Thus were the visions of my head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the middle of the earth, and the height thereof was great.…
I. UNDUE EXALTATION OF SPIRIT MAY BRING DEGRADATION OF THE FLESH. Rich men often look over a vast domain which they call their own, and the sight of their outward and visible possessions may inflate their spirit with pride, as air forced: into a bladder will expand it to its utmost extent Yet much that they look upon may have been bought for them by the blood and brain and sweat of others, the thought of whose labour ought to prevent the vain-glory of the possessor. This was the case with this giant king of the olden times (v.30.) And he bestowed no thought on the outstanding debt due to the human beings who had really build the city. If he had looked beyond that which was immediately before him, he would have seen the captives whom he had taken in war toiling to raise for him the stately buildings, those who had wrought for him, and had been repaid with scanty food and an iron rule. "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built:" But he "feared not God, neither regarded man."
II. THE DEGRADATION OF THE FLESH MAY LEAD TO A RIGHT EXALTATION OF SPIRIT (V. 34). There are many people whom prosperity fails to bring to a right state of heart before God, and then chastisement becomes a necessity. God is willing to try the rod when nothing but the rod will bring the desired end. There are many men in the world who are much less overbearing towards the weak after they have been knocked down by a stronger arm than their own.
III. A DOXOLOGY WILL SPRING FROM A RIGHT EXALTATION OF SPIRIT (V. 37). Praise from a soul that has been humiliated in body and smitten in circumstance is the best sign that it has come into a condition of sound humility, and that the affliction has not been in vain. But praise is the outcome of pain when the pain has been followed by healing. So with Nebuchadnezzar. He passed through a painful experience, but it issued in bringing him to the feet of the Eternal God. Lessons:
1. Divine punish merit may become Divine healing. Diseases require treatment in proportion to their severity, and of all soul-disease there is none more difficult to cure than pride, "which is an abomination to the Lord" (Proverbs 16:5). But in the case before us, as in many others, the chastisement of the sin became the instrument of its cure.
2. Those who have most sympathy with God are the most bold in declaring the conditions of His mercy. Daniel feared not to tell his king of his sins, and to warn him that repentance was the only way to escape judgment.
(A. London Minister.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great.