A picture of an old string-bean, blue-jeaned cowboy, heeled boots and rodeo buckle, leaning against the fence with a stem of Johnson grass twirling between his teeth caused a humorously inquisitive young lady to ask: “Is he eating grass?” Well, no; Euell Gibbons might suggest that some parts of a telephone pole are edible but it is more a toothpick or relaxation therapy; those drawling cattlemen do get riled occasionally. However, there was a fellow long ago who needed some therapy, and grass was his ticket.
He was the most powerful man on the planet at the time, and served as a tool in the hands of Almighty God (Habakkuk 1:6-11). Israel had departed Moses’s Law and God got fed up and sent Nebuchadnezzar, a Babylonian conqueror, to humble His people. Unfortunately, the king began to believe the fantasy that he was “all that and a bag of chips” (Proverbs 16:18). He needed humbling; and God is good at that (2 Samuel 22:28).
So, when Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that troubled him, Daniel was God’s messenger to break the bad news. The prophet told him that he would be put out to pasture “and they shall make you eat grass like oxen” (Daniel 4:25). Sure enough, one day while cruising his magnificent palace, he quipped: “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30). And, zap! he was a cow. Well, not quite, but close enough for God to make His point.
After seven years of grazing, his “reason returned” to him and he returned to his palace for some humble pie. He was compelled to draw three conclusions about God: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice, and those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (Daniel 4:37).
His works are truth; he had just experienced that God is the sole source of truth and when someone delivers a God-revealed message, one had better listen. His ways are just; he realized that his punishment was deserved and he had no right to complaint. He puts down the proud; and all the possessions of the world will never elevate a person above the one from Whom all blessings flow.
We are blessed, and often so richly that “thank you” and other expressions of gratitude seem trite and anemic. Yet, it is through gratitude that we bring cheer to both God and humanity. All we have (and we have a lot!) is a gift from God, and we should use it to His glory; a point we should hope to understand without having to eat grass.