God’s Warning Signs

June 2, 2024

Series: Our God Reigns

Topic: humility, pride

Book: Daniel

God's Warning Signs

God’s Warning Signs

Dan 4:1-3 (ESV) King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! [2] It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me. [3] How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.

It seemed good to Nebuchadnezzar to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God had done for him. So what did he do? He made a public declaration to all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth. His desire is to reach all the peoples within his sphere of influence and to show them how God has worked in his life.

He begins his address by saying, “Peace be multiplied to you.”

“The idea seemed to be, that every blessing was found in peace, and every evil in conflict and war. The expression included the wish that they might be preserved from all that would disturb them; that they might be contented, quiet, prosperous, and happy. When it is said “peace be multiplied,” the wish is that it might abound, or that they might be blessed with the numberless mercies which peace produces.” (Albert Barnes)

Ever since Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God, in their attempt to be god of their own lives, man’s greatest need has been peace and reconciliation with God. The farther we are removed from that day, we have a tendency to forget or to ignore the God who made us for his glory. We go through life as if there is no God and even worse yet, that we are god over our own existence. When that happens all we can see are the little kingdoms that we create. Kingdoms of family, career, pleasure, leisure. Kingdoms of power and politics, nations and rulers. Kingdoms of self and pride, my ways and my wants.

What we need to see and what Nebuchadnezzar is honestly attempting to do in this public decree, is that God is giving us a warning. The signs and wonders that God had done for Nebuchadnezzar were warning signs meant to bring a change of heart and a change of life.

Big Idea: God is gracious to provide a warning.

Back in 2018, Terri and I got to check something off our bucket list. We were gifted a week in Ireland. One night we drove up the coast to go eat at this restaurant we had found on Google. We turned into our parking space across from the restaurant. These spaces were literally on concrete forms that had been poured right next to the Atlantic Ocean. Here is what we saw:

On another outing we went to the Cliffs of Moher. These cliffs are so beautiful! The hills are green and lush. You can walk on trails that are right on the cliff face and again look out into the Atlantic Ocean. But you must be careful. You must pay attention. If you aren’t careful, disaster could happen.

We need warning signs!

God sent a reluctant prophet named Jonah to warn the city of Nineveh to repent before God destroyed them.

God sent John the Baptist to warn the people of his generation to repent because the kingdom of God had arrived in the person of Jesus.

Noah warned the people of his generation to repent and believe and get on the boat because the Lord was going to destroy the world by a flood.

The entire word of God is, in a sense, a word of warning. God has given us his truth of who Jesus is and that he is the only Savior and that we must repent and turn to him.

(Nebuchadnezzar ruled from 605-562 B.C. Most scholars believe this account is toward the end of his reign, possibly around 571 B.C. Daniel is now around 50 years old.)

Dan 4:4-18 (ESV) I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace. [5] I saw a dream that made me afraid. As I lay in bed the fancies and the visions of my head alarmed me. [6] So I made a decree that all the wise men of Babylon should be brought before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. [7] Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers came in, and I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its interpretation. [8] At last Daniel came in before me—he who was named Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods—and I told him the dream, saying, [9] “O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too difficult for you, tell me the visions of my dream that I saw and their interpretation. [10] The visions of my head as I lay in bed were these: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great. [11] The tree grew and became strong, and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth. [12] Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the heavens lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it. [13] “I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven. [14] He proclaimed aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and lop off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts flee from under it and the birds from its branches. [15] But leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, amid the tender grass of the field. Let him be wet with the dew of heaven. Let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. [16] Let his mind be changed from a man’s, and let a beast’s mind be given to him; and let seven periods of time pass over him. [17] The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’ [18] This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. And you, O Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation, but you are able, for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”

What is the warning to Nebuchadnezzar?

The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.

Nebuchadnezzar needed to understand that God alone rules and reigns. He was at ease in his house, reveling in the prosperity of his palace, but what he failed to recognize was that the Lord was the source of it all.

There is no room for the “pride of life” (1 John 2:16) once you realize that the Most High God is the source and the sustainer of your entire life.

Nebuchadnezzar had visions of the greatness and the magnitude of his kingdom. His pride led him to believe that he was the source of that greatness. The reality was that God had given him the kingdom.

Jer 27:5-7 (ESV) “It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. [6] Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him. [7] All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes. Then many nations and great kings shall make him their slave.

 The warning was about Nebuchadnezzar and his pride.

Nebuchadnezzar was given a warning from the Lord that the Lord was about to deal with him over the issue of his pride. Yes, he had power. Yes, he had prestige and a palace. Yes, he had military might and had conquered nations, and now he was at leisure in his kingdom. But what he failed to recognize is that he wasn’t responsible for any of it. His life, his power, his fame, his kingdom, was all a gift from God and God alone was to receive the glory, honor, blessing, and praise.

Why is pride such a big deal?

Gerald Cowen wrote, “Pride is rebellion against God because it attributes to oneself the honor and glory due to God alone.”

Isaiah 48:11—My glory I will not give to another.

Pro 16:18 (ESV) Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

 Pro 18:12 (ESV) Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.

 Pro 21:4 (ESV) Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.

 Pro 15:25 (ESV) The LORD tears down the house of the proud but maintains the widow’s boundaries.

 Isa 2:12 (ESV) For the LORD of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low;

Dan 4:37 (ESV) …and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.


Question to consider:

Do we struggle with pride?

 Symptoms of pride:

  • Complaining against or passing judgment on God.
  • A lack of gratitude in general.
  • Anger.
  • Seeing yourself as better than others.
  • Having an inflated view of your importance.
  • Being focused on the lack of your gifts and abilities
  • Perfectionism.
  • Talking too much.
  • Talking too much about yourself.
  • Seeking independence or control.
  • Being consumed with what others think.
  • Being devastated or angered by criticism.
  • Being unteachable.
  • Being sarcastic, hurtful, or degrading.
  • A lack of service.
  • A lack of compassion.
  • Being defensive or blame-shifting.
  • A lack of admitting when you are wrong.
  • A lack of asking forgiveness.
  • Resisting authority or being disrespectful.

 Pride is like a sandcastle. Once upon a time someone came upon a beach and some water and thought to themselves, “I can build something incredible out of that.” So they took some sand and some water to pack it together and started making little figures and little castles. Then the figures and castles got bigger and more grand.

 The problem with a sandcastle? It doesn’t last. It can’t stand.

 Our lives were meant to be built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. He alone is our Rock. 

 Pride is our problem. What is the answer?

 Jas 4:6 (ESV) But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

1Pe 5:5 (ESV) Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”