Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.

At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.

-Daniel 4: 33-34

I bet many of us can relate to the great king Nebuchadnezzar. Full of our own pride and sense of entitlement, we pursued our own desires. God will often choose not to fight his children when they continually rebel or stray, but instead will give them over to these desires. The lessons learned by the resulting natural consequences are painful, but not quickly forgotten.

There was a time, in years past, that I drifted like this wayward king. Having previously known God’s great wisdom, healing, and grace, I plowed ahead toward my own desires. My pursuit of my new agenda was driven by a mixture of selfishness, greed, lust, anger, and frustration, and I was bolstered by certain well-meaning friends. These passions and desires are actually very similar in nature to eating grass like the ox, being drenched with the dew of heaven, and having hair and nails growing wildly. Our sin nature reduces us to our very basic animal characteristics of self-centeredness. We think nothing of God or eternal consequences, but only how we can quench our current thirst, hunger, or longing. Touted by the world as living free, it is really just bringing us down to our lowest level. There is nothing noble or praiseworthy in being selfish.

Like Nebuchadnezzar, by God’s grace I “raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored.” Over a period of a few weeks, my depravity screamed out indictments for the road of destruction I had laid down. I began to make attempts at turning back to God. He was quick to receive and forgive, but there was much to be undone. In the end, it is God who is to be praised for his infinite mercies. It is he who orchestrated my deliverance.

If you should find yourself grazing like an ox and living wildly, apart from God, be quick to heed His Spirit calling you to look to the heavens. Living your life to merely satisfy your every desire will ironically only bring dissatisfaction, destruction, and death. We should constantly check ourselves against Galatians 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

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