“After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praise and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever.” Daniel 4:34 NLT
Our “monkey mind” leads our heart to wander from God’s amazing grace1. We stray from the green pastures of God’s love. We are lost in the world instead of being lost in wonder, love and praise2 in the kingdom of heaven. Our human tendency is to follow our own desires and defiling ourselves.3 We are prone to wander away from God. The Covid 19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine opened my eyes to the reality that we are living in a mad, mad world – the consequence of having hardened hearts and wandering far from the beautiful life that God had created us for. We are hopelessly confused with our minds full of darkness:
“With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.”4
The story of King Nebuchadnezzar draws attention to the insanity of pride as well as God’s awesome grace. King Nebuchadnezzar was God’s instrument to punish the Jews as well as to demonstrate the awesome glory of God. But King Nebuchadnezzar did not have a personal relationship with God to understand God’s message through the dream that God had sent to him. It was only after Daniel revealed and interpreted the dream that deeply troubled him that King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged God as the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries”5.
However, his ego led him to build a massive gold statue for the people to worship. God had to use the faith of Shadrach, Meshrach and Abednego to reveal to him the power of God to save. Unfortunately, these experiences did not keep King Nebuchadnezzar from the insanity of pride even though God had given him another dream to warn him.
Instead of following Daniel’s advice to break from his wicked past and to be merciful to the poor, King Nebuchadnezzar boasted of building the great city of Babylon with his own mighty power. He was immediately stricken by madness, driven from human society, and lived with the wild animals until one day, he looked up to heaven:
“My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever.”6
The story of King Nebuchadnezzar is a stark warning of the danger of success. In our success, we will be be tempted to feel proud of our work, even our work for God. Pride leads our hearts to wander from the wonder of God’s grace. Pride leads to greed. And greed leads to idolatry and God’s judgment.7.
The tragic, scary and disheartening news of the world is not the real story. The true story is that God’s love will always trump evil. Our stories are just a tiny part of God’s infinite story of love. The good news is that God is always waiting to change our life stories. We see the amazing grace of God leading King Nebuchadnezzar step by step to live a life of praise and worship.
There is a King Nebuchadnezzar in each one of us reminding us of our need for humility. Humility is God’s antidote for pride. Humility is not thinking less of one self but being in awe of God’s amazing love and grace. Humility is rooted in the awareness that we are living in darkness when we have a deceitful heart and a wandering mind. There is a battle in our minds to please people or to please God – to live up to the expectations of others instead of living for what is pleasing to God.
It is by the grace of God that we have been chosen to live as citizens of heaven8 – a life that is “lost in wonder, love and praise.” Our responsibility is understand what the Lord wants us to do so that we will not act thoughtlessly9. To do so, we need to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice – to look up to God and rest in the wonder of His love as our act of worship each day.
Our Heavenly Father patiently pursues us to guide, correct and direct us even when we run from His calling on our life. God is waiting to invite us to His banquet of love but we are blinded by pride, greed and lust. We need to come to our senses, to turn back to God, and to desire Him with all our heart. As we do so, the Holy Spirit will fill us with a hunger and thirst for God’s Word and lead us to walk in the light of Christ.10 Let us pray each day for God’s goodness to bind our wandering hearts to Christ:
“Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee”11
- Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing
- Love Divine, All Love Excelling
- Numbers 15:39, NLT
- Ephesians 3:17-29, NLT
- Daniel 2:1-47, NLT
- Daniel 3:1-37, NLT
- Colossians 3:5, NLT
- Philippians 1:27
- Ephesians 5:17
- John 12:35, NLT
- Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing, Chris Rice