First Things @ First
Over the course of the next few weeks I want to direct our attention to the danger of pride.
It's been said that there is a difference in taking pride IN one's work and boasting ABOUT one's work. The word of God tells us that we should do things heartily, with passion as unto the Lord.
(Colossians 3:23) Believers should give our best and do our best with what God has gifted us with. However, boasting in our personal achievement forgets or ignores the One primarily responsible for any accomplishment in life. God.
Concerning the problem of pride, our biblical reference will be King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. We take our applications for today and the next few weeks from Daniel 4.
Pride has correctly been referred to as original sin. Pride was not born in Eden but rather in heaven in the heart of Lucifer, the most beautiful angel. (Isaiah 14:12-15)
It is worth noting that the words 'prIde' and 'sIn' have something in common. 'I' is central in both. Lucifer developed an 'I' problem in heaven. That same condition was passed on to Adam and Eve when they decided that 'I', 'me', 'mine' and 'ours' was more important than being content in Him (God). Every human being since has developed the same condition. All of us suffer with 'I' problems of some sort and God, the Great Physician is the only One with the proper treatment to cure it. In these next few articles we'll see how God accomplished healing in the life of this proud King.
King Nebuchadnezzar was a prestigious and powerful man. His earthly kingdom was second to none for its time in history. The hanging gardens of Babylon were considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. And as a result of such success in this world, Nebuchadnezzar's pride became apparent. God has used Nebuchadnezzar as an instrument of discipline toward the nation of Judah for their continuing sin of idolatry. 586 b.c was a turning point for the nation as many of the best and brightest were carried away by a foreign army to a pagan land; the land of Babylon.
God would use his servant Daniel as an instrument to reveal His Sovereign superiority to this King and all who served him.
Daniel 2 records that Nebuchadnezzar had many dreams.
Daniel 4 records the second of two recorded dreams that Nebuchadnezzar had from which Daniel, on this occasion interprets God's decree of warning against pride.
In this dream Nebuchadnezzar sees a mighty tree filled with beautiful foliage suddenly chopped down. Its limbs are severed, its leaves stripped, and its fruit scattered. However, the stump is left and bound with a band of iron and bronze. The type of metal used is significant in that bronze refers to judgment and iron illustrates the rigidness and harshness of what was about to take place in this man's life. By His own word, God gives a decree to this powerful man in which Daniel would interpret a very personal message for him. Your pride will bring you down. This was God's decree of harsh judgment on Nebuchadnezzar's personal pride.
And when Daniel heard about the dream, his heart was moved for the King. The Bible says, Daniel was astonished for a time and his thoughts troubled him. (Daniel 4:19) Daniel hoped that this decree was for the enemies of Nebuchadnezzar, not the King himself.
Think about that for a minute. Here we have a young man who has been enslaved by a foreign government, taken to a foreign land, physically mutilated so as to prevent any offspring by order of a King who thought himself a god and yet when God's decree of judgment was revealed, Daniel showed compassion instead of contempt. Therein is a lesson for life, specifically our life. (Luke 6:31 in case you're interested in following up on it)
This divine decree revealed that God's judgment would last for seven long years. David, in response urges King Nebuchadnezzar to 'break off from his sins by being righteous and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor.' Daniel 4:27 Daniel then tells this proud King that perhaps God would be gracious and lengthen the prosperity that God alone had provided.
We'll look more at God's act of mercy and grace in this text next week.
From what has been shared this week from this text in the Bible, has God revealed to you a divine decree through His word of late? If so, how have you responded?
God still speaks today. He speaks through His word, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, through circumstance and through the godly counsel of godly people.
Question is--how well are we listening?
Are we more like Nebuchadnezzar or Daniel?
Decrees from God are given to direct our lives. From sin to salvation, then sanctification.
Will personal pride in our own achievements cause us to experience 'a fall'?
I trust that no one will misdiagnose the 'I' problem that limits one's vision regarding all that God promises to provide. For those who hear God's decree concerning pride, an adjustment of attitude will be required in order to prevent the certain consequences that accompany it.