Bill Harrell, interim pastor
First Baptist Church, Wrens
The price of pride
As one will discover from reading Daniel 4, King Nebuchadnezzar, while a powerful man, was also a troubled man. His dream of a great tree that is hewn down was interpreted for him by Daniel and the message was not a good one for a prideful man. He was going to lose his kingdom and be driven out to live among the animals and as an animal. We find this was accomplished in Daniel 4:33.
The purpose of all of the king’s misery was to get him to realize that he was nothing and to bring him to the realization that God is the One who is really in control. God was dealing with this man’s pride and we must realize that while this is a biblical accounting, we cannot leave it there. The same God is still dealing with pride today. He does it in many different ways but He tells us that “pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Pro. 16:18).
It is a spiritual law that never changes. One’s pride will bring destruction. It will always happen. Never fails.
It would be good if people could learn this and steer away from pride. It sets one against God because He hates pride and an uplifted spirit. The king had a good dose of pride and he had to pay the price for it before he would realize that God is the one in control.
In this writer’s experience, he has discovered that truly great men don’t know they are. They are just living life serving God and they are not thinking about themselves. It is a dangerous thing to focus on oneself.
So, if you recognize that a person is truly great, don’t tell him. It will ruin him.
… truly great men don’t know they are. They are just living life serving God and they are not thinking about themselves.
In my experience of service with the Southern Baptist Convention, I saw some people who were truly great and I noticed that none of those people ever thought about it or recognized it in themselves. They were humble.
If one finds a person who is truly humble, don’t tell them that they are. Humility is that virtue one loses the moment they realize they have it. And, when they lose their humility, they place themselves over against God because of pride.
The performance of a promise
As stated earlier, Proverbs 16:18 tells us that when pride is found, an humbling will follow. God doesn’t have to make any excuses to anyone about how He deals with us and especially His method of humbling us. The most important thing is that a person is at one with God and not how God brought him to his knees.
King Nebuchadnezzar was a very prideful and lifted-up man. From an earthly perspective, he had every reason to be. He had conquered nations; he possessed everything one could imagine. He was “all powerful” in his realm but he failed to recognize God and admit there was someone who was more all-powerful than he was.
God had to show him. He had to give him a lesson in humility and show him that, in reality, he wasn’t all he thought he was.
This story should be an example for all of us as to the necessity of humility. Pride will get one nowhere. It must be jettisoned. But, we have a huge problem.
Our human nature, our flesh, still bothers us even though we are saved and seek to follow Christ. Satan always attaches himself to our flesh. God attaches Himself to our spirit. Our spirit is the most important part of us even though we make every provision for the flesh in this life.
Pride goes along with accomplishment and we have taught a whole generation that what they want is more important than anything. We have told them that “you are somebody.” Pride goes along with the modern day focus on “being all you can be.” Now, while I believe that we should do the very best we can in all endeavors, the focus should not be on ourselves and a building of our pride.
Satan was banished from Heaven for his pride. It will bring punishment and we are educating generations on focusing on themselves.
The New Testament reveals that we will be made into the image of Christ (1 John 3:2). He is the perfect example of one who is humble. He set himself aside in order to come to Earth and redeem us. As long as one is prideful, they can never take on the nature of Christ.
Romans 8:29 says it is already determined by God that Christians will be conformed to the image of His Son. A person can fight God on the issue of pride and disobedience but, if one is truly a Christian, there is coming a day when they will be like Jesus.
When King Nebuchadnezzar came to his senses and realized his life is in the hands of Almighty God, he finally put himself in the right relationship to God: He praised Him.
God has every right to put pressure on us. That pressure is for the purpose of leading us to Him. The King found this out and to his credit, finally recognized the God of Daniel as the true God of this universe who is totally in control.
Once a person is confronted with who he is and who God is, it does not take long for them to get their priorities right. But always remember this, we will never see ourselves as we are until we see God as He is. When that happens we will do as King Nebuchadnezzar did, humble ourselves and praise God for His wondrous works. The only way to relate to God properly is to live humbly.