And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me…
It is a perilous thing to abuse any of God's gifts. Thereby we interfere with the order of his government, and justly provoke his anger. The darkening of intellect with prejudice is no mean offence. Bribing reason with sensual delights not to recognize God - this is a serious injury to one's self, and daring rebellion against God. Such was the aggravated sin el Nebuchadnezzar; yet the judgment of God was tempered with mercy. The abuse of reason resulted in its loss, yet the loss was temporary. The deplorable darkness was designed as a prelude to clearer light,
I. PRESENT CHASTISEMENTS ARE NOT FINAL. This is a gracious alleviation of the severity. The darkest element in the Divine judgment is absent. There is scope for amendment, repentance, return. A ray of hope lights up the darkness of the scene. Yea, more; the chastisement, however severe, may be transfigured into supremest blessing. "It was good for me to be afflicted." "Out of the eater may come forth meat." A rough and prickly shell may enclose the sweetest kernel. The fire which consumes the dross may only beautify the go]d. Loss may be only an unrecognized form of gain. Through faith in God's faithful love we can "glory in tribulation also." "At the end of the days" the king's insanity ceased.
II. LOSS OF REASON DESTROYS MAN'S SENSE OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY. God had taken pains, on previous occasions, to convince Nebuchadnezzar that the invisible Jehovah was the true God of the universe, but the king had hardened his heart against the conviction. His inveterate pride prevented his belief. Fain would he be his own god. "Our wills are our own: who is Lord over us?" Such was his favourite doctrine. It was pleasant to be self-contained. It was a sweet morsel for the carnal appetite, this flattering unction that his own skill and strength had gained him this success. And so ingrained into his nature had this habit of self-trust become, that only the severest discipline from God could dislodge it. But when his understanding became dark, and memory failed, and Reason abdicated, and manhood became a wreck, he learnt in the school of personal experience what he refused to learn before, viz. how frail and dependent is man - how absolute a sovereign is God. At last self-sufficiency is rooted out, and a spirit of meek humility takes its place. Be it ours to learn the lesson without so severe a discipline!
III. RECOVERED REASON TEACHES US GOD'S ETERNAL SOVEREIGNTY. The native tendency of man's mind is to circumscribe its thought about itself. It makes self a centre round which all its thoughts and plans revolve. It vaguely imagines that when personal self fails, the world will collapse. It thinks little about the past, and what has led up to our present privileged position; it cares little about the remote future. But when foolish man "comes to himself," after his aberrations and follies, he learns that for untold ages One has ruled on the throne of the universe, and is making all events to work out his designs. He was King long before we appeared upon the earthly scene; and he will remain Master of the situation long after we have passed away. His authority none can dispute. Yet, for his hormone and for our consolation, it shall be said that his will is right and just and good. "His will is our sanctification." "It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good."
IV. THE RIGHT USE OF REASON IS TO GLORIFY GOD. It is the primary and pressing duty of every man to learn the proper use of his faculties. When we have reached years of discretion we should often ask ourselves, "What is God's intention in giving me this understanding, this conscience, this reason?" Our plainest duty is to ascertain, if possible, his intention, and to follow that intention closely. To be self-consistent, we must either deny that he is our Master, and repudiate his every claim, or else we must acknowledge his authority over every part of our nature, and over every moment of our lives. A partial obedience is no obedience at all. This would be a setting up of self to be the judge when obedience should be rendered, and would be a virtual dethronement of God. Here hesitation or debate is excluded. If my reason be an endowment from God, I am bound, by every tie of obligation, to use it for his honour, and to magnify him therewith. Therefore the first principle of genuine religion is this: "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever." - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
WEB: At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him who lives forever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation.