Nebuchadnezzar the king, to all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied to you.…
Even kings learn the humiliating lesson at last that they are but men. As a counterpoise to their advantages, there is, on their side, this great disadvantage, viz. that their minds are singularly impervious to appeals from God. A drawback this which more than counterweighs all their privilege.
I. GOD'S BEST GIFTS ARE OFTEN CONVEYED TO MEN THROUGH PAINFUL CHANNELS, God "causeth his sun to shine on the evil and the good. He sendeth rain on just and unjust alike." So with earthly riches, honour, rank, lame. These gifts betoken no special favour of the Highest. They are of so little worth that God gives them in abundance to his foes. But his best gifts are obtained only through penitence, self-denial, suffering - both vicarious and personal. Job's wealth came, at the first, almost as an accident, and it exposed him to the envy and malice of Satan. If he had lived and died in his luxurious ease, the world would never have heard of him. But suffering wrought in him patience, submission, and faith. This was wealth which entered into his character, and abides with him still. The poor kingdoms of earth may be gained by the accident of birth, or by the mere chances of diabolic war; but the everlasting kingdom can only be reached through soul-tribulation. "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered."
II. GOD'S BEST GIFTS ARE INTENDED TO REVEAL HIMSELF TO THE SOUL. These gifts, when rightly estimated, are prodigies of skill and mirrors of Divine love. If God may be seen in his material works, he can be yet more clearly seen in his gracious gifts to men. Every one of these is a love-token, bearing on it the impression of his heart. Nebuchadnezzar had been wont to think that his royal good fortune was the highest good he possessed; but now he is led into the dark school of suffering, and made to learn his folly. Now he learns that God's gifts of mind, reason, memory, speech, are far nobler than royal dignities, and that for the creation and preservation of these he is indebted to the God of heaven. Further, he is made to learn that there is a higher King than himself, and that to know and love God is the loftiest good of man. Jesus Christ is God's best Gift to man, because he reveals to us the Father. Let us value most those blessings which bring us nearest to God!
III. GOD'S BEST GIFTS ARE INTENDED TO BEAUTIFY CHARACTER. Nebuchadnezzar's wealth, power, conquests, had brought no real good to the man; nay, they had done him harm. They had corrupted the better principles of his soul. They had made him self-sufficient, proud, tyrannical. But now, in a season of mental suffering, God's grace had touched his heart. In that humiliated state, the king learns his dependence on God, his need of Divine help, and the homage due to the supreme Jehovah. His pride is abated. His love of the world is diminished. He is constrained to give unto God his due. He is made another man. His inmost character has been benefited. He is more indebted to temporary insanity than to all his successful wars.
IV. THE BEST GIFTS OF GOD DEMAND PUBLIC ACKNOWLEDGMENT. There was the greatest propriety that the Chaldean king should proclaim to the world his obligations to God. He had been placed under weighty indebtedness, and could show his gratitude in no other way than by declaring to the world his obligation. Often had he made proclamations and edicts to propagate his own will and pleasure; it was fitting that he should now act as a dependent, as a herald of the great King. What better form - what other form - can gratitude assume, than publishing our obligations to the world? We can do no good to God in return for his kindness; we may do good to our fellow-men. If gratitude be genuine it will be publicly acknowledged. Honest recipients of blessing will say, "Come, ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul." - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.