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.…
There is no narrative in the Scriptures which we may not apply to ourselves.
1. Is there not some portion of that old Babylonish pride in your hearts? You have never committed the same sins as the insane king, it is true. But have you, ever been tried as he was — brought up in the midst of royal luxury, taught to regard all men as beneath him and subject to his will, and made absolute from childhood, so that his slightest wish was law? If not you have nothing to boast of, and yet those sins you count so little may be as great as his were to him. That love of dress, that greed of money-making, the forgetfulness of common mercies, the neglect of religious duty, are but developments of the same disease which afflicted him. "Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches?"
2. How often have we seen this literally fulfilled — the edifice of pride, which had been erected by the toilsome labour of one man, dashed to the ground in ruin, while the possessor sees his children, bankrupt of youth and innocence, ignorant and regardless of the only treasure they can carry with them into a better world?
3. Can there be a more useful antidote than this chapter for the materialism which prevails, for fraud in high places, for public dishonesty, the mixture of luxury and bankruptcy and business immorality which threaten to sweep away the barriers of right and truth? What can we apprehend from such scenes but the stern and solemn voice of the watcher, "Hew down the tree?" Surely, then, this record speaks to us to aim at greater purity and simplicity of manner, at greater economy — for a reckless spendthrift must be dishonest, as he spends what he does not earn. We should deny ourselves in the way of vain show, and not be guilty of the folly of endeavouring to outdo each other in finery, in great parties, in luxurious living and magnificent extravagance. The spending of a half-year's earnings in a single day is nothing but insanity.
(J. Medley, D.D.)
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.