That very same hour the judgement was fulfilled,
and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society.
He ate grass like a cow,
and he was drenched with dew of heaven.
He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers
and his nails were like birds’ claws.
Daniel 4:33 NLT
I’m in the first week of my journey through the book of Daniel and it’s been pretty awesome so far – pretty action packed! Even though all four chapters are exciting to read, chapter four thrilled me the most. Daniel is called in to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream – this time the dream warns Nebuchadnezzar that God is going to get creative about curing Nebuchadnezzar of his pride and refusal to commit his life fully to God.
“This is what the dream means, Your Majesty, and what the Most High has declared will happen to my lord the king. You will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals. You will eat grass like a cow, and you will be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.” (Daniel 4:24-25 NLT)
And sure enough, 12 months later, God does exactly that. Nebuchadnezzar is hanging out on his roof, marveling at all that he has done when:
“That same hour the judgment was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws.” (Daniel 4:33 NLT)
As I meditate on this, it occurs to me that I can actually identify with this beastly time out! So many of us can! We call them Pity Parties. We get stuck in routines and seasons of life that strip us of any desire or reason to brag. Luckily we don’t get driven from human society but we definitely do our own retreating and wound licking. We’re usually partially aware of the “insanity” of having a pity party, but also a little angry and stubborn enough to not want to admit it. We sometimes do a lot of crying during these times – that could kind of be like being drenched with the dew of heaven…? The only difference is I don’t eat a lot of grass like a cow.
So, in a similar fashion, what if these Pity Parties we stumble into – these times of loneliness and confusion – could be repurposed as space and time to remember who is in charge? What if we took every urge of anger, resentment, frustration, and confusion and instead leveraged it as energy to spend time with God? Maybe we could even take it to an animal/nature level like God did with Nebuchadnezzar and spend some time outside taking in the miracles all around us that he created.
Chapter four has an amazing happy ending. Seven periods of time passed until Nebuchadnezzar looks up to heaven and his sanity is restored. He praised and worshipped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. As soon as he finishes his prayer of praise and worship, his advisers and officers sought him out and reestablished him as head of his kingdom with even greater honor than before. His prayer is the one that I will be praying as I take my Pride Detox nature walks from now on:
“Dear Lord, your rule is everlasting and your kingdom is eternal. All the people of the earth are nothing compared to you. You have the power to do as you please among the angels of heaven and with those who live on earth. No one can stop him or challenge him, saying, ‘What do you mean by doing these things.’ ” (Daniel 4:34b-35 NLT adapted)
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/25028863@N00/2245362817″>Banksy’s caveman</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>