Wednesday, November 5, 2008

From a Cow Pasture

"Well," I started. The thought had brought me comfort all morning, but how does it sound in response to a request for cheering up? "Well, you know Nero once ruled a country."

Happy thought indeed. So did Hitler. So did Ronald Reagan, and Bloody Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, and Louis XIV, and Solomon, and Sennacherib. How did they get there? Ask another monarch named Nebuchadnezzar. He knows.

As this ancient monarch was thinking he had attained to his greatness because of might, brilliance, and strength, the Most High decreed for him a change. One with little hope. Seven years in a field with grass for his meals, dew for his bedding, and cattle for his companions were appointed for him. And all this by his own insane choice. The king would lose his reason.

And so it happened just as the Most High declared. And then comes what I consider the most amazing event in the account. Nebuchadnezzar regained his mental capacities and returned to his palace where he was greeted as the king, restored to his throne, and consulted for advice. Imagine being a dignitary in the Babylonian royal court. Day after day you approach the palace and see the deranged former king arrayed in a cloak of shimmering vegetation with his regal hair resembling eagles' feathers. With a sigh you pass by and think of the glory he once had as you wonder what could have overcome him, and you shudder with a vague fear that perhaps you too could be so afflicted. But gradually the sight loses its horror as you grow accustomed to the king-turned-beast and proceed with matters of state.

Then one day, unaccountably, there is no beast-man crawling around the pasture with the contented cattle. As you shrug and turn to enter the palace, you are greeted by a larger-than-normal crowd of courtiers and attendants paying no attention whatsoever to you. For they are showering their king with words of welcome and expressions of delight at his return. Your own heart swells in gratitude as you think of the many pressing questions which his majesty is now fit to resolve. Great is Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon!

So what was his experience all about anyway? How would he respond to the election of one whose patriotism, experience, compassion, and wisdom have been demonstrably questionable at best? I think Nebuchadnezzar would have us pause before crediting a fawning media or an uninformed, change-thirsty populace. You see, he learned the hard way that "the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men." Nebuchadnezzar would say now as he said then:
His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?"
And I suppose the king of Babylon would have us follow his example even now and "praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble."

(Account and quotations taken from Daniel 4.)

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Amen! A needed reminder.

Yes, there is cause for rejoicing today - in the One who cannot fail. And in the fact that in His mercy He saved me from my sin!