Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Friday, June 10, 2016
Stark Raving Mad
In days gone by, hatters used mercury to process fur into felt for hats. They inevitably inhaled the poisonous mercury vapors where the blood carried the toxin to the brain. After years of exposure, the hatters slowly became deranged or “mad”. The onset of madness, however, does not take years if God wishes to alter your mental capacities – He can make it happen instantly. Such was the case of King Nebuchadnezzar who was humbled through debilitating mental illness (Daniel 4:31).
Hauntingly, Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed of his fate a year earlier, and Daniel had interpreted the dream. It served as a warning to the king to turn from his pride and to start worshiping the I AM God. Nebuchadnezzar had seen the living God do wondrous deeds through His servant Daniel, so the king had more than enough justification to believe and repent, yet he refused. God’s patience had been with him, and He did not inflict the punishment for a year after the dream before He made the king mad.
To emphasize His point, the king was strutting on the parapet of the royal palace and glorifying himself when God acted. “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30). The words were still on his lips when the madness came upon him. No sooner had he vaulted himself than his kingdom was taken away from him by a crippling and embarrassing condition – he became stark raving mad.
To the world, Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom seemed ultra-secure. He had erected impregnable bulwarks around the city to protect against invaders. He developed a vast and well-trained army to defend Babylon and to conquer more distant lands. The king considered his kingdom so well-guarded that no one could take it away from him. On the human level, he was correct – no human or group of humans could depose him. God, however, is not thus limited.
Suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar was deprived of his honor as a man. God revoked his mind and with it his kingdom. This was a harsh punishment, but there’s a bit of humor in it – What good is a kingdom to a madman? Humor aside, God took more than Nebuchadnezzar’s mind – the king was driven away from people as additional torment. No longer could he rule in majesty over his subjects. He was distracted as much as any man had ever been. His memory was gone and all the faculties of a rational man had vanished instantly.
Nebuchadnezzar became a perfect brute in the shape of a man. He went around naked, crawling on all fours and eating grass like a cow. He shunned the decent society of reasonable creatures and ran wild into the fields and woods. There, as further humiliation, he was driven out by his own servants. After some time, despairing of him returning to his right mind, the servants abandoned him and looked after him no more.
Nebuchadnezzar lacked the royal spirit of a beast of prey like a lion; rather, he was humiliated by emulating oxen through his consumption of field greens. He probably did not speak with a human voice, but lowed as a bovine creature. Physically, his body was covered with thick hair. Because he never trimmed or combed it, the mass appeared like eagle feathers and his nails grew to be like bird claws.
People must have asked – Is this creature Nebuchadnezzar the Great? Could this despicable animal, that is less than the poorest beggar, be our king? Is this the one who looked so glorious on the throne, so formidable in the army camp, and who had politics sufficient to subdue and govern kingdoms, who now has insufficient sense to keep clothes on his back? Indeed it was, and all at the direction of the I AM God.
It is not normal to be boastful and full of pride (Proverbs 8:13, 16:5, 18, 1 Peter 5:5). Through Nebuchadnezzar, God shows us how He detests the proud and delights in humbling them so they are contemptible. Nebuchadnezzar considered himself more than a man, but God showed him his place by making him less than a man. God showed him mercy as well, restoring the king to sanity. In his new-found sanity, the king worshipped the Holy One (Daniel 4:34).
Each of us is stark raving mad if we consider ourselves great. Pride is detested by God and He will afflict us for it. God longs for none of us to perish (2 Peter 3:9); instead He wants all to repent. If we do, He will restore us some day, even if it is not until we reach His Heavenly Kingdom. We should do as Nebuchadnezzar did and praise our Glorious King.
A servant of Jesus Christ
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