Who do you think is beyond hope when it comes to salvation? Is there someone who has dropped off of your prayer list because he or she seems to be beyond the reach of God’s grace? Then be encouraged by the personal testimony of one of the most evil and wicked leaders in human history, Nebuchadnezzar.
Nebuchadnezzar was the greatest king of the greatest empire in the world (Daniel 2:37-38). He was the tyrant who threw three Hebrew men into the fiery furnace when they refused to bow to his image (Daniel 3:13-23). And he is the ruler Saddam Hussein said he wanted to be like. This same Nebuchadnezzar was converted! And he wrote down his testimony as a witness, not only to the world of his day, but also to future generations.
I. He Was Personally Changed: What God Did (Daniel 4:1-3)
- In what way did God change Nebuchadnezzar’s priorities? Compare 3:13-15 with 4:1. His preoccupation? Compare 4:2 and 4:30. His perspective? Compare 3:15 and 4:3, 34-35.
- If there has been no personal change as a result of confessed faith in Jesus Christ, can a person go to Heaven? See Matthew 18:3.
- What does the Bible say in James 2:17 about a professed faith that gives no evidence of change?
- When were you personally changed or converted? What changes has Jesus made in your life that others can see?
II. He Was Powerfully Changed: How God Did It (Daniel 4:4-35)
A. God Created a Need (verses 14-18)
- Describe the condition of Nebuchadnezzar’s life in 4:4.
- Of what spiritual needs do you think he was aware? What material needs? What emotional and physical needs?
- How did his condition change in verses 5-18?
- What needs are you aware of in the life of your Nebuchadnezzar?
B. God Clarified His Word (verses 19-27)
As a prophet from God, Daniel’s word was God’s Word.
- What emphasis did Daniel give in his presentation of God’s Word in verses 19-23? Verses 24-26? Verse 27? How are these important today?
- How necessary is God’s Word to change or conversion? See Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 2:3-6.
- What have you done to make sure your Nebuchadnezzar hears the Word of God?
C. God Crushed Nebuchadnezzar’s Pride (verses 28-33)
- What was Nebuchadnezzar’s response to hearing God’s Word explained and applied to his life? Read verses 27-30.
- How long did God wait for Nebuchadnezzar to repent of his sin? Read verse 29.
- What evidence is there in verses 31-33 that God’s patience did not mean toleration or acceptance of sin?
- What are some ways God brings people to repentance? See 2 Chronicles 33:1-2, 10-13; Jonah 1:4, 17; Acts 9:1-9, 16:26-30 and Romans 2:4.
- Whose responsibility is it to convict your Nebuchadnezzar of sin? See John 16:7-11.
- In what way have you been doing the Holy Spirit’s job? Would you stop pointing out the sin in the other person’s life and just pray?
D. God Changed Nebuchadnezzar’s Mind (verses 34-35)
- In verse 34, what was involved when Nebuchadnezzar raised his eyes toward Heaven? Compare verse 25 with 34-35.
- If God could change Nebuchadnezzar, why do you think He cannot change the person for whom you have been praying?
- How is God working in the life of your Nebuchadnezzar to create an awareness of his need for God? To clarify God’s Word to him? To crush his pride? To change his mind and bring him to repentance?
III. He Was Purposefully Changed: Why God Did It (daniel 4:36-37)
- What were the practical results of Nebuchadnezzar’s conversion, in verse 36?
- Do you think Nebuchadnezzar’s life was better or worse because of his conversion?
- What was the ultimate spiritual and eternal result of his conversion? See verse 37.
- What is the ultimate purpose of your conversion? Read Matthew 5:16; Romans 15:5-6; and 1 Corinthians 6:20.
- Would you take a few minutes to thank God for what He did for Nebuchadnezzar of old?
- Thank Him now for what He has done for you, for how He has done it, and for His purposes in doing it.
- Make time today to write down your personal testimony as a witness to those who may read it, including future generations of children and grandchildren. And persevere in prayer for your Nebuchadnezzar.
Adapted from an article published in May 2011.
Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 40 years. Her latest book, The Daniel Key, is available from major booksellers.