Your God is beyond question the God of all gods. Daniel 2:47
On a scale of 1 to 10, Nebuchadnezzar’s stress level had to have been least 20. He had just conquered a nation. And with that conquest came the aggravation of dealing with a strange, stubborn people who were now his reluctant subjects.
By the time the new year rolled around, Nebuchadnezzar probably had his physician, shrink, and masseuse parked outside his bed chamber to attend to his stress-induced condition. Insomnia probably plagued him constantly. And when he did fall into short bursts of sleep, he had troubling dreams that left him paranoid during his waking hours.
No wonder Daniel spends an entire chapter describing Nebuchadnezzar’s obsession to discover the meaning of his dream. For the king, discovering the meaning of the dream meant finding the peace his soul so desired. Whatever would lead to the discovery would, therefore, be his salvation.
So when God, through Daniel, reveals the meaning of his dream, the king declares Daniel’s God the only true god. Having finally found the source of truth and peace, Nebuchadnezzar finally understands the power of God.
This should have been the turning point of Nebuchadnezzar’s life, the climax of the history of his new kingdom. But, it wasn’t. The very next chapter describes the next big event. Here Nebuchadnezzar proclaims that he should receive all respect and worship reserved for the gods and demands that every one bow before him.
What a change in attitude! And how quickly! He could not have forgotten what had happened just a little while earlier. Rather it seems like his discovery of the true God during his bad-dream phase was a just a needed solution to an immediate problem, another fact added to his bank of trivia and details. It was not an experience of conversion. The knowledge had not traveled from his head to his heart. Learning about and acknowledging God had had no long-term effect.
God has to be more than a Wikipedia entry, more than facts and details, more than proof texts and cross references. For God to have any positive effect in your life, your knowledge of Him must change your heart and make you a new creature.
Feature image by sergey mikheev on Unsplash