And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, `Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him’; this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses. And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules. (Dan 4:23-26 NKJ)
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. (Rom 12:3 NKJ)
In Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream God showed him his place in the whole scheme of things. The Babylonians had a role to play in God’s metanarrative, the big picture. Babylon would later exceed their calling and bring judgment on themselves, as Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream showed that the Persian empire would follow.
We see that Nebuchadnezzar could not see the need for other empires and built a statue that exalted himself. This nine-foot tall structure demanded worship. Now the king was to find out that it is God, and God alone who promotes, and God who takes down. Now, Nebuchadnezzar, who thought he should be worshipped will walk on all fours and eat grass.
Paul reminds us to keep our God-given place. Many have gone before, and many have fallen, some with dire consequences.