At the Same Time My Reason Returned to Me

At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for 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?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, 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.
(Daniel 4:34-37)

I just love that God allowed Nebuchadnezzar’s writings to be part of Scripture. Daniel 4 is the personal record of King Nebuchadnezzar and how he was humbled before Almighty God. Because of his arrogance, he was reduced to a dumb beast eating grass for seven periods of time. At the end of that period of time, his “reason returned to him.” He gave glory and honor to God instead of to himself.

This is so true for everyone. When we take the glory and honor away from God and keep it for ourselves, our reasoning is turned to madness. Look at Romans 1:18-32 to see how Paul describes the same process. When we are lifted up in our own pride, our thoughts lead ourselves and others into total darkness and destruction. But when we humble ourselves before God, our thinking becomes clear and enlightened. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge, Proverbs teaches us.

I was listening to a sermon by Andy Cantrell about this very concept when he was preaching from Isaiah 55. God in that chapter is inviting us all to forsake our way of thinking and embrace His thoughts and His ways. And when we do, the result is life, joy and peace!

How well are your thoughts and your ways working out for you? Are you willing to become like King Nebuchadnezzar and humble yourself before God and forsake your ways of thinking? Are you willing to trade your thoughts for God’s thoughts? Then and only then will your “reason return to you.”

But Only In Expressing His Opinion

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion (Proverbs 18:2).

Solomon says a lot about fools in Proverbs, of course he says a lot about wise people as well in contrast to the fool. What is a fool in the Biblical sense? You might want to search the book of Proverbs for that word and see all Solomon has to say about it. If you boil it down to the essentials, it comes down to this: a fool does not listen to anyone but himself.

The above proverb teaches us that a fool’s delight is not in understanding wisdom or receiving instruction. He only wants to tell you what he thinks.

It is just another reminder that a big part of communication is listening. A huge component of learning is listening. But if I’m always talking, and I really love the sound of my own voice, how can I learn? How can I effectively communicate when I’m the only one talking?

My daughter Lindsay calls this a “versation,” not a “con-versation.” She’s right on the money about that.

Do you notice how some folks just dominate a conversation? They just don’t know when to take a breath and let someone else say something. For some reason, they don’t recognize social cues to see that someone else is trying to talk. A person may be done listening a long time ago, but do I recognize that, or do I just keep prattling on? We may be perfectly comfortable in teacher mode, but are we just as comfortable in “student” mode? Do we assume that we have the right approach and answers to each situation and that others are indebted to hear us talk about it?

It’s not that we want to call ourselves or others fools, but it would be good to take a cue from the proverb here and recognize that maybe we talk too much and listen far too little. And when we behave that way, we lack a true heart and desire for understanding. We won’t understand other people, because we really aren’t interested in it, and we won’t understand God’s truth, because we really are only in love with our opinions.

Ask more questions to engage others in conversation.

Be willing to let someone speak freely even if he or she has a different opinion or approach than you do.

Commit to hearing someone else’s story instead of being in such a hurry to tell your own.

Devote yourself to prayer for the Lord to give you courage and understanding to close your mouth and open your ears.

In An Understanding Way

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7).

So, what does it mean to live in an understanding way? What is God asking me to do when He tells me to live with my wife according to knowledge?

Let’s look at how other versions translate this phrase:
  • “…in an understanding way…” (ESV).
  • “…according to knowledge…” (YLT).
  • “…dwell with them with understanding…” (NKJV).
  • •”…give thought to your way of life with your wives…” (BBE).

The BBE (Bible in Basic English) as you can see above translates this as we are to “give thought to your way of life with your wives.” As husbands, we need to “know” and “understand” who this woman really is. I need to “know” and “understand” the value of this woman to God. My treatment of her will either bring God’s blessing or punishment upon me, so I’d better “give thought” to this woman and this relationship!

I have come to understand that the rest of verse 7 explains what dwelling with her according to knowledge means.

In an understanding way:

Understand and know that she is a weaker vessel. Both males and females are “vessels,” meaning that our bodies are containers of our spirits (1 Thessalonians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 4:7). We are vessels to be used for God’s honor in His house (2 Timothy 2:20-21), whether male or female. She is weaker, “since she is a woman” Peter says. The wife is to be handled with care as something precious and valuable. You do not hear often of a woman beating up on a man or raping a man – it is the man who is doing these things. He is stronger typically, hence the term “manhandle.”

Understand and know that she is a fellow heir of the grace of life. She is not a sub-citizen of the kingdom of heaven. There is no second-class Christian. In business and the military folks rank and classify every person. Everybody in the world has a class and a level it seems, but not when it comes to salvation in Jesus Christ. A woman receives the same salvation and blessings of the kingdom as a man does.

A husband must know and understand these things in his heart. If a man does not value his wife, how can he honor her? Why would I seek to appreciate her thoughts, her dreams, and her input if I look at her as a second-class citizen? When a man looks at a woman as a slave, as subservient to him, as a piece of meat, as an object to be used, then it is abundantly clear that he does not value women. Simply put, if a man treats a woman this way, God will not hear his prayers.

Husbands, give thought to your way of life with your wives!