Friday, October 16, 2015

Having the mind of an animal....

The book of Daniel in the Old Testament tells the story of strong and prosperous King Nebuchadnezzar, who went to bed one night and had a dream.  He described himself as living a life of contentment and prosperity, but something about this dream he had brought him great fear. 
Nebuchadnezzar sent for those he considered the wisest men of Babylon, and that included magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and diviners.  He told them his dream, but none could interpret it. 

Finally he called for Daniel, also known as Belteshazzar, and told him about the dream. It was a dream which centered around a huge tree whose height reached the sky, covered with limbs and leaves and fruit, and animals found shelter under the tree, while many birds claimed the tree as their home. 

Also in his dream Nebuchadnezzar saw a messenger, like one that had come down from heaven, which instructed him to cut down the tree, strip its leaves and branches and scatter all the fruit. The animals will all leave, and the birds will have no place for their nests. He was also told to leave the stump and the roots in the ground.  How would we interpret such a dream?

The Bible says Daniel was greatly perplexed for a time, and his thoughts terrified him.  It took a lot of courage for him to give the dream's interpretation to the king. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar, "You, O King, are the tree!"  Remember the tree standing tall and majestic, covered with leaves and fruit, shows a king that is great and strong. But life was about to change for Nebuchadnezzar. He is now shown as the tree that is cut down and stripped, living and controlled by an animalistic mind.  This was to get Nebuchadnezzar to see he was going down.  Daniel's suggestion was simple, "Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”

From a king to an animal, the picture of Nebuchadnezzar is a picture of us,  when we outgrow our need for God. The king rationalized with himself that he had built his dynasty, he was successful on his own, he was content with his life of prosperity. But he had forgotten God. It was as if God had gotten in his way and wasn't needed anymore. 

The part of this which scares me the most is the description of a king, whose mind was changed into that of an animal. Sin does that. It brings not only mental but a spiritual insanity when we succeed to the point of not needing God anymore.  Thankfully, Nebuchadnezzar in repentance looked toward heaven again and he got his mind restored which led to praise and honor toward God. That needs to happen for a lot of mankind, too. Remember Paul's words in Romans 12, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."  God longs for us to seek him, receive him, and love him with hearts and minds that will be continually blessed; not because of anything we have done, but because of everything God has done.   God bless. 


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