returned to him.

His officials sought him out, and his place as king was restored in his waiting kingdom. God had preserved this kingdom for him, and now he was even more highly exalted.

He continued to praise and honor God.

He acknowledged God as truth, and as the judge. He knew that God could bring down any prideful man.

Nebuchadnezzar spent seven years living as an animal, all because of his pride. It was pride that cost Satan his exalted place in Heaven, and condemned him to Hell.

Isaiah 14:12-14

Pride has caused many men to stumble and fall into painful humility, and like satan, the fall is hard!

Isaiah 14:15-16

Pride brings only shame, but humility brings wisdom

Proverbs 11:2

You can’t be humble while thinking about yourself (putting yourself first). Life is not about you. The world does not revolve around you.

Philippians 2:3

You can’t work for your own glory and serve God at the same time. You can’t serve two masters. You can’t serve yourself and God.

Matthew 6:24

Who do you serve?

Is pride keeping you from confessing your sins to God? Is it standing in the way of your salvation?

Is pride keeping you from making a commitment to God?

Is pride keeping you from doing certain jobs in the church?

Is pride keeping you from being the servant you should be?