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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

Jan. 10, 2011 - Metamorphosis

By Scott Harrup

I read Daniel 4 during my morning devotions recently. If you haven’t browsed that Old Testament chapter in a while, it’s a tale worthy of a late-night Twilight Zone episode.

In a nutshell, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, has a dream about a huge tree dramatically hewn to a stump by heavenly decree. The prophet Daniel interprets the dream, warning the king that the tree represents the privileged position God has given the king and that God is about to judge the king’s pride. Nebuchadnezzar tries to reform, but a year later he just can’t help himself. He blurts out a sort of “Look at me!” statement, and God brings about the judgment promised in the dream.

The “tree dream” is strange enough, but the divine judgment is off-the-charts weird. Nebuchadnezzar loses his mind and lives like an animal. He eats grass. His hair grows into feather-like matting. His nails become like claws. He remains in this condition until God renews his mind. When his sanity returns, Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges God as supreme and is restored to the throne.

Loads of Bible commentaries offer more in-depth analysis of Daniel 4 than I’m going to attempt here. My takeaway is pretty basic, even if my mental picture of Nebuchadnezzar leans toward the Lon Chaney-esque.

My observations connect with another “tree” chapter in the Bible, Psalm 1, which describes how God plants the lives of the faithful like well-watered trees. That God apparently carried out this promise in a huge way with a ruthless king doesn’t violate the Psalm. The Bible repeatedly makes clear that God proactively offers blessing even before we come into a relationship with Him.

Psalm 1 and Daniel 4 come together to remind me I don’t need to worry about the size of my “tree” within the forest of humanity. My real focus should be to discern what God wants to accomplish in my life where He has planted me. Nebuchadnezzar’s metamorphosis says to me that the farther I remove myself from God the more destitute my life will become. When I humbly acknowledge God, I can be rescued from the grip of my own evil nature and wonderfully transformed.

— Scott Harrup is managing editor of the Pentecostal Evangel and blogs at Out There (sharrup.agblogger.org).

 

 

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