Daniel 4:2
I am pleased to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me:
Royal Witness for GodJ.D. Davies Daniel 4:1-3
The Comeliness of ConfessionH.T. Robjohns Daniel 4:1-3
The Proclamation of Peace to All NationsWilliam White.Daniel 4:1-18

To me it seemed comely to declare the signs and the wonders that God Most High for me hath wrought (ver. 2 amended translation). The history of the king's insanity is told, not by the Prophet Daniel, but in a state paper, under the hand of the king, and quoted by the prophet. The edict is true to human nature and to the king's character. The following motives may have influenced him:

1. Gratitude.

2. Conscience. It was right to admit sin and to recount its judgments.

3. A certain complacency in being the object of Divine dealing.

4. A self-respectful independence of the opinion of the crowd.

From the text occasion may be taken to discourse on the propriety of recounting the Lord's dealings with ourselves.

I. THE RECOUNTING should be marked by the following characteristics.

1. The subject-matter should be of public concern. The facts should either be already public, or such as may with propriety be made public property. There are deep things of the human spirit, which, to recount, would be good neither for ourselves nor for others. In Nebuchadnezzar's case, the facts were notorious, though it rested with him to exhibit them in a Divine light.

2. The audience may then be one whole circle. The largeness of our circle depends in part on our social elevation. The higher our standing, the larger the number who know us. Not entirely our social elevation; for much will depend on our moral elevation. Thomas Wright, the prison philanthropist; Levi Coffin, who was "the underground railway" by which slaves passed from misery to Canada, - were names known all over the world. All who had any knowledge of the king were to hear what the Lord had done for his soul (see ver. 1).

3. The tone should be kindest. "The royal style which Nebuchadnezzar makes use of has nothing in it of pomp or fancy; but is plain, short, and unaffected, 'Nebuchadnezzar the king."

4. Integrity should pervade the recital. It should constitute one whole. God's rebukes, as well as his favours, should come into our account, even though humiliating to ourselves, if the good of others and the glory of God demand it. Some striking instances of such recital of sins and the Father's chastisement, will be found in the narrative of his early life by George Muller, in 'The Lord's Dealings.'

5. The motive should be God. Certainly not our own glory - not self, nor others, save subordinately.

II. THE PROPRIETY OF IT. Such a recounting of Divine dealing with us is:

1. Good for ourselves. In the case of the king, he was led

(1) to admire the Divine acts;

(2) to infer the Divine rule.

2. Salutary for others.

3. Conducive to the Divine glory and the extension of the Divine kingdom. - R.

"Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him." There are moments of astonishment in all true ministries. The word "hour" should be replaced by the word "moment": Then Daniel was astonished for one moment. But into one moment how many hours may be condensed! Into one feeling a whole lifetime, with manifold and tragical experience, may enter. We have nothing to do with mere time in calculating spiritual impression, spiritual service, spiritual enjoyment. Daniel was not a man to be easily affrighted; the astonishment which befell him was moral, imaginative, not in the sense of fancying things that did not exist, but in the sense of giving realities their largest scope and meaning. He was astonished that such a fate was awaiting king Nebuchadnezzar. It was like a blow struck upon the very centre of his forehead; when he saw what was going to befall the king he was struck, as it were, with a spear of lightning, his voice faltered, as did the fashion of his countenance. He had a message to deliver, and yet he delivered it with tears that were hidden in the tone of his voice. He was not flippant; he was solemn with an ineffable solemnity. Never was he in such a position before. Only the Divine Spirit could make him equal to the responsibilities of that critical hour. Many words we can utter easily, but to pronounce doom upon life, any life, old man's or little child's, is a task which drives our words back again down the throat. We cannot utter them, yet we must do so; we wait in the hope that some relief will come, but relief does not come from this burden-bearing in the sanctuary of life. The preacher is often as much astonished as the hearer, and as much terrified. In proportion as the preacher is faithful to the hook which he has to read, expound, and enforce, will he sometimes come to passages that he would rather not read. It would be delightful if we could expel the idea of penalty from our human intercommunion. Men have tried to fill up the pit of hell with flowers, and all the flowers have been consumed. It would be delightful to hide by concealment of any kind the horrors that await the wicked man, but to hide those horrors is to aggravate them. It can be no joy to any man to go forth and say, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." No man could utter such words but in obedience to the election and ordination of God. It is easy, if we consult our own flesh and sense and taste alone, to hide the Cross of agony and shame; but he who hides the Cross hides the salvation which it symbolises, and without which it is impossible. It is not easy for any man, Jonah or Daniel, Hosea or Joel, to say unto the wicked, It shall be ill with thee. We would rather live upon the other side of the hill, where the sun smiles all day, where the flowers grow as if they would never cease to unfold some new secret of colour and beauty, and where the birds trill a song from hour to hour, as if growing in capacity as they multiply in service. But the hill of the Lord is many-sided; we should be unfaithful and unjust if we did not recognise its multifold aspects, and show them to those who have come to see the reality and the mystery of the Divine Kingdom amongst men. Daniel looks wondrously well in the moment of his astonishment. The man's best self is now in his face. How quiet he is, and what singular tenderness plays around the sternness which befits the message that he is about to deliver! What a mixture of emotion, what an interplay of colour, what an agony of sensation! yet Daniel is a true man, and he will speak the true word, come of it what may, so far as he himself is concerned; furnace of fire or den of lions, he must speak the word which the Lord has given to him. Why do we not follow his example? Why do we try to take out of the Divine word all things offensive? It would be easy to pander to human taste, and to flatter human vanity, and to assure the half-damned man that the process cannot be completed, but that after all he will be taken to Heaven and made a seraph of. Who can tell lies so thick, so black? Let him eschew the altar and the Cross.

(Joseph Parker, D.D.)

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