Who’s in charge here?

Daniel 4.1-18

This note was originally published on Friday 5 April 2019.

The Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth ...


Close your eyes and imagine you are approaching the Most High God, sitting on his throne. If you can, kneel on the floor and bow your head, acknowledging your sovereign Lord.


Daniel 4.1-18


Have you ever been in a restaurant or a shop, and witnessed a disgruntled customer demand to see the manager? I’ve never been quite brave enough myself, even when confronted by appalling service!

In today’s passage, verse 17 answers a series of questions:

Who is in charge? Everyone in Babylon, if they had been asked that question on the street, would have instantly and nervously answered, ‘Nebuchadnezzar!’ But who is really in charge?

When does he rule? Look at the tense of all the verbs in verse 17 – they are all present tense. God rules today, not simply in the future.

Where does he rule? Israel? Look in verse 17: ‘the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth’. That includes here.

How does he rule? With complete freedom: God gives kingdoms ‘to anyone he wishes’ – even ‘the lowliest of people’.

This sovereign freedom of God is expressed in the rather vague word ‘times’ (v 16), which will come up again and again. It is used to reveal and keep hidden what God is doing. He alone is sovereign: over Nebuchadnezzar, over me, and over you.


The worst charge the Bible has for God’s people is that they honour God with their lips, while their hearts are far away. If you can, kneel again, and spend a few moments in silence, committing your heart to God.