“But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward 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.” Daniel 4:34 NASB
Returned – Nebuchadnezzar experienced a degradation of life that we can only imagine in some sort of science-fiction movie. He became like an animal in the field. After God’s chastisement, he made a statement that reveals just how typical the reality of his experience really is. “My reason returned,” says the king. But we should not think of this as the return of rationality. The words are not Greek. They are Aramaic (mandei yetuv). We are familiar with the verb in Hebrew (shuv), meaning “to turn around, to return.” But what is it that returns to Nebuchadnezzar? It is manda, not reasoning ability but rather knowledge and understanding. The word is derived from yada’, “to know.” In fact, the ancient Mandaeans who were Aramaic Gnostics got their name from this word. So it is not about the ability to think logically. It is about understanding the true foundation of life. Nebuchadnezzar’s understanding of the sovereignty of God returned to him and he saw how the world really is. That’s why the result of this return is his declaration of praise! “I blessed the Most High,” says Nebuchadnezzar, because when he understood, he knew who God is – the Sovereign of the Universe.
It took animal existence for Nebuchadnezzar to come to his senses. It appears to me that most of the world’s population is still waiting for that day. Most of the world’s population are grass-eaters. They just don’t know it because their “reason” has not returned. They don’t understand that there is only One True God – YHWH – melech ha’olam. They are still mindlessly chewing like cattle, consuming the earth without acknowledging its Creator. It’s pretty much what Paul said in Romans 1. Failure to acknowledge sovereignty results in darkened minds. The fact is that very few return to reason in spite of the fact that most claim to be thinkers.
Nebuchadnezzar’s insight is important for each of us. He had to become an animal in order to understand what it means to be human. So do we. We might not spend seven years in the field, but we can easily spend a lifetime chewing. To be human is to be able to praise the Creator and to praise the Creator requires manda – yada’. Don’t be fooled by thinking. Thinking is not the sign of being human. Submission to the King is the sign of being human. Choose your Sovereign today. Start by praising His benevolence and grace. Your mind will improve.
Topical Index: mind, reason, manda, yada’, return, shuv, Daniel 4:34