“At the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored Him who lives forever…” Daniel 5:34
I was reading through my daily ‘Through the Bible in a Year Plan’ and this Scripture was like an anchor, not letting me surface. I had that nagging sense of déjà vu, a mild sense of uneasiness. I knew this, didn’t I? I did. All of a sudden I felt like David when the Lord confronted him through Nathan the prophet. “You are the man!” I was Nebuchadnezzar, or had been at least.
Nebuchadnezzar (and I) had learned the deceptive nature of a proud heart. From Adam to present, the lie of the serpent has been the plague of humanity. The smooth and flattering words,” You shall be as gods” are music to fallen ears. The world displays its banner on every street corner, in our homes, our schools, and even in our churches. We proudly worship the greatest of idols, ourselves. What does a proud heart look like? It looked like me. It looked like Nebuchadnezzar. How similar were our stories! And yet so different. Centuries between us, nothing in common but our first father Adam and his fallen nature. Yet we were kin no doubt.
In the 5th century B.C., King Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream. Daniel, a prophet of Jehovah Himself, was called to interpret the king’s dream and gave the Lord’s verdict. “O King: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and will give it to whom he will.” Then Daniel counsels him to “break off his sins and practice righteousness…” (4:27)
Who in their right mind would ignore such a serious warning? So we turn the page. In just the span of twelve months, the hard-hearted king declares, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”(4:30) And, “while the words were still in the king’s mouth,” God’s judgment is swift, the humiliation severe. For the next seven years, the great King is a raving lunatic. We may ridicule, picturing the greatest king of his time, roaming the fields beyond the palace eating grass like a beast, his hair grew as long as eagle feathers, and his nails were as long as bird’s claws.
I do not mock, as this was my judgment as well. There was a long period in my life when God dismantled my kingdom, humiliated me and my pride. But for His faithful mercy, I would not have survived. Although my kingdom was just a microcosm of Nebuchadnezzar’s grand and glorious one, it was a kingdom nonetheless. Yet ultimately God is Sovereign, He ruled then as He rules now. Are you a rebellious king of your own kingdom? Do you still walk in your life deceptively thinking that your great power and might have accomplished many things for you with no regard for the One who is truly in control? The purpose for which we were created was to bring glory to God. “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it”(Psalm 24:1). If Jesus is not Lord of all your life, he is not Lord at all, and therefore you are a usurper, a rogue “king” in danger of judgment.
But if by His grace you have “been made to eat grass like an ox” and now “understand that the Most High rules” and have come away with His praises on your lips, you are a blessed soul indeed. It will look something like this:
“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are right and all His ways are just; and those who walk in pride, He is able to humble.” (Daniel 4:37)