Nebuchadnezzar the king was “walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’ While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.’ Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
“But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
“All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can ward off His hand
Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’
At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” (Dan. 4:29-37)
Such immediate and visible divine humbling of a human ego is rare. Nebuchadnezzar made the mistake of attributing his great position as ruler of an impressive empire to his own prowess instead of realizing that God had bestowed it on him. He was a believer in self-exaltation; he believed he was a self-made man. He loved looking down from his pinnacle of power.
Through a dream, which Daniel interpreted (Dan. 4:4-27), Nebuchadnezzar was warned to acknowledge that ultimately heaven makes the rules and the rulers.
Nebuchadnezzar ignored the warning for a year. God intervened and flipped a brain switch. Nebuchadnezzar dropped to the level of a lower life-form, crawling in dewy meadows to chew grass. It was an object lesson in humility. Once Nebuchadnezzar stopped looking down on everyone and raised his eyes in realization of a higher being than himself, his sanity and sovereignty were restored.
Exaltation is relative. We honor God when we lift Him up but also when we are humbled or when we humble ourselves. Nebuchadnezzar’s story urges us to take the initiative to exalt God.
Isaiah 12:4 uses the Hebrew word, sagab, for exalted, it means “inaccessibly high”. “Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.” Nothing compares with God. There is no danger of going too far with our exaltation of Him.
Worship includes humility.