He "rubbed elbows" with Daniel from the first year of his reign as king in Babylon--Daniel, a man mighty in faith. He experienced God's direct speaking to him through a dream with his response of great praise. (see Daniel 2:46-47)
Yet years passed and he forgot, making a 90-foot-high golden image to which the kingdom was to bow down. He threw Daniel and his friends into the fiery furnace because they would not worship his idol, only to experience their miraculous deliverance by the Lord himself--"the fire had no power (over their bodies); the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them." (Daniel 3:27) Amazing! And he again responded with his lips in praise of the God on high.
Yet his eyes soon dropped to earthly things rather than his knees continuing to bow in reverence of this awesome God. He had a second dream, called Daniel to interpret, and still did not reach the point of true humility--that is, not until he was stripped of absolutely everything. "He was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws." (Daniel 4:33)
Do you grasp the picture? This was the king of Babylon--"(whose) greatness had grown and reached to the heavens, and (his) dominion to the end of the earth." And everything was taken, till he knew that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses. (Daniel 4:25) He became like a madman, alone in a field, for seven years. Then his understanding returned, and he "blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever." (Daniel 4:34)
That is the last we hear of ol' Neb. Our assumption could be that he was forever changed to be a worshipper of God Almighty. But he had to be brought completely low to reach the point of true submission. How I don't want that to be me!
I don't want to be one who hears and sees the great workings of my Lord, only to be faced with circumstance where my faith appears non-existent--where I seemingly forget that what He says will come to pass. Period.
Nebuchadnezzar's unbelief did not take God off-guard. He wasn't sitting on his heavenly throne saying, "O man, what am I going to do with this guy?" That is the furthest from reality. Our God knew what would have to eventually happen for true repentance to break through--and in His perfect, omniscient timing He brought him low. And He did it for this man's ultimate good and God's ultimate glory.
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom is from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;
He does according to His will in the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the earth.
No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, "What have You done?"
There is a very big God reigning, and He loves you and me immeasurably. Knees to the dirt.