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First Things @First

David Rhodes shares this observation on pride--

'Pride is the dandelion of the soul. Its root goes deep, only a little left behind sprouts again. Its seeds lodge in the tiniest encouraging cracks. And it flourishes in good soil: The danger of pride is that it feeds on goodness.'

Last time I shared about God's divine decree to King Nebuchadnezzar concerning the poison of pride. How God divinely warned this very prominent man about the very real potential for judgment. Daniel, the prophet was assigned by God to interpret this divine decree even though it left the heart of Daniel troubled. Nevertheless, Daniel faithfully obeyed the word of God and revealed the truth of God's word through the dream of Nebuchadnezzar.

What I want to examine this week more closely is found in two verses of Daniel 4:28-29.

"All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of the twelve months as he was walking about the royal palace..."

We'll look more closely next time at what 'all this' involved. Today I want you to focus on something very important with respect to God's decree being delivered to mankind.

It is delay.

We learn from verse 29 that God showed Nebuchadnezzar grace in giving him one year to comply with the divine decree. God gave this very prominent, prosperous and prideful man one year to repent. God's judgment would come but not before a period of grace.

We see this consistently through scripture. God decrees His word to mankind and then waits to see how mankind will respond. There are those times when the response of repentance is immediate, as it should be. It's better that way for all concerned because God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked nor does He celebrate the discipline of a wayward child. God rejoices in the result of obedience to His divine decree.

In reference to King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel had spelled it out clearly. This will happen unless you turn from your pride and humble yourself before God.

This proud king is not alone in experiencing God's delay of judgment. King David experienced this delay firsthand as well in 2 Samuel 11-12. From the night David committed adultery with the wife of Uriah, God delayed judgment for what most scholars believe to be about one year. And then God sent Nathan the prophet to confront David about his transgression and subsequent cover-up.

God's divine decree to the world in Genesis 6:1-8 through Noah was that the earth and everything on it would be destroyed and yet in His divine decree, God gave mankind 120 years to prepare and present themselves through faith in getting on board the Ark; the good ship 'Grace'.

God's divine decree that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God has been penned and preserved for mankind for almost 2000 years. It is important to understand that God judged the sin of mankind in pouring out the fullness of His wrath on His own Son, Jesus Christ on the cross. And yet God has delayed the certain judgment of sin on those who refuse His payment of blood atonement until physical death removes the opportunity or until Jesus returns for His church. That is a demonstration of His delay in our time. His long-suffering and grace are still present today because 'God is not willing that any perish but that all come to repentance.' 2 Peter 3:9b

However, no one need be so foolish as to think that God's delay is somehow a denial of what He has divinely decreed.

As we hope to examine next week, Lord willing, we'll be reminded that God says what He means and means what He says. For those who disregard His delay of grace, a downfall is certain. It happened to Nebuchadnezzar but it can be avoided through repentance and humbling ourselves before God.

Unless we humble ourselves before God, humiliation is certain before men.

As Spurgeon once said--'be not proud of race, place, face or grace.'

Pride is a poison that has the capability of infecting and affecting the whole of our being.

So much so that it's been said that pride makes everyone sick except the one who has it.

In matters of holiness, are you well in 'the well' of your soul regarding the poison of pride?

If we're haughty, God will bring us down! Proverbs 16:18

When we humble ourselves, God will lift us up! James 4:10

Here's to being lifted up this week in the Lord!!

Pstr K

Hebrews 10:35-36